Before you and your partner decide to start a family, you may be able to increase your chances for a successful pregnancy by making a few lifestyle adjustments.
Women should take a prenatal vitamin with at least one milligram of folic acid for at least three months before conception to reduce the risk of spina bifida and central nervous system abnormalities. Men should take a multivitamin to optimize sperm function. Both partners should refrain from, or severely restrict, using alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or other drugs while trying to conceive or during pregnancy.
Both partners should have prenatal blood tests, including those for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, RPR for syphilis, rubella titer (German measles immunity), and a blood type evaluation. Women should be immunized against rubella at least one month before they start trying to have a family. Talk to your physician about cystic fibrosis screenings; detection of this defective gene is now available to all couples.
Stress and Infertility
Physical and emotional stress have long been implicated as factors in a couple’s ability to conceive, but we now have more solid evidence for their role. Stress raises levels of cortisol, one of the major metabolic hormones from the adrenal glands that can influence the way other hormones are produced and metabolized.
Smoking and Infertility
Numerous studies have shown that smoking can have adverse effects on fertility. In women, smoking decreases in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) pregnancy rates by approximately half. Smoking also increases miscarriage rates. In men, smoking decreases sperm function and impairs fertilization.
If these lifestyle adjustments are unsuccessful, Fertility Center of the Carolinas offers comprehensive testing to diagnose infertility and formulate treatment options that may include the following: