If you've been finding it difficult to conceive, you may want to consider changing some of your lifestyle habits. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that the two main factors impacting a couple's ability to become pregnant happen to be weight (too much or too little) and exercise (ditto).
Women and men who undergo significant weight loss as well as those who are underweight may have altered hormonal signals sent from their brains to their reproductive organs such as ovaries or testes. These alterations may not be very severe. In a mild case, for example, a woman's ovaries may still produce eggs and release them; however, the uterine lining may not be prepped and ready for the implantation of the fertilized eggs. A less than ideal uterine lining would be due to an inadequate level of the necessary hormones.
In more severe cases, the ovaries may cease egg production altogether. When this happens there may be either irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
In men who are underweight or who have lost a significant amount of weight, there may be lowered sperm counts or abnormal sperm function.
But being obese can also impact on a woman's fertility. Obesity can lead to increased levels of insulin which in turn may prod a woman's ovaries to produce too many male hormones so that egg production stops cold.
Diet and exercise are crucial to good health and good health is crucial for a couple who is trying to conceive. But too much of anything is a bad thing. Regular exercise is recommended, while too much exercise may lower sperm counts in men or interfere with a woman's ovulatory function. If too much exercise is deemed a possible contributory factor in a couple's infertility, they will be given the simple suggestion to cut down on the amount of exercise in which they engage, or perhaps to modify the type of exercise to something more moderately active.
Were you waiting for us to mention cigarette smoking and coffee consumption? Here it is: research shows that drinking more than 2 cups of coffee a day may impede a woman's ability to conceive. About smoking: certain studies have found that fathers-to-be who smoke cigarettes produce sperm with impaired function. But other studies say there's no link between smoking and infertility. The upshot: if you're trying to conceive, it can't hurt to quit smoking.
For more information about factors that can negatively impact your fertility, check out this section of fertilityfactor.com.