Comprehensive studies to address the links between lifestyle and fertility are few and far between. Still, we do know that physical and mental health can influence the health of your reproductive system.
Pacific Fertility Center provides some insights on lifestyle changes that can help those thinking about having a family.
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Dietary supplementation could boost fertility, but this is not very easy to prove since there is such a wide array of influences on our diets.
Mediterranean diet: Emphasizing foods such as fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil, this diet has shown some positive influences on fertility.
Antioxidants: Antioxidant supplements—especially a combination of vitamins C and E and CoQ10—can improve the number, motility, morphology, and sometimes the DNA integrity of sperm in infertile men.
Caffeine: Heavy caffeine consumers (5–6 coffee servings per day) have been found to have higher rates of miscarriage. However, drinking a cup of coffee a day probably has no adverse impact on pregnancy.
Alcohol: Women who drink more than 2 or 3 drinks per week may have lower pregnancy rates. It's also important for men to avoid excessive alcohol intake, which can inhibit erectile function.
Several studies have found that extra weight can hurt your chances of becoming pregnant. Being underweight is also linked to ovarian dysfunction and infertility.
Exercise: Pregnancy outcomes are improved in women who have an exercise routine. Three to four hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise for women attempting pregnancy may be just about right—and it can be a great stress reliever.
While attempting pregnancy, steer clear of extreme events like marathons and avoid lifting weights over 40 pounds. Moderate physical activity is also a good idea for men attempting conception with their partners. Exercising at least an hour, three times a week, translates into better sperm parameters.
The connection between environmental factors and fertility is complex, but we do know a few things.
Cigarettes: Female smokers experience reductions in fertility—possibly due to accelerated loss of eggs or a more hostile uterine environment. For men, cigarettes can reduce sperm production and damage DNA.
Chemicals and radiation: According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), miscarriage, stillbirth, and impaired fetal growth are among the list of poor health outcomes linked to chemicals such as pesticides, air pollutants, plastics, and solvents.
// For more information, visit Pacific Fertility Center, pacificfertilitydoctors.com.