Having a baby may seem like a natural process that happens organically in every case.
However, in actual fact, conceiving isn't always a given, and certain lifestyle factors can have a big impact on a couple's fertility.
Rather than being solely on the shoulders of the woman, as previously thought, the following preparatory tips for getting pregnant usually concern both partners.
When it comes to health, obvious things like body weight are crucial. For example, too low or too high a weight can impair natural fertility and later pregnancy. Therefore, determining the so-called BMI (body mass index) is helpful as a guide to achieve the best possible approximation to normal weight. Significant deviations can indicate health risks such as sugar and fat metabolism disorders. It can also be important to measure your own blood pressure in order to be able to detect problems at an early stage. A doctor must always be consulted in case of any uncertainties.
If you are already taking medication, you should check with your doctor whether it is tolerated during pregnancy. At the same time, you should check when you were last examined for a present illness and whether the current therapy was checked with regard to pregnancy.
Infectious diseases can have a considerable influence on the subsequent pregnancy, but can also harm the child. However, this also includes diseases against which effective prophylaxis exists, such as rubella, chickenpox, whooping cough and influenza. That is why it is important to have your vaccinations checked and to close any gaps in vaccination. If you have cats, you can be tested for toxoplasmosis to be able to recognise vaccination protection.
Dental health is also important for later on in a pregnancy, as disease there can favour premature births, which is why a dental check-up before pregnancy is advisable.
The diet should be balanced and varied. This includes plenty of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grain products. Animal products such as dairy products, low-fat meat and sausages, high-fat seafood and eggs should be consumed in moderation. Sweets, sugary drinks and fats high in saturated fatty acids (animal fats) should be consumed sparingly.
In general, folic acid prophylaxis applies to all women who wish to have children. It has been found that the targeted intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid at the time of conception can reduce the risk of severe neurological diseases (neural tube defects) in the child, 100 - 150 micrograms of iodine should also be started before conception, and if fatty sea fish is not and rarely consumed, the additional intake of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) makes sense.
The lifestyle of both partners is the basis of many health problems that have a lasting influence on the onset and course of pregnancy. Besides nutrition, physical exercise plays a central role. In everyday life, sedentary activities should be interrupted regularly, and walking and taking the stairs should be preferred. Five times a week, about 30 minutes of moderate exercise should be practised; walking, jogging, swimming, mild exercise with machines or yoga make sense. An appropriate adjustment during pregnancy should be taken into account.
Alcohol should be avoided even while planning to have children, as it is toxic and also interferes with fertility. If pregnancy is proven, alcohol should not be consumed in any dose, as this is linked to severe developmental disorders such as malformations of the child.
Nicotine consumption should already be discontinued if the desire to have children exists, as there is evidence of long-term restrictions on the fertility of both partners. An appropriate cessation should be sought at an early stage. E-cigarettes are not a solution here, as health risks for the pregnancy are also assumed. If pregnancy has occurred, the woman concerned should not stay in rooms where people smoke. The extent of the damage to the child during pregnancy and after birth is considerable, such as deficient growth, premature birth, stillbirth, malformations, later obesity and allergies, among others.
Drinks containing caffeine should be limited in preparation for pregnancy, as increased consumption is associated with miscarriages and later growth retardation of the child. Current recommendations assume a maximum caffeine intake of 200 mg daily during pregnancy. It should be remembered that tea or cocoa also contain caffeine. Energy drinks should not be used due to the sugar content and unclear effects of other ingredients such as taurine on fertility and pregnancy.
Infertility is when a couple has not been able to have a pregnancy for more than a year despite regular sexual activity. In this case, our reproductive medicine experts in our fertility clinics in Vienna, Wels and Klagenfurt get to the bottom of the unfulfilled desire to have a child with comprehensive diagnostics. With our own diagnostic laboratory, cryobanks and sperm bank, we can offer you the entire spectrum of fertility tests (hormones, genetics, immunology), fertility treatments and other supportive treatments.