1) Make a preconception visit to your MD
If you are planning to become pregnant, it is essential that you schedule an appointment with your doctor for a preconception exam. Your doctor will try to identify things that may pose risks to you or your baby. You will be asked questions about your diet and lifestyle, medical history, use of birth control, past pregnancies, medications, and any genetic diseases in your family.
2) Take the right vitamins and supplements
Take a high-quality prenatal vitamin (PNV) with folic acid and iron. Get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from your PNV and include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, fish oils and citrus fruits in your diet. It is important to supplement your diet with folic acid for three months before getting pregnant to enhance fertility and reduce birth defects like spina bifida.
3) Have consistent health
Have any medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, obesity and high blood pressure treated and kept under control before becoming pregnant. Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including any over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements.
4) Achieve a healthy body weight
Try to get within 15 pounds of your ideal weight through diet and exercise. Excess weight can increase the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes and puts a strain on the heart. This strain becomes even greater during pregnancy, when your heart has to work harder to supply blood to you and your baby.
5) Exercise regularly
If you follow a fitness routine before you conceive, you can improve your chances of having a comfortable and active pregnancy. The sports and exercise you can do during pregnancy depend on your health and how active you were before you became pregnant.
6)Update your immunizations
Make sure you have been properly vaccinated for any diseases that could harm a developing fetus such as rubella (German measles) or chicken pox.
7) Make this choice at the right time
Determine if the time is right to take on the responsibility of parenthood. Evaluate your lifestyle, finances, stress level and relationship with your partner.
Get plenty of rest, think positive and make sure you take time to relax. Stress is one of the most common reasons that women don’t ovulate (release an egg) – the cause of 20% of all infertility.
Eliminate as many medications from your routine as possible. Talk with your physician about your prescription medications. You may need to discontinue use or try something new. The following medications have been known to impact male fertility:
- Tagamet (cimetidine), sulfasalazine, or nitrofurantoin are used to treat ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, and urinary tract infections. These medications may impact sperm production and sperm count. Steroids, such as prednisone and cortisone, which are used to treat asthma, arthritis and skin conditions, impact male fertility.
- Chemotherapy and radiation could cause sterility or a significant change in sperm quality and quantity.
- Your work environment may be a contributing factor to your fertility. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, ongoing exposure to certain things like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, lead, nickel, mercury, chromium, ethylene glycol ethers, petrochemicals, benzene, perchloroethylene, and radiation can lower sperm quality, quantity and possibly lead to infertility or miscarriage.
- Studies suggest that some men with low sperm count also have a zinc deficiency. The following foods are high in zinc and could increase your fertility: meat, wholegrain cereals, seafood, and eggs. Selenium, which is found in Brazil nuts, meat, seafood, mushrooms and cereals, has also been found to aid in fertility.
- Adding more vitamin E may also help the process along. Getting plenty of Z’sss is good for everything that ails you, even low sperm counts and sperm quality.
- Eliminate alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and any illicit drugs. Too much alcohol may reduce zinc levels, and drugs decrease sperm quality. There is some research being done that may link smoking and certain rare heart defects, but further studies must be done to make an accurate conclusion. Marijuana has been proven to affect sperm quality and sperm count, but there is no evidence that shows that marijuana causes birth defects.
- Heat from hot tubs, saunas, hot long showers ( more than 30 minutes), heating pads, electric blankets, and tight clothing like briefs and spandex could cause your testicles to become too hot which decreases sperm quantity.
- Cycling can cause a lot of friction and jostling, which increases the temperature of your testicles. The rise in temperature and possibility of injury may exacerbate low sperm count.
What are your tips for conception?
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