The number one tip for both men and women is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. We all know what we should be doing but here is what to work on:
- Eat a balanced diet. You should avoid buying fast foods such as Burgers, fried chicken, roti and doubles. Instead eat more of the healthy grilled or steamed chicken and fish. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and salads and make sure that you eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Healthy food doesn’t need to be boring – take a look at BBQ, grilled meats, couscous, tasty and unusual salads.
- Keep your consumption of alcohol low. Also reduce sodas, canned soft drinks and bought juices which are all packed with unhealthy sugar and caffeine. Instead drink more water, natural fruit juice (with low sugar content) and coconut water.
- Take regular exercise. This not only reduces stress, anxiety, improves mood and sleep, but also kick starts your body’s metabolism and increases production of healthy hormones.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, and over forty of them are proven to make cancers grow. Chemicals in cigarette smoke are also known to damage eggs, increase sperm abnormalities and increase the risk of miscarriage. Smokers and partners of smokers are also more likely to lose a baby due to sudden infant death syndrome.
- Women should check their rubella immunity. If contracted in pregnancy, the rubella virus can cause severe damage to an unborn child. In the past most girls were vaccinated against rubella at age 13. Now the MMR vaccine in early childhood covers this. A simple blood test can tell whether you are still protected or whether you need a booster of the Rubella vaccine to ensure this is not going to be a problem in your pregnancy.
- Optimize your weight. Women who have a normal body mass index (BMI) – meaning that they are the correct weight for their height – are more likely to conceive and have a normal pregnancy than those who do not. Check your ideal weight with our BMI calculator. The normal range for BMI is between 20 and 25. Men with a high BMI may have more problems with sperm production. Women with a BMI over 30 have increased miscarriage risks and lower pregnancy rates, despite fertility treatments.
If both you and your partner are fit and healthy then it is likely that you will conceive within 12 months. If it has been over 12 months then you should see a fertility doctor for some advice and guidance.