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7 Things to Avoid When Trying to Conceive

Every couple who wants to have a child should be aware of certain things that may hinder their attempts at conception.

Here are the 7 things that you should avoid when you are trying to conceive:


1) Smoking and alcohol

Women who smoke have a greater risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery because nicotine and carbon monoxide causes constriction of the blood vessels in the umbilical cord, the baby receives a reduced oxygen supply. As a result, the baby may suffer from low birth weight, congenital heart defects, and are more prone to develop asthma and are at a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Drinking alcohol even in moderation increases the risk of miscarriage in women as well. Smoking also has detrimental effects in men as the nicotine and carbon monoxide causes a reduction in the number and quality of the sperm.


2) Caffeine

The recommended consumption of caffeine is only up to two 8-ounce cups of weakly brewed coffee. If you drink more than this amount, it may have a negative effect on the quality of eggs being produced in the ovaries.


3) Certain Fish

The FDA has warned pregnant women against consuming four specific fish species, namely swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark. Other experts also warn against canned white or albacore tuna. This is because these fish species have a higher content of mercury, which may cause serious impairment in the neurological development of the baby.

However, because fish contain omega 3-fatty acids which are vital to the baby’s brain development, you can consume salmon, sardines, herring, shad, trout and anchovies, instead of the fish mentioned above.


4) Lubricants

Although lubricants can help to make sex feel more comfortable, there are certain brands of vaginal lubricants that will not only cause severe damage to the sperm and inhibit their ability to swim to the uterus in order to fertilize the egg; some may even kill the sperm outright.

Rather than use commercial lubricants, you and your spouse can induce more secretions of cervical mucus through prolonged foreplay of between 15 and 20 minutes. Another good option is to use warm water.


5) Medications and Chemicals

Certain over-the-counter medications, particularly Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, can cause impairment of ovulation when taken in excess, thus, NSAIDs should only be used to relieve pain while menstruating. Other drugs can cause serious harm to the developing fetus, such as coumadin or other blood thinners, ACE inhibitors (hypertension treatment), valproic acid (medicines used for epilepsy or bi – polar syndrome), steroids, and propranolol (medicine used to alleviate/ treat high blood pressure). It is strongly advised that you should consult with your doctor first before taking any drugs. Your doctor will not only prescribe a safer medication; they will also monitor the drug’s effect on your baby.

You should also avoid certain household chemicals and cosmetics. A good example are phthalates, chemical substances used in plastics, cosmetics and laundry detergents may cause disruptions in the endocrine system, leading to hormonal imbalance, especially in men. Their negative effects on women have yet to be conclusively verified. Other chemicals to avoid include petroleum-based surfactants (detergents) and solvents.


6) Hot Tubs and Saunas

While soaking in hot tubs and saunas are a favourite relaxing activity for some, these should be strictly avoided while trying to conceive. In women, there is an increased risk of neural tube defects and other congenital disorders. The risk is also doubled for miscarriage.

Men should also avoid prolonged heat exposure since it will reduce sperm count and affect the quality of sperm.


7) Stress

Stress has a negative impact on fertility in both men and women. In women, stress causes irregularities in the menstrual cycle as well as delays in the onset of ovulation per each cycle. In some cases, ovulation may not occur at all. Stress may also cause miscarriage.

In men, it was found that stress can lead to a decrease in libido and the quality of the sperm. In addition, stress contributes to further engagement in unhealthy habits that also aggravate infertility, like alcohol drinking and smoking.

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