How to improve your fertility

​Young men and women can take steps to maintain and improve their fertility, such as

  • Using a condom to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases and gynecological infections
  • Using contraception when pregnancy is not desired
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Avoiding becoming overweight and underweight
  • Not waiting too long to start a family as fertility decreases with age

Smoking can inhibit natural pregnancy and reduce the effect of fertility treatment.  Smoking produces several toxic compounds that deteriorate the ovarian and uterine function. Smoking increases the risk of placental malfunction and placental abruption, as well as the risk of premature birth and decelerated fetal growth.  Smokers reach menopause as much as two years earlier than non-smokers. Male smoking can reduce fertility even when the sperm count is normal.

Being both overweight and underweight affect the menstrual cycle, which reduces the chances of pregnancy and increases risks during pregnancy.  The primary infertility treatment for severely obese women (BMI over 35) is weight loss. Obesity in a man can also decrease fertility.

A woman planning to get pregnant should pay attention to her diet. The recommended dietary supplements include 7.5 µg/day of vitamin D and 0.4 mg/day of folic acid. A higher dose is recommended for high-risk groups.  (Visit the Teratology Information Service's website for more information.) Women on a strict vegetarian diet should also include a B12 vitamin supplement (2 µg/day) in their diet.