Trying to conceive? Can your lifestyle affect that?

Reproductive health awareness is crucial for women and men alike. Lifestyle has a direct effect on reproductive health and attempts to conceive. This article displays the lifestyle elements affecting you when you are trying to conceive and on your fertility in general.

Bohaira El Geyoushi
Published on:Apr 11th 2022 |Updated on:May 10th 2024
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Lifestyle factors impacting your attempts to conceive 

1- Smoking

When I ask my patients about smoking, I don’t mean only smoking cigarettes. Smoking includes hookah as well as all types of vapes and electronic cigarettes. All these smoking devices contain nicotine which has a negative impact on our overall health and especially on reproductive health. Smoking resembles sitting in a closed room with many people, without any open windows or AC, until everybody suffocates. This is exactly what happens to human organs because of smoking; they suffocate. Smoking suffocates the ovaries and sperm, forbidding them to breathe and function. It is crucial for any couple trying to conceive to cease smoking, or at least to reduce smoking during the pre-pregnancy stage. It is worth mentioning that passive smoking is as harmful to reproductive health, being around other smokers even without smoking, harms our health as well.

2- Obesity

Obesity is one of the major health hazards, it affects fertility negatively. It has a negative impact on attempts to get pregnant and on pregnancy as well as postpartum. A mother's excessive weight directly impacts the baby's health as well. There is a noteworthy correlation between polycystic ovaries syndrome, which can delay pregnancy sometimes, and insulin resistance which is affected by weight gain. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is imperative for having good reproductive health and increase fertility. A healthy weight can be reached and maintained through a balanced and healthy diet, rich in proteins and healthy fats, and by drinking enough water and exercising regularly. In some cases, medical intervention by a doctor is needed either to prescribe weight loss medication or to perform a weight loss surgery.

3- Harmful substances

Excessive alcohol consumption and recreational drugs affect our bodies negatively, they also harm female and male fertility. Excessive consumption of caffeine can damage reproductive health as well. In addition to these substances, there is a hidden danger in the supplements containing testosterone that men who are building muscles use. These supplements stop the production of sperm completely, and the dependency on these supplements might cause sperm production for good.

4- Stress

Stress management is the first step in fertility treatment. Eliminating stress completely from our lives might be a little difficult but attempting to reduce it and its effect on our lives is a high priority. I always advise my patients to find a way to help them reduce stress and stick to it. Whether it is walking, hiking, going to the beach, swimming, acupuncture, or massage. Stress hormones pass through our bodies affecting all its organs negatively. Therefore, stress management is essential for couples trying to conceive.

5- Laptop use

As it is clear from its name this device is to be put on our laps, users often operate laptops for ours, letting the heat directly affect their genitals which leads to many fertility problems. Testicles are positioned outside the body because they must stay at a temperature lower than the rest of the body, to ensure that sperm production is not affected by the heat. Excessive use of the laptop harms female and male fertility if the device is positioned directly over the lap for a long time.

6- Tight clothing

Wearing tight clothes prevents ventilation of the body and increased the temperature of the testicles affecting the production of sperms. It is recommended to wear loose underwear and trousers that do not compress the testicles and overheat them.

7- Health Awareness

Reproductive health and fertility awareness are very important for both men and women. I advise all couples trying to conceive to get tests done. Men can have their sperms tested, and women can have a test that shows the ovarian reserve she has, in addition to an ultrasound to check on the uterus and ovaries' health. A woman needs to realize that her chances to conceive decline with age, and the ovarian reserve decreases in the late twenties and thirties. But a woman who is delaying pregnancy for any reason, whether it is health, finances, career, studying, or not finding the right partner can have her eggs harvested and frozen while she is young, to use them to conceive when the time comes. Eggs harvesting and freezing can be done after consulting a fertility specialist based on a thorough medical evaluation. This option is becoming widely available, and it increases women's chances of conceiving in the future.

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Bohaira El GeyoushiConsultant in Obstetrics, Gynecology and fertility

Dr. Bohaira El Geyoushi is a Consultant in Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine, and IVF. She was a consultant and Head of the Fertility Department at East Kent University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the second largest in the UK. Dr. Bohaira is a Fellow of the (RCOG) Royal College of ObStetricians & Gynaecologists and a Fellow of the (FSRH) Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare in London/UK. She was awarded a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Southampton in “Studies in Women’s Reproductive Healthcare”. Dr. Bohaira worked in many reputable medical centres in Dubai, UK & USA. She was awarded Adjunct Assistant Professor Position at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University Chicago, USA.  She is quite passionate about her work and believes in a holistic approach to women’s healthcare and fertility management. Dr. Bohaira strongly believes in the power of education and in empowering women with knowledge about their fertility so they can make informed decisions and choices about their reproductive health.

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