Factors that Impact Fertility
Nirali Kansara

Nirali Kansara

Jan 21Pregnancy and fertility

Factors that Impact Fertility

This blog has been clinically verified by Dr. Renuka Dangare.

While you may not be looking to get pregnant right now, it's helpful to remember that some factors can have a long-term impact on your health and it pays to take good care of your body well beforehand.

The process of conception ideally requires healthy sperms, timely ovulation, good quality eggs, and a healthy pelvic environment. Any disbalance in any of these areas may sometimes cause a delay in conception. There are numerous factors that can affect an individual’s fertility such as age, weight, lifestyle choices such as recreational drugs, alcohol or tobacco smoking, dietary habits, exercise, stress.

Age

You’ve heard this everywhere but we would like to explain why. A female-bodied person is born with all the eggs they have. Thereafter the number starts decreasing with age and every ovulatory cycle. The decline is sharper after 35 and almost reaches a nadir at 40. If you are someone who has had a sibling or parent reach menopause before the average age, this becomes a big consideration for you.

Normal weight

Women can enhance their chances of conceiving by maintaining a healthy weight. A perfect body is an imaginary concept but a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 25 is a definite bonus for conceiving naturally.

Being of a healthy weight can help prevent hormonal imbalances in their body. Being overweight or underweight can also impact a woman’s menstrual cycle and the quality of her eggs. A regular exercise regime and a balanced diet can help you achieve and maintain healthy body weight.

Balanced diet

A well-balanced diet consists of five food groups: legumes and vegetables, fruits, grains and cereals, lean meat, and dairy products. Try to have organically grown food. Apart from this, a correct balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is also required.

Women who are trying to get pregnant should also supplement their diet to ensure the requirements of folate, vitamin D, and iodine are met. Taking DHA and EPA supplements 3 months before trying to conceive will help in the growth of a baby’s brain during pregnancy.

Quit smoking

Smoking causes problems not only for your lungs but also impacts your reproductive system. Exposure to tobacco products and nicotine can cause premature aging of the ovary. Women who smoke are more likely to face delays in conception and an increased risk of miscarriages, pregnancy-related complications, and low birth weight of the baby.

Abstain from alcohol

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase the chances of miscarriage and birth abnormalities. Since there are no recommended levels for safe alcohol consumption, women who are trying to get pregnant are advised to not consume alcohol at all. Exposure to alcohol in pregnancy has been associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome a condition that causes babies to have impaired intellectual ability and delayed milestones.

Restrict caffeine

High levels of caffeine can also adversely impact fertility. Research suggests that consuming 200mg of caffeine a day should not affect your chances of conceiving. This roughly translated to about 2 cups of coffee a day. For tea lovers, it would mean around 6 cups of tea a day, as one cup of coffee has caffeine worth roughly 3 cups of tea.

Exposure to occupational hazards

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, radiation, chemicals or microwave emissions can impact a woman’s fertility. Women also involved with livestock or pets have a higher chance of contracting zoonotic diseases- such as toxoplasmosis. High mental stress could also adversely impact fertility.

Exposure to sexually transmitted infections

If you’ve never been tested, now is the time! STI’s like Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, if untreated, will cause infertility by blocking fallopian tubes in the female reproductive system. Certain STIs may not cause any symptoms in you but may end up causing an early miscarriage or multiple birth defects in your unborn child. Proactively testing yourself and your partner for STI’s is a great way to avoid these complications.

Managing Stress

While stress directly may not impact your fertility but extreme levels of stress - physical, mental, and emotional - can throw your hormones in a tizzy and impact your fertility. The effect of stress can look like irregular periods, poor sleep, and weight gain all of which can hamper fertility. Physical stress such as extreme diets and very little sleep can also cause hormonal imbalances. Ovulation is known to stop women from eating very-low-calorie diets.

Avoiding the graveyard shift

Reproductive hormones are secreted in a circadian rhythm- meaning their secretion is affected by your sleep and wake cycle. Getting very sleep or not sleep at physiological hours cannot affect fertility. If you do have frequent night shifts, it's recommended that you compensate for lost sleep in the day too

A regular body check-up and health assessment will definitely boost your chances of having a baby.

It's equally important to find a healthcare provider who will be mindful and empathetic to your needs.

This article is meant to create awareness among women. Consult your gynecologist if you are facing any trouble conceiving.

We at Proactive aim at creating a world-class medical experience for Indian women and adopt gold standards in every healthcare initiative whether it’s a teleconsultation or a webinar. What sets us apart from the rest is our liberal, convenient, and holistic approach to healthcare.

Proactive for her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalized, and confidential health-care solutions. We offer products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit https://www.proactiveforher.com/

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.