Are you trying to get pregnant? If so, here is some general advice for you-
1. Sexual intercourse – Having intercourse every 2-3 days improves your chance of pregnancy. This is because the egg lives for only 24 hours while sperms can survive for up to one week, though they are very active for the first 48 hours. So, by having intercourse every 2-3 days, you can make sure that sperms are always present to fertilize the egg whenever it is released.
2. Alcohol – Too much alcohol can affect the sperm quality and therefore delay pregnancy. So, alcohol consumption must be reduced.
3. Smoking – This definitely affects your chance of having a baby. In men, smoking reduces the semen quality and delays conception. If your smoke and your wife inhale the smoke- that is called passive smoking. Passive smoking can also delay conception. Therefore, it is best to stop smoking.
4. Body weight – Ideal body weight is very important to become pregnant as well as to continue your pregnancy without problems. We calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI to see if your weight is correct. Normal BMI is between 20 – 25. Women with BMI over 27 and those with BMI below 20 take longer to get pregnant. Therefore, it is vital to reduce your weight or increase your weight accordingly.
Overweight women also have an increased risk of miscarriage and also of developing complications in pregnancy like high blood pressure and diabetes. Overweight men also have reduced movement of sperms, an increased number of abnormal sperms and may also have sexual problems. Your doctor will tell you how much your ideal weight should be and also give you advice on diet.
5. Tight underwear for men – The scrotum is at a lower temperature than the rest of the body. Normal sperm production requires lower temperatures. Tight underwear increases scrotal temperature and is known to impair sperm production. Therefore, it is advisable to wear cotton, loose fitting underwear.
6. Occupation – Certain occupations can delay conceiving. Important among these are welders, cooks, bus/lorry drivers, workers in dyeing/ pesticide industries. Your doctor will tell you if your occupation is of significance.
7. Folic acid – This is a B group vitamin. Taking this tablet every day even before pregnancy reduces the chance of having a baby with abnormal brain growth (neural tube defects). So make sure you take the tablet every day.
8. Rubella – This is a viral infection. If it occurs in pregnancy it can cause damage to your baby’s growth and result in an abnormal baby. By doing a blood test we can check if you have protection against this viral infection. If not, we will give you a vaccine for protection.