By now, you probably know the plot – when you and your partner are actively trying to conceive, you can’t leave the house without seeing a happy pregnant belly on the street.
Newspapers seem to be filled with stories of celebrity teenage moms, and every time you turn on the TV, there’s another cute little ad staring at you with big, soulful eyes in a Pampers ad. Even your local supermarket seems to be on the field.
When you spend weeks and months trying to expand your family, you finally realize – fertility is difficult. No matter what your mother warns teenagers, one twirl between the sheets doesn’t seem like enough to make a baby. Google has probably informed you about factors that may decrease your chances of getting pregnant, such as birth control pills, smoking, and breastfeeding.
However, the absence of these factors does not always guarantee defeat. Sometimes there are hidden reasons that we ignore. Today we’re going to take a look at the top six to watch out for
- Excessive consumption of trans fats
There are good fats and there are bad fats, but “trans fats” are the worst.
Some dairy and meat products contain small amounts of organic trans fats. However, most trans fats are created through artificial, industrial processes that add hydrogen to vegetable oils and solidify the oils at room temperature.
Trans fats not only raise your LDL (read: bad cholesterol) and lower your HDL (read: good cholesterol) levels, research shows that trans fats can also affect fertility. Basically, it prevents ovulation, and it’s simple math – no egg means no baby. So try to limit your intake of foods rich in trans fats, such as pizza, chips, fried foods, and baked goods.
- Exercising excessively
Yes, exercise can help increase your chances of conceiving to some extent. However, too much exercise? Not so much. In fact, studies have shown that too much strenuous exercise can have the opposite effect on your reproductive cycle, making it less likely that you’ll get pregnant.
Research shows that for female athletes, or just women who like to exercise hard, the body doesn’t have enough energy to support heavy exercise or pregnancy. The study examined nearly 3,000 female volunteers and found that participants who exercised daily or exercised until exhaustion had the highest risk of infertility.
- Low BMI
We all know that having a higher than normal BMI doesn’t do much for fertility, but did you know that it does the same for a lower than normal BMI? A BMI in the lower end of the body mass index increases a woman’s risk of infertility, premature birth, and ovarian dysfunction. Studies have shown that eating disorders associated with low BMI can sometimes negatively affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- The partner is stressed
If your man is stressed, it can greatly affect your chances of conceiving. Stress reduces the quality of his sperm – it reduces the number of sperm cells and even affects the speed and distance of his sperm. In addition, stress can interfere with the intimate life of couples. If your partner is experiencing more stress than what is considered normal, he or she will be less likely to feel energized for the birth process.