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How to get pregnant
Maximizing fertility: What to avoid
To improve your odds of conceiving, also keep important "don'ts" in mind:
- Don't smoke. Tobacco affects cervical mucus, which can prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Smoking may also increase the risk of miscarriage and deprive your developing baby of oxygen and nutrients. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit before conception. For your family's sake, vow to quit for good.
- Don't drink alcohol. Generally, it's best to avoid alcohol if you're hoping to conceive — and alcohol is off-limits if you're pregnant.
- Don't take medication without your health care provider's OK. Certain medications — even those available without a prescription — can make it difficult to conceive. Others might not be safe once you're pregnant.
- Don't depend on vaginal lubricants. Various over-the-counter vaginal lubricants, including K-Y Jelly, can decrease fertility. Saliva can have the same effect. If you need a lubricant, consider mineral oil or canola oil — or ask your doctor for other suggestions.
- Don't overdo strenuous exercise. Although moderate physical activity can help promote fertility, going overboard might have the opposite effect. Some research suggests that more than seven hours a week of vigorous aerobic activity can actually impair fertility.
When to consult a doctor
With frequent unprotected sex, most healthy couples conceive within one year. Others need a bit of help.
If you're in your early 30s or younger and you and your partner are in good health, try it on your own for one year before consulting a doctor. Consider seeking help sooner if you're age 35 or older, or you or your partner has known or suspected fertility issues.
Infertility affects both men and women — and treatment is available. Depending on the source of the problem, your gynecologist, your partner's urologist or your family doctor might be able to help. In some cases, a fertility specialist offers the best hope.Previous page
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