Suprising things that affect fertility

Skip the chocolate cake and pizza on weekends and consume healthy foods instead

UMNIA SHAHID March 16, 2015

We know it takes a healthy woman to make a healthy baby. But sometimes, it can be way tougher to conceive than you think. Turns out your fertility can be affected by surprising factors that are habitually incorporated in your day. So, if you’re trying to get pregnant, or foresee a mini-you sometime in the future, it’s imperative to learn what lifestyle changes might be in stock. As compiled by and Women’s Health magazine, read up and follow to boost your baby-making potential.

Night-time smartphone/tablet activity

Staring at your smartphone or tablet screens at night, messes with more than just your sleep cycle. According to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, artificial night-time light exposure can damage both your ability to conceive and foetal development if you’re already pregnant. Late-night light exposure can suppress melatonin production, that’s also produced in the reproductive tract and blocks eggs from harmful free radicals, chiefly during ovulation. Insufficient melatonin production can also disrupt a developing fetus’ internal clock, resulting in long-term problems, researchers suggest.

Junk food

If you’re a burger and fries junkie, you know you’re not consuming the right nutrients, such as monounsaturated fats, zinc, vitamin D, and B6 —  which means, you could be disrupting your body’s regulation of critical reproductive hormones like progesterone, insulin, and testosterone. Skip the chocolate cake and pizza on weekends and consume healthy foods instead to boost your body’s potential of having a baby. Also, make certain you’re eating a heavy and nutritious breakfast because research published in Clinical Science found that consuming about half of your daily calories in the a.m. could increase your fertility.

Poor oral health

Healthy pearly whites brag benefits far beyond the perfect facebook profile picture. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that women who needed fertility treatments had higher levels of gum bleeding and inflammation than those who conceived naturally. “Several studies have indicated that a woman’s oral health may be related to her reproductive success,” says Susan Karabin, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Periodontology. So if you want to conceive anytime soon, make sure to brush and floss regularly and make sure to visit your dentist twice a year.

Folic acid deficiency

If there’s one vitamin you should be consuming when you’re trying to get pregnant or you anticipate pregnancy in the future, it’s folic acid. Your body uses this vital B-complex vitamin to create red blood cells, and it’s vital for expecting mothers. So how much do you need? Ob-gyn Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine advises up to 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. The easiest and most reliable way to secure this intake is by taking a daily folic acid supplement or begin consuming sunflower seeds, spinach and eggs for a natural folic acid boost.


Phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals used in plastics and many cosmetics. A study conducted by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, found that the chemical in fact compromises your ability to conceive. Research suggests that women with the most phthalates in their systems were twice as likely to suffer from implantation failure as compared to women with the lowest level of phthalates. With that said, you can limit your exposure by avoiding cosmetics that list dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), and diethylphthalate (DEP) as ingredients or basically steer clear of scented cosmetics since phthalates are often added to makeup to make its scent last longer.

Your weight

If you need another reason to hit the gym, this is it. “Being overweight is a huge issue if you’re trying to get pregnant,” according to ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, M.D. That’s because an unhealthy weight can mess with your ovulation. Additionally, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that 12 per cent of infertility cases are due to weight-related issues. But being underweight can be equally harmful. “Losing a significant amount of weight or excessive exercise, particularly if your BMI drops below 18 or 19, can cause lack of ovulation in extreme cases and thus affect fertility,” says Dweck. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March  17th,  2015.

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