They say there are two types of people in the world: list makers and those who are happier to wing it. Whether you’ve got a life plan, or prefer to leave it up to fate, if having children is something you’d like in your future, there are a few things you can do now to give yourself the best chance of conceiving.
Genea Fertility Specialist, Dr Devora Lieberman, has helped thousands of couples achieve their dream of a healthy baby. Here she shares her five top tips for maximising your natural fertility.
1. See Your Doctor Now. Knowledge is power and a few relatively straightforward tests with your doctor (GP or Gynaecologist) can identify some of the more obvious health issues which might affect your fertility in the future. If you get the all clear then all good, but if something is discovered, then early treatment could mean the difference between natural and assisted conception.
2. Safe Sex. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can damage your fertility. According to recent research, the prevalence of STIs is on the rise in the community. In the past five years, cases of gonorrhoea have increased 80 percent and chlamydia infections have also spiked. These infections are largely asymptomatic – meaning you could have one and not know it – but they can be very damaging to your chances of having kids. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can infect the cervix and may spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pelvic pain, pregnancy in the fallopian tubes and potentially infertility. So get tested and be safe.
3. Stop Smoking Now. If you’re not convinced to quit for your own health then do it for the health of your future kids. Smoking is toxic to human eggs and makes them deteriorate quicker than they would normally. Smoking has long-lasting negative effects even after a woman stops, with studies showing a link between smoking, infertility, miscarriage, premature birth and smaller babies. Exposure to second-hand smoke is also damaging, so get your partner and friends to stop as well.
4. Stay in Shape. Being overweight or underweight can impact your fertility. It can stop or interrupt your cycle and long-term weight extremes can cause long-lasting damage to many facets of your health. So come up with a sustainable and sensible nutrition and exercise plan that works for you and get in shape.
5. Shots. No, not shooters. In this instance, we’re talking about your immunisations. Make sure they are up to date including measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis B and HPV. These diseases can damage your fertility and can lead to birth defects if you contract them while you’re pregnant.
Dr Lieberman’s key tip: “Don’t leave it too late!”
“What we’d really like women to understand is that, as sad and frustrating as it is, our fertility is finite. We are born with all of the eggs we will ever have and those eggs age with us, they decline and both quantity and quality as we get older. By your mid to late 30s your fertility is dropping and your chance of getting pregnant naturally is falling,” Dr Lieberman said.
If you would like to investigate your fertility beyond what a regular GP might offer, get in touch with Genea, their Fertility GP or one of their expert Fertility Specialists who can provide you with advice so you know where you stand.