Getting pregnant is a good time to start adopting healthier lifestyles
It is always advisable to lead a healthy life, but when a woman decides to have a child, this recommendation is practically converted into an obligation. Many factors exist which affect our possibilities of conceiving, but we seldom take them into consideration. In this respect, it is important to change certain habits, in order to create the best possible conditions for conceiving and the ensuing gestation period.
In women, smoking makes pregnancy difficult and may contribute to bringing forward the age at which menopause starts. In men, smoking generates oxidative processes which damage the quality of the semen.
Alcohol must be restricted during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during the gestation period may lead to premature birth, higher probabilities of a miscarriage and reduce the weight of the newborn. In men, alcohol affects the quality of the semen, as it inhibits the production of testosterone.
Drugs and medicines
Taking drugs and medicines causes alterations fertility in both men and women. For instance, it is known that marihuana alters the neuroendocrine signals that intervene in the reproduction process and predisposes the unborn child to the development of neurocompartmental abnormalities.
As for anti-depressants, women must not take them during the first three months of pregnancy. In turn, men who take anabolic steroids should know that in addition to causing erectile dysfunction, the use of these substances will reduce their sperm production and may even give rise to azoospermia (absence of sperm in the semen).
Coffee is such a common beverage nowadays that we sometimes forget about its stimulating properties. However, it should be borne in mind that this drink acts like a psychoactive drug and drinking too much coffee can increase the likelihood of infertility and miscarriages. To eliminate these risks, it is best not to drink more than two cups a day.
Obesity or extreme thinness
Women who are considered obese –with a body mass index equal to or more than 30- find it more difficult to become pregnant. In their case, endocrine and metabolic alternations may develop which affect their fertility, leading to miscarriages and other obstetric complications. In the case of men, it has been demonstrated that there is a relationship between obesity and poor semen quality.
In cases of extreme thinness, the possibilities of conceiving a child are also compromised. Women with a body mass index of less than 18.5 are more prone to suffer from ovarian dysfunction which produces changes in menstruation due to a deficit of the necessary nutrients.
One negative aspect of our times is stress, which also affects our reproductive capacity, reducing the sexual appetite and consequently, the frequency of sexual relations. Furthermore, stress may also reduce the frequency of menstruation and even interrupt ovulation.
Our usual environment and our working environment have an effect on our quality of life. For this reason it is highly recommendable to avoid contact with chemical or physical toxins and exposure to occupational risks which could have negative effects on our health in general and our reproductive health in particular.
In the event of having any of these habits, it is a good idea to start changing them. In this respect, we should take advantage of the motivation during the months before pregnancy to make a positive change and improve our lifestyles.