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Lifestyle Factors That Can Cause Infertility

If you suffer from infertility, you may feel alone. However, an estimated 10-18% of couples are affected by infertility, and more than 6 million women in the US experience difficulty becoming or staying pregnant.

Establishing why you’re infertile can be difficult. Fertility problems can be caused by male or female factors — or a combination of both. 

Sometimes lifestyle factors can cause infertility. Dr. Andrea Olanescu at Medical Care for Women in Astoria, New York, can help you determine the root of your infertility and advise you about lifestyle changes you can make to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Infertility, for many women, is the result of being significantly over- or underweight. Both conditions affect estrogen levels and disrupt normal ovulation, the monthly release of an egg from one of your ovaries.  Being overweight can lead to higher concentrations of circulating estrogen, which can prevent ovulation. Being underweight makes it hard for your body to maintain adequate estrogen levels to support regular ovulation.  

Taking steps toward achieving a healthy body weight is often key to restoring normal ovulation and making pregnancy possible.   

Exercise less

Sure, you’ve rarely heard medical professionals tell you to move less. But when you’re trying to get pregnant, avoid excessive physical activity. 

Strenuous exercise can interfere with normal ovulation and reduce your levels of progesterone, an essential reproductive hormone. Researchers have found a strong correlation between increased frequency, intensity, and duration of exercise and decreased fertility in women.  

Stick with moderate exercise when you’re trying to conceive. 

Eat healthy foods

If you eat a nutritious diet, your body will function optimally. 

There’s no specific “fertility diet.” But your body, including your reproductive system, perform best when they’re fueled by the right blend of nutrients. Choose whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. Limit refined-grain products and foods that are rich in added sugars, preservatives, or unhealthy fats. 

Don’t drink too much

Medical professionals know that drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can be dangerous to an unborn child. Recently, they’ve discovered that drinking alcohol can also reduce a woman’s fertility.

Researchers don’t know exactly how alcohol hurts conception, but evidence suggests it may interfere with normal ovulation.

Quit smoking

Here’s another reason to quit smoking. Tobacco can prematurely age your ovaries, reduce your number of eggs, damage your cervix and fallopian tubes, and increase your risk of having a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Also, smoking is harmful to a growing fetus. 

More factors that hurt fertility

Being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, over-exercising, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol aren’t the only lifestyle factors that can influence your ability to become pregnant.

You may have a harder time getting pregnant if you:

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, Dr. Olanescu can help. To schedule an appointment, call 718-278-0888 or use our online booking tool.

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