Many women do not start thinking of fertility unless they want to get pregnant. It is only around the time a couple is trying to get pregnant, various tests are considered and taken. If by any chance, a couple is tested to have been suffering from infertility, the measures to fix the same are adapted, whether natural or clinical or a combination of both. But, the question is, how willing are you to go through all that stress and effort, when you can actually start taking care of yourself earlier?
Fertility is your ability to produce a child which can be affected in many ways like your health, your weight, your smoking and alcohol habits, drugs in-take, too much caffeine consumed and even your age. It is very important for you to understand your fertility window if you are trying to get pregnant. Meanwhile, also understand that the fertile window of menstrual cycle will differ from one woman to another.
Pregnancy is possible in the five days before ovulation through to the day of ovulation. These six days of the fertile window reflect five days of lifespan of sperm and one day lifespan of the ovum. So, the probability of an intercourse being successful if done five days before the ovulation day is about 10% which is relatively higher as compared to any other time than the fertile window. In fact, your chances of getting pregnant is higher in the last two days before and on the day of ovulation. It is highly recommended for every woman to keep a check on her fertility, quality of eggs and ovulation cycle from time to time along with health as it plays the most vital role above all other measures.
- How to protect fertility
We have listed below essential ways by which every woman can protect fertility-
With age, fertility declines.
- 5% of women aged 25 take more than a year to conceive
- More than 70% of women under 30 conceive within 3 months
- 30% of women aged 35 take more than a year to conceive
- 40% of women aged over 36 conceive within 3 months
- By age 40, a woman’s fertility has fallen by half
This happens because women are born with all eggs possible so with time, either the eggs are released during ovulation, disappear or deteriorate. It is very important to consider timely pregnancy for the same reasons.
Weight is the most critical factor that affects fertility in women. Being overweight or underweight causes hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation. To understand whether you are overweight or underweight, you must calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). You can calculate BMI in three steps-
- Convert your height into meters and KG
- Divide your weight in KG by your height in meters
- Divide the answer by your height in meters again.
Match your answer from the standards below to check if you are overweight or underweight-
- under 20 is considered underweight
- 20-25 is considered normal weight
- 26-30 is considered overweight
- 30 and over is considered obese
Food helps in maintaining and protecting fertility naturally. A woman’s body needs to consume various specific nutrients to everyday- Zinc, Omega-3s, Vitamin B, C, E, Beta-carotene, Iron and of course, a lot of water. To understand more about what kind of food to consume in which cycle, read [LINK].
Excessive consumption of caffeine have lead to prolonging the time to get pregnant. Although the link between caffeine and infertility hasn’t been fully proved, it is always advisable to be overly cautious while trying to conceive. An average amount of caffeine in a standard cup of coffee is measured to be 85mg, but again, it depends on the preparation and the kind of beans used. Consuming caffeine more than 500mg per day any in form, be it coffee, cola, tea, dark chocolate and various energy drinks, may increase the amount of time it takes to conceive.
There isn’t need to highlight the point that excessive smoking and alcohol lead to health issues in all types of human body at all ages. Both active and passive smoking lead to fertility problems
Smoking is associated with the cells of ovary and may accelerate loss of eggs in women. It is also responsible for causing genetic abnormalities, ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.
Drinking more than six units of alcohol per week non-stop is described as heavy drinking. Heavy drinking leads to causing issues in pregnancy which may further result in affecting baby’s health. It is suggested by National Health and Medical Research Council that couples trying to get pregnant should not drink alcohol at all.
Apart from smoking and drinking, women with high indulgence in drugs like cocaine, heroin and ecstasy have been tested infertile at almost all occasions with permanent reproductive problems. The same is applicable for men who consume high amounts of illegal drugs that gradually lead to lowering sperm count. If a couple suffering from drug addiction somehow manage to have a baby, the baby in no circumstance is born healthy.
Environmental toxins and sexually transmitted diseases also lead to infertility or diminishing egg quality in women.