After general medicine, my passion and specialty is supporting women’s health through the pregnancy cycle, from pre- to postnatal care.

 

Therefore it concerns me that the number of women 24 years old or younger who experience problems with conceiving or maintaining a healthy pregnancy has almost doubled. At the same time more women wait longer to start a family, often due to their careers. Fertility peaks in women between the ages of 23 and 31.  Thus it can be harder for some women to conceive in their mid to late thirties.

 

Lifestyle can affect fertility in major ways. Stress, diet, and environmental toxicity are amongst the most important factors.

 

Here are a few simple tips how you can increase your reproductive health:

 

  • Reduce your stress: Studies at Harvard Medical School point out that stress, along with depression, can cause ovulation irregularities. In men stress can be associated with abnormal sperm development.
  • Reduce your exposure to toxins: Recent studies found that environmental toxins can impair female and male fertility significantly. Some of the many toxins, BPA and phthalates, are found in many plastics and also in scented soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and in vinyl shower curtains. PCBs in fish and pesticides are on top of the list as well (one more reason to go organic!).
  • Reduce your coffee intake: A large study by Yale Medical School found that the risk of infertility was 55% higher for women drinking 1 cup of coffee per day, 100% higher for 1.5-3 cups, and a whooping 176% higher for more than 3 cups per day. Similar results were published in a later European study. Drinking coffee during pregnancy increases miscarriage rates and negatively influences fetal growth.

 

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