Trying to conceive: Do I need to change my day-to-day life?

Infertility  affects  around  one  in  six  couples  at  a  given  point in  their  lives  and  for many  trying to conceive,  it  can  be  a tough  journey.  Dr  Sonya  Jessup  from  Demeter  Fertility,  who has  also been through  the  IVF  process  herself,  explains  how  to give  yourself  the  best  chance  of conceiving by following these simple guidelines when you are trying for a baby.

Infertility  affects  around  one  in  six  couples  at  a  given  point  in  their  lives  and  for many  trying  to  conceive,  it  can  be  a  tough  journey.  Dr  Sonya  Jessup  from  Demeter  Fertility,  who  has  also  been through  the  IVF  process  herself,  explains  how  to  give  yourself  the  best  chance  of conceiving by following these simple guidelines when you are trying for a baby.

“Most importantly, life is meant to be enjoyed.  It  may  take  a  number of months or even years to conceive a baby, so it is important during this time to look after yourself and your partner  and  continue  to  have  a  normal  and  fun  life,” says Dr Jessup.  

Those who  are  lucky  enough  to conceive  quickly  continue  to  live  a  completely  normal  life  right  up  to  the  point  that  the period is missed and a positive  pregnancy test is done. At this point, women usually begin to  follow  the  normal  advice  in  pregnancy  with  decreased  coffee  intake,  no  alcohol  and avoidance of unnecessary procedures, treatments or medications.

“It is disillusioning for women who are taking longer to conceive to be  told they shouldn’t have a coffee  in the  morning,  dye  their hair or be  able to have  a glass of wine  with  dinner or when out socially.  Month after month of stressing about changing every single aspect of life in order to improve  conception  chances can  in  fact  have  the  opposite  effect  as  the relationship  is  put  under  strain. I strongly believe that couples are best to live a completely normal life together whilst they are trying to have a baby,” advises Dr Jessup.

When a woman is  undergoing IVF treatment  cycle  however,  her chances  of  conceiving  that month are obviously much higher than usual, and for couples in treatment,  there are a few guidelines as to what is best to avoid.

  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol.  Whilst  there  are  no  problems  associated  with  a cup of coffee or two a day, or a glass or two of wine,  drinking in excess of five cups of coffee  a  day has been associated  with  a higher miscarriage rate.  It goes without saying that getting blind drunk or taking other social drugs is a no no.
  • Worried about colouring your hair? While there is inconclusive  research  regarding use hair dye whilst trying to conceive or once you are pregnant, I advise my patients that it  is completely appropriate to continue  with  all hair care up until  the  time  you find  out  your  pregnancy  test  is  positive.  Natural dyes such as Henna may be an option thereafter.
  • Beauty treatments  such  as  injectables and  laser treatments are best  avoided  in pregnancy,  but  can  be  used  up  until  conception. Botox injections last in the body for up to three months, and so are best avoided in the 3 months before an IVF cycle.
  • We all know  that smoking  isn't  good  for  fertility,  so  it’s  best  to  quit  if  you  are trying  to  conceive.  Smoking can also speed up age-related infertility, bringing on earlier menopause although if you quit early enough, you may be able to reverse the negative effects.

Remember that everyone’s fertility journeys are different, and no two couples are the same. If you are concerned about how long it is taking to conceive, see a fertility specialist promptly to get sound advice and to ensure there are no major fertility concerns. With good advice you can increase your natural fertility substantially, and if a problem is identified, ovulation induction or IVF treatment can generally be started within a month or two.

“For couples, remember that you are in  a relationship with a  person you love  and  want  to experience  all the wonders of  having a  child with.  Nurture that relationship. No man wants to feel his importance has been reduced purely to sperm delivery!  Be creative, have fun.  If you are doing an IVF cycle, sperm  is only required on the day of  egg collection with leaves the  rest  of  the  month  where  sex  is  just  about  the  two  of  you  again.  You will  rely  on  a strong relationship  more  than you can imagine  when  you have a  baby,  so  be  nice to each other!” advises Dr Jessup.

Copyright Demeter Fertility 2019