Fit for Pregnancy Checklist
Learn about the ways in which you can optimise your chances of conception, both naturally and following assisted conception.
All women trying for a baby should take 400 mcg of folic acid a day to help prevent neurological problems in the baby.
20% of women in the UK in the reproductive age group are deficient in Vitamin D. A low Vitamin D level is linked to infertility. Hence, you should also take 10 mcg of Vitamin D daily.
Men too should have supplements containing Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, Folic acid, CoQ 10 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids to improve sperm quality.
Rubella infection in pregnancy can have serious consequences on the baby's development. Hence, confirm you are immune to Rubella.
A balanced diet will help ensure your body is healthy enough to become pregnant and nourish a developing baby. A healthy diet can also help to keep sperm production at optimum levels.
Being under (BMI less than 19) or overweight (BMI over 25) can make you less likely to become pregnant, so making changes to your diet and exercising regularly can improve your chances.
Several studies have shown that caffeine increases the length of time it takes to conceive. While the exact mechanism by which caffeine affects fertility is unknown, the answer may be related to the ability of caffeine to influence the quality of the developing oocyte (egg). Multiple studies have suggested that caffeine consumption increases the risk of miscarriage. An additional concern in pregnancy is the ability of caffeine to cross the placenta and directly affect the developing baby. With most studies indicating that the effects of caffeine are related to amount of caffeine consumed, it would seem prudent for women contemplating pregnancy to limit caffeine consumption. The suggested threshold is less than 100mg per day of caffeine.
Latte or Cappuccino (16oz) ~ 150mg caffeine.
Espresso (1oz) ~ 75mg caffeine
Tea (8oz) ~ 50mg caffeine
Cola (12oz) ~ 30mg caffeine
Energy Drink (8oz) ~ 75mg caffeine
Decaf Coffee (8oz) ~ 2mg caffeine
Regular, moderate exercise of around 30 minutes a day helps to maximise your fitness and keep your weight in check. It also boosts levels of endorphins, the body’s own ‘happy hormones’, which may help to reduce stress. Some people find relaxation techniques or complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, also helps them relax.
Women who are trying to become pregnant should drink no more than two or three units of alcohol per week. Men should have no more than four to five units of alcohol per week. Binge drinking can have a negative impact on semen quality and can harm a developing foetus.
Smoking has been linked to infertility and early menopause in women, and to sperm problems in men. It is also a factor in premature or low birth-weight babies.
The testes should be a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of your body for maximum sperm production. Wearing loose-fitting underwear and trousers, and avoiding activities such as saunas and hot showers may help.
Some prescription drugs can reduce your chances of conceiving, so if you are taking regular medication, ask your doctor about suitable alternatives.
All recreational drugs should be completely avoided.
Female Lifestyle (1:57)
Male Lifestyle (1:47)