Improve your chances of getting pregnant
Both men and women can make lifestyle changes that may increase their chances of conceiving:
A balanced diet will help ensure your body is healthy enough to become pregnant and nourish a developing baby.
A healthy diet can also help to keep sperm production at optimum levels. Being under- or overweight can make you less likely to become pregnant, so making changes to your diet can help to improve your chances.
The government also recommends that all women trying for a baby should take 400mcg of folic acid a day to help prevent conditions such as spina bifida in your child.
Regular, moderate exercise of around 30 minutes a day helps to maximise your fitness and keep your weight in check.
It also boosts levels of endorphins, the body’s own ‘happy hormones’, which may help to reduce stress. Some people find relaxation techniques or complementary therapies also help them relax.
Alcohol may affect fertility and sperm quality (as well as affecting your weight), so do limit your drinking to the Government’s ‘Sensible drinking’ guideline of a maximum of:
- two - three units a day for women
- three - four units a day for men
It is also a good idea to leave at least two alcohol-free days after heavy drinking.
Women who are pregnant are advised to drink less than the maximum recommended or no alcohol at all.
Medication and drugs
Some prescription medication can lessen your changes of conceiving, so if you are taking regular medication and trying for a baby, talk to your GP about alternatives that might be more appropriate.
Illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine should be completely avoided.
Smoking has been linked to infertility and early menopause in women, and to sperm problems in men. It is also a factor in premature or low birth-weight babies.
Quitting smoking may help to improve your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.
The testes should be a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of your body for maximum sperm production.
It’s not clear whether wearing loose-fitting underwear and trousers, and avoiding activities such as saunas and hot showers will help, but some studies seem to suggest that it might be beneficial.
Page last updated: 09 May 2012