What NOT to Do When Trying to Conceive

You’re trying so hard to get pregnant. You’re having sex regularly, and you’ve tried to predict your fertile window. But you just aren’t managing to conceive. So what’s going on? You may actually be overlooking some of the things you should stop doing. Just as there are things you should make an effort to do when trying to get pregnant, there are also things you should avoid. Here’s what NOT to do when trying to conceive. 

Overdo the Caffeine

Many of us run on caffeine. Workdays are long, and we start the day with a cup of coffee–and then continue to caffeinate throughout the day. And while a single latte or cup of tea isn’t likely to affect your chances of conceiving, consuming too much caffeine may affect your hormone levels, making it more difficult to become pregnant.

How much caffeine is too much? Experts say you should keep your caffeine consumption under 200 mg per day, which works out to one or two 8-ounce cups of coffee. Tea only contains about 26 milligrams of caffeine per 8 oz cup, so you can enjoy an extra cup or two. However, if you’re in the habit of ordering a large iced tea every day, you’ll still quickly exceed the recommended daily limit. Many people instead opt to play it safe and avoid caffeine altogether. If you’re doing fertility treatment at an infertility center or IVF clinic, discuss with your fertility specialist what level of caffeine consumption is safe for you.

Work the Night Shift

Your sleep schedule has a bigger impact on your health than you may realize, including your fertility. Indeed, working the night shift may also affect the balance of your hormones, which, in turn, affects your ability to conceive. Check whether there are any opportunities at your job to move to a day shift or switch with a coworker. 

While you may benefit from working an earlier shift that allows you to sleep at night, we understand that not everyone has the ability to change shifts. If you can’t switch, do your best to carve out enough time to sleep during the day. And make good use of things like light-blocking curtains that help your body sleep in a darker environment.

Expose Yourself to Toxins

Many toxins in the environment, workplace, and household products are harmful to your fertility, affecting hormones, sperm quality, and even fetal development. These include industrial and dry cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and even parabens found in shampoo. 

Although it can be difficult to know and avoid every potentially harmful substance, what you can do is limit your exposure to toxins as much as possible. Consider changing jobs if you work with chemicals on a regular basis, or ask about changing positions. At RISE Fertility, we recommend choosing household products that don’t contain toxins known to be harmful to fertility, and avoid pesticides as much as possible. 

Smoke or Use Other Drugs

Smoking is harmful to your health, and it negatively impacts your fertility. Other drugs, like marijuana, are similarly harmful, and both can harm your developing baby if you do become pregnant.  

Tobacco and other drugs may decrease your egg supply, lower sperm count, and decrease sperm motility. They also increase your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. And they decrease your odds of having success through in vitro fertilization, too. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you and your partner quit smoking and other drugs. 

Drink Alcohol

Alcohol has long been considered part of a romantic evening. But when your goal is to conceive, alcohol shouldn’t be part of the equation.  Alcohol affects your hormones, can create problems with ovulation, causes erectile dysfunction, and contributes to a multitude of health problems that impact your fertility. Plus, it also makes fertility treatments less effective.

Additionally, alcohol is extremely harmful to babies. In fact, alcohol can cause your baby to develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) before you even know you’re pregnant. Because FASD disorders can have lifelong physical, intellectual, and behavioral impacts on your child, RISE Fertility recommends avoiding alcohol entirely when you’re trying to conceive. 

Exercise Too Much or Too Little

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to improve your fertility, and getting regular exercise is important when you’re trying to conceive. However, finding the right amount of exercise for you is critical.

If you’re overweight and sedentary, getting more exercise may help you conceive. But be careful to build up slowly, and discuss any new exercise routine with your doctor. Conversely, if you’re an athlete and tend to engage in regular intense exercise, you may need to cut back on the amount you exercise. Exercising too intensely lowers your chances of conceiving and may even stop you from ovulating altogether. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends getting about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week when trying to conceive. 

Wait Too Long to See a Fertility Specialist

It’s important to make healthy lifestyle changes when trying to conceive. And regardless of whether you conceive naturally or need fertility treatments, making healthier choices will only benefit you and your baby. But lifestyle changes aren’t always enough to help you get pregnant–and waiting too long to see a fertility specialist at an infertility center may be the most important entry on the list of what not to do when trying to conceive.

As you age, your fertility naturally decreases, and that’s especially true for women. Plus, you or your partner may have issues like blocked fallopian tubes, a diminished ovarian reserve, or varicoceles (swollen veins in your testicles) that are preventing you from conceiving. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to conceive for 12 months, or 6 months if you’re over 35, it’s time to seek help from a fertility specialist at an infertility center or IVF clinic. At RISE Fertility, we offer flexible in-house financing to help with IVF treatment costs. Schedule an appointment with RISE Fertility to get started with a fertility assessment. 

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