Deciding to start a family can be an exciting moment in your life, but when conception doesn’t happen as soon as you were hoping, it can be frustrating. Infertility affects many women, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 7.3 million American women aged 15-44 have used fertility treatments. Fertility treatments include medications to stimulate ovulation, procedures to remove fibroids (if they affect your fertility), and procedures like intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization.
In addition to fertility treatments, lifestyle changes can also enhance your chances of conceiving. If you are concerned about your fertility, it’s important to begin the conversation with Dr. John Paciuc at his office in New York City as soon as you decide you’re ready for pregnancy.
Our team is here to explain eight lifestyle changes you can make and how we can help you when you’re ready to expand your family.
What is infertility?
Infertility is characterized by the inability to conceive despite frequent, unprotected intercourse for one year for women under 35 years of age. If you’re 35 years or older, infertility is defined as inability to conceive after six months of unprotected intercourse.
Infertility can be caused by many conditions including:
- Hormonal issues in either men or women
- Structural abnormalities such as a uterine fibroid
- Low sperm count and/or poor sperm quality
- Infrequent or lack of ovulation
Working with a skilled infertility specialist like Dr. Paciuc can help you decide which lifestyle factors can benefit you the most.
Enhance your fertility naturally
Once you determine the cause of your infertility, you can begin to explore these natural lifestyle changes.
- Use the right lubricant. This is a simple lifestyle change — but an important one! Some lubricants contain spermicide, which kills sperm, so make sure you’re using a lube conducive to conception.
- Track your cycle. Sometimes simply tracking your cycle can help you time your intercouse better and improve your chances of conceiving. You can look for signs of fertility (e.g., fertile cervical mucus) or you can use strips that confirm ovulation. These strips are easy to use and function much like a pregnancy test.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can play a big role in infertility. Too much body fat can negatively impact hormone levels. Studies show that women who are overweight may struggle with irregular ovulation.
- Quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes is associated with lung problems, but it also affects egg quality. If you’re planning on starting a family, consider quitting as soon as possible.
- Quit drinking alcohol or at least drink in moderation. A study published in the Journal of Human Reproduction Sciences shows that drinking more than four servings of alcohol per day negatively affects both male and female fertility.
- Limit caffeine. Caffiene may not affect your ability to conceive, but research finds that too much caffiene — more than 200 mg per day — can increase your risk of early miscarriage. If you’re a coffee lover, consider changing your habits while you’re still trying to conceive.
- Practice stress management techniques. Too much stress isn’t good for anyone, but it can also affect your fertility, according to research from the National Institutes of Health.Try deep breathing, meditations, or a yoga class.
- Prioritize quality sleep. Binge watching your favorite show may be fun, but if you stay up too late too often, lack of sleep can affect your physical and mental health. Poor sleep can even affect your fertility, according to a study. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
When lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough
While these lifestyle changes are all good habits to adopt, sometimes they just aren’t enough to help you achieve pregnancy. That’s why Dr. Paciuc and our team are proud to offer infertility workups and fertility treatment planning. If you’d like to learn more about your options, call 212-737-3356 to request an appointment at our clinic, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.