By now, you’re probably familiar with the conspiracy – when you and your partner are actively trying to conceive, you can’t ever leave your home without seeing happy pregnant bellies down your street.
The newspaper seems to be flooded with celebrity teen mom stories and every time you happen to turn on the television, there’s another adorable little child's advertisement in a Pampers commercial gazing at you with his big, soulful eyes. Even your local supermarket seems to be in on the plot.
When you’re a few weeks or months into the endeavor of expanding your family, you finally come to a realization – fertility is tricky. Despite what your mother warned the teenage-you, one romp in between the sheets doesn’t seem enough to produce a baby. By now, Google has probably informed you of the well-publicized factors that may be reducing your odds of conceiving such as birth control pills, smoking, and breastfeeding.
However, the absence of these factors isn’t always a guarantee to getting knocked up. Sometimes, there are hidden reasons, which we happen to overlook. Today we’re going to take a look at the top six to watch out for
1. Consuming Way Too Many Trans Fats
There are good fats and there are bad fats, but ‘trans fats’ happen to be the worst.
Certain dairy and meat products contain tiny amounts of organically occurring trans fats. However, the majority of trans fats are formed through an artificial, industrial process where hydrogen is added to vegetable oil causing the oil to become solid at room temperature.
Not only can trans fats increase your LDL (read: bad cholesterol) and decrease your HDL (read: good cholesterol) levels, studies reveal it can also have an adverse effect on fertility . Basically, it hinders ovulation, which is simple math, really – no egg means no baby. Hence, try limiting your consumption of trans fat-rich foods such as pizzas, chips, fried foods and baked goodies.
2. Exercising Too Strenuously
Yes, exercising can help improve your odds of getting pregnant to a certain extent. However, over-exercising? Not that much. In fact, studies reveal that exercising too strenuously could actually have the opposite effect on your reproductive cycle, thereby hindering your chances of conceiving.
Studies show that in the case of female athletes, or simply women who enjoyed challenging workouts, the body may not have sufficient energy to support both strenuous activities and getting pregnant. The study examined close to 3,000 female volunteers and discovered that participants who trained every day or trained until they were completely exhausted possessed the highest risk of infertility.
3. Having A Lower BMI
We’re all aware that a higher than normal BMI doesn’t exactly help fertility, but did you know that it goes the same for lower than normal BMIs as well? A BMI that falls in the lower end of the body mass index spectrum can raise a woman’s risk for infertility, preterm births and also ovarian dysfunction. Studies have also shown that eating disorders that are often associated with lower BMIs can, at times, adversely impact a woman’s menstrual cycle.
4. Partner Being Stressed
If your man is suffering from stress, it may very well affect your chances of conceiving. Stress can reduce the overall quality of his semen – it could result in him having fewer sperm cells or even negatively impact the function of his swimmers, in terms of how far or fast his sperm can swim. Additionally, stress can also put a damper on a couple’s intimate life. If your partner has been feeling the pressure more intensely than what is considered normal, he will be less likely to possess the energy for baby-making activities.
5. Using The Wrong Lubricant
If you’d like to improve the odds of you conceiving, then be very careful in your choice of lubricants. Commercial lubricants notoriously hamper sperm motility thereby making it tougher for a man’s swimmers to reach and fertilize the egg .
If you must use a lube, opt for those that possess a suitable pH level of 7.2 to 8.0, which doesn’t affect male fertility. Additionally, there are others that contain calcium and magnesium, which mimics our body’s very own natural fluids. Baby oil is a good option; alternatively, natural lubes such as vegetable oil and olive oil have also been found to be safe and effective.
6. Miscalculating Your Fertile Window
If your periods are irregular, then it can be rather tough making accurate predictions. However, don’t lose hope yet for technology can lend a helping hand! Apps like Clue, Eve, Flo, and Period Tracker (free for Android and iOS) can help you keep track of your menstrual cycle and give you a more accurate shot at calculating your fertile window.
There you have it – six often overlooked factors that may be lowering your odds of getting pregnant. Fertility may be complicated but you can always help improve your chances. Ensure that you review your lifestyle and assess what habits need to be changed. Best of luck.
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