Baby talk: fertility do’s and don’ts

Exercise, prenatal vitamins can help; don’t smoke, drink, or consume caffeine

ORLANDO, Fla. – According to the World Health Organization, infertility is a global health issue that affects one in six people during their lifetime.

If you’re trying to conceive, certain lifestyle choices can help or hinder your progress.

In the United States, 20% of women are unable to get pregnant after trying for one year. If you’re trying to get pregnant, there are some dos and don’ts you should know.

First, you should exercise! Moderate physical activity has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women, but don’t go too hard. Intense exercise has been linked to a decrease in fertility.

One way to gauge it is with moderate activity, you’ll breathe harder but still be able to talk. Another fertility booster is prenatal vitamins and supplements.

One study found involuntary infertility may be avoided 20% of the time if women take a multivitamin at least three times a week. The CDC recommends women take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day for at least one month before getting pregnant.

Be sure to never smoke, drink, or consume caffeine. Experts recommend consuming less than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is about a cup of coffee.

Another big don’t is, don’t use most lubricants. The ingredients in many of these products can affect sperm quality. However, some brands are more natural and friendlier for conception, so ask your doctor if you aren’t sure.

It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight if you want to boost your fertility. A recent study found that for couples who were very obese, it took 55 percent to 59 percent longer to get pregnant compared to couples who were not obese.

Getting enough sleep is also vital. Receiving much less than eight hours a night can affect your hormones, which makes conception less likely.

Lastly, pay attention to your diet. Generally, consume more whole, unprocessed foods and include lots of fresh veggies, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains to improve fertility.