8 factors that affect your chances of conceiving



Whether you are currently trying to conceive or planning to in the future, knowing what you can do to maximize your fertility is a powerful tool for reducing stress and feeling empowered.

Although some of these factors that affect fertility are difficult or even impossible to control, but they are still important.

Understanding each one’s impact on fertility and how they apply to you can help create realistic expectations and inform your decisions.

The following 8 factors should be considered when forming expectations and strategizing for optimal fertility.

1. Age

As with many capabilities of our physical bodies, the younger you are the more fertile you are likely to be. This means it could take longer for an older woman to become pregnant than a younger woman.  On the other hand, a very healthy 35-year-old might have an easier time becoming pregnant than a 25-year-old who smokes, drinks, and does not exercise. Although age is not everything, if you are older then it can reduce frustration if you expect it to take longer.

2. Diseases, Disorders, Genetics

Anything that weakens body systems or redirects the body’s resources from reproductive tasks can potentially decrease fertility. A short-term infection or acute emotional stress, such as a death in the family, can temporarily decrease fertility. A chronic illness, a physical defect, or a genetic disorder might have a more permanent effect on fertility. Being aware of your baseline health and seeking medical advice can help minimize the impact of these factors on your fertility.

3. Hormones

Estrogen readily comes to mind when thinking about fertility and female hormones, but, in fact, a dozen or more hormones from the brain, ovaries, thyroid, and adrenal glands all participate in coordinating fertility. Sometimes a hormonal imbalance can’t be corrected, but in many cases, it can. Testing your fertility can identify imbalances and define solutions if needed.

4. Sleep

More than one-third of adult do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Sleep deprivation is linked to increased risk for many chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Lack of sleep can also reduce your ability to cope with stress and increase the likelihood you will require a medication that is not compatible with pregnancy. Making good sleep a priority could be one of the simplest things you can do to improve your fertility.

5. Stress

Life is stressful. It comes from external sources like finances and internal sources like an illness. Stress is linked to health ramifications that adversely impact every system in the body, including reproduction. It makes sense, then, that learning to manage your stress and reducing its impact on your health would not only benefit your overall well-being, it would benefit your fertility as well.

6. Nutrition

There is definitely some truth to the saying “you are what you eat.” Your body requires raw materials to build, repair, and grow, and these raw materials come from the food you eat. If your diet is lacking necessary nutrients, then your body will not have the resources it needs to maintain good health, let alone conceive and grow a child.

7. Exercise

You know exercise is good for you, but fitting it into your day is tough. If you haven’t been able to develop an exercise routine, then now is the time. Not only does regular exercise benefit all of your body systems, it helps you reach a healthy weight and reduce stress. And, for most women, an established exercise routine can be safely continued throughout pregnancy, which means you and your baby can continue to benefit from this important lifestyle change.

8. Weight/body fat

A dreaded topic for many of us, body weight imbalance is linked to myriad health problems, including infertility. With more than one-third of people medically obese and another one-third overweight, it makes sense that excess body fat is discussed more often than insufficient body fat, although both are scenarios that cause health and fertility disruptions.

The good news is that your effort to improve your fertility through the other factors – exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, etc. – are very likely to improve your weight/body fat as a convenient side effect. And even a 5-10% change in your weight can have a positive effect.

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