You may have heard that healthy people make healthy babies. While there is truth in that statement, fertility can be impacted by environmental and lifestyle factors. It is common knowledge that stress and carrying extra weight make conception difficult, but they are not the only things that can get in the way of pregnancy. We are going to look at three things that may be affecting your ability to conceive and how you can make small changes that may boost your pregnancy potential.
It should be no surprise that sugar consumption in the American diet skyrocketed over the last 50 years. According to the Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), sugar-sweetened beverages make up about one-third of the total added sugar consumed. It is important to note that sugar-sweetened, or added sugar, should not be confused with the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and dairy. The effects of added sugar on fertility are not limited to women. Boston University School of Medicine found that when either partner drinks one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day, the chance of pregnancy decreases. Female soda consumption dropped fecundability (probability of pregnancy within a menstrual cycle) by 25 percent. When the male partner is the soda drinker, a 33 percent decrease in fecundability is common.
Beverages like soda, with added sugars, cause a spike in insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that allows our bodies to convert sugar to energy. Chemically speaking, insulin is similar to other ovarian hormones that work to mature your eggs. When insulin levels rise, it confuses the ovaries and may affect the growth and production of crucial hormones. Give up beverages like soda and those that contain added sugars to give the eggs and ovaries a fighting chance.
ARTIFICIAL NIGHTTIME LIGHT
Late-night light exposure comes at you from more angles than ever before. Smartphones, Kindles, and tablets not only stimulate your brain and make it difficult to settle down, but they also alter melatonin production. Normally, the brain makes melatonin in response to darkness to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. It turns out melatonin is not responsible for only leveling sleep patterns.
Nighttime light exposure can disrupt conception and negatively impact fetal development according to to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. This is a result of melatonin’s “day job,” so to speak. Melatonin is also produced in the reproductive tract. Its primary function there is to protect eggs from potential damage caused by free radicals. This protection is especially crucial during ovulation when the eggs are most vulnerable. If you are already pregnant, it is wise to limit nighttime light exposure. The effect of decreased melatonin production can disrupt the fetus’ developing biological clock and ultimately result in future health issues for the baby.
Researchers concluded that the more light exposure that occurs at night, the more prevalent the reduction in melatonin production. As difficult as it seems, finding ways to normalize light and dark times in your home can help. Remove screens, including everything from phones to TVs, from your bedtime routine. Try blackout curtains if light tends to enter from outdoors. While turning off the screens is not a cure-all, research shows the impact of nighttime light exposure and the resulting lack of melatonin can play a role in fertility.
CHOLESTEROL LEVELS: HIS AND HERS
Diet advice is often given to women to optimize the chances of pregnancy. It turns out that high cholesterol does more than just harm the heart, it can also make it take longer to get pregnant. A study in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that higher free cholesterol in both males and females can affect conception. While it is known that obesity can make it harder to get pregnant, even relatively healthy people can have high cholesterol. The results even held true when adjusting for age and BMI. If the female’s cholesterol levels are high, that translates into conception slow-down number one. If the male’s cholesterol is also high, the effect on conception is even higher. If you suspect high cholesterol could be an issue, save time and energy by ensuring both partners are tested.
Infertility is draining, both emotionally and physically. Your Viera, Florida fertility specialist is here to find solutions. Dr. Chamoun has a plethora of diagnostic tests in his arsenal to help get to the bottom of your family’s fertility issues. He works diligently to create a treatment plan with the ultimate goal being a successful pregnancy.