7 Habits You Should Avoid to Boost Fertility

Functional infertility is the difficulty to conceive a child naturally, as well as to achieve a pregnancy naturally after one year of active sexual life. There are therapies and methods to help functional fertility , however, they are not always enough. And therefore, there is also integrative fertility. Integrative fertility is a part of integrative medicine, where all the human factors involved in reproduction are taken into account. Specifically, it consists of studying and improving the general state of health of future parents in order to optimize it. This will make breeding methods more effective. Changing the lifestyle and habits to which we have been accustomed for a long time is not always easy, especially under conditions of stress or anxiety. However, it is essential to avoid certain aspects to help increase the chances of pregnancy. Some fertility-related factors may be out of our control, but there are many lifestyle choices that we can change that have a major effect on conceiving. We've all heard a lot of advice about what a woman can do or apply when she wants to get pregnant, but sometimes what not to do is just as important. Next, I present seven habits that you should avoid if you are looking for a pregnant woman.

1. Smoking tobacco

Smoking can affect the ability of a fertilized egg to implant, the quality of the eggs themselves and, furthermore, once pregnancy has been achieved, it can negatively affect the growth of the embryo. Toxins from smoking can hinder a woman's reproductive capacity , damaging natural cell growth and development. Likewise, they are known to have negative effects on regular menstruation, posing yet another obstacle for women to become pregnant.

2. Drink alcohol

We know that alcohol, from the slightest intake, negatively affects the health of any person. In addition, the safe amount of alcohol before and during pregnancy is still unknown, since no ethical committee would approve a study that could harm, to a greater or lesser extent, a pregnant woman and her fetus. Fertility specialists advise that those trying to conceive refrain from consuming alcohol entirely .

3. Take some medications and all recreational drugs

It is always recommended to speak with your doctor before using any medication, regardless of whether you intend to conceive or not. However, there are a number of medications that are particularly sensitive to conception problems . Therefore, during the process, it will be essential to consult with a professional which medications can affect fertility treatments and, ultimately, to achieve a pregnancy. Some medications that are recommended to be avoided are those formulated to treat acne, coagulation, hypertension, and epilepsy. Also, it is recommended to avoid anti-inflammatory steroids, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. It is also known that recreational drugs , such as marijuana, affect sperm motility , that is, their ability to move. Therefore, they make the first step to conceive difficult.

Contraindications of medications for pregnancy

The FDA classifies drugs according to the risks they pose during pregnancy. These drugs will pose a greater or less danger depending on the degree of maturity of the fetus, with the greatest risk being during the period of organogenesis (weeks 3 and 8 of gestation). Being omeprazole, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antihypertensives some of the most dangerous drugs that exist, there are other drugs that can be consumed with low risk to alleviate the discomfort to which their use is attributed. They are divided into five subgroups:

Group A

These drugs can be considered safe during pregnancy, since there are studies that show that there is no risk to the fetus during the first trimester. Among them are: ascorbic acid, iron, folic acid, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium and levothyroxine in doses supervised by the doctor.

B Group

This group is made up of drugs that have been used frequently during pregnancy and do not appear to cause birth defects or other serious fetal defects. In addition, animal studies show that there is no risk to the fetus during the first trimester. This includes acetaminophen aspartate, corticosteroids, insulin, amoxicillin, clavulanic acid, azithromycin and ibuprofen (the latter is best avoided after the 32nd week of gestation).

Group C

Normally, these drugs have a label that warns of the risks. Animal studies confirm that there are harmful effects on the fetus and should only be used when the benefit can justify that risk. Similarly, this also includes those drugs whose safety studies have not been completed. Prochlorperazine, amikacin, atenolol, beclomethasone, betamethasone, caffeine (not more than 300 mg) , carbamazepine, codeine, clonazepam, fluconazole, ketorolac, dexamethasone, anti-RH immunoglobulin (D) and ciproflozacin belong to this group.

Group D

Those belonging to this group are only administered in situations of serious risk to the mother and if no other safer drug is available, since animal studies show that there may be a risk to the fetus. Some of them are cenocoumarol, acetylsalicylic acid, diazepam, valproic acid, lithium, phenytoin, some chemotherapy drugs (bleomycin and methotrexate) and alcohol-based drugs.

Group X

In these there is no benefit to the pregnant woman, so they are totally contraindicated during pregnancy . Studies in women and animals confirm the existence of risk and, among others, we find sotretinoin accutane, misoprostol, thalidomide, raloxifene, simvastatin or nandrolone.

4. Eat some oily fish, fatty red meat and saturated fat

Many doctors and nutritionists recommend that future mothers reduce the amount of oily fish and red meat, as well as completely avoiding raw meats such as sausages to minimize the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis . At the same time, they advise increasing the consumption of whole vegetables, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Similarly, during the search for pregnancy, it is recommended to avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. These can increase the chance of unhealthy weight gain and thus the risk of miscarriage early in pregnancy. In addition, it is beneficial to avoid or reduce full-fat or sugary dairy, fish high in mercury, and fatty and processed meats with the goal of maintaining a healthy weight and fitness.

5. Maintain chronic stress

Prolonged stress over time can have adverse health effects, whether you're trying to conceive or not, but it can also cause hormonal changes that directly affect ovulation and fertility. While it is true that avoiding stress completely is not realistic, adopting guidelines and new ways of managing and dealing with stress is advised. Activities such as yoga, exposure to nature, acupuncture or meditation can help us.

6. Do high-intensity sports

Sport is always good, but misusing it can turn against us. And it is that, high intensity exercise can interfere with hormonal production and inhibit ovulation . This occurs because the body interprets this high and constant physical effort as a stressful situation that it must face in order to survive. The body in "survival" mode is not prepared to conceive, since it would pose a risk to the mother's health to invest so much energy per day to carry out the two processes. A good recommendation would be to put yourself in the hands of a sports professional, who will help you adapt your training plan. It is important to emphasize that a sedentary lifestyle also involves risks to health and, therefore, to conception, so it must be avoided.

7. Exposure to endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors or EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) are chemicals found in our environment that can have harmful effects on our health. These interfere with the functioning of the hormones that regulate the different systems of the organism, such as the endocrine-reproductive system. EDCs are capable of mimicking our hormones by inhibiting, blocking or amplifying their effects. In addition, they alter the normal functioning of our body , affecting fertility. Therefore, it is best to avoid these substances as much as possible.

This is a list of the most studied:
  • Parabens : present in cosmetics.
  • Pesticides : herbicides and insecticides.
  • Benzophenone-3 : is a chemical (organic) sunscreen present in sun creams and other cosmetics.
  • Perfluorinated : they are used in the manufacture of clothing, paper, pesticides and cosmetics, among others.
  • Phthalates : they are used to make the PVC that we normally find in furniture and household objects.
  • Bisphenol A : it is used in the preparation of containers such as tupperware, water bottles and soft drinks.
  • Triclosan – commonly used as an antiseptic and also in cosmetics.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers – used to make appliances, clothing, and electronics.


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