Factors That Can Impact Your Fertility

A woman’s inability to become pregnant is often not under her control. As we’ve discussed in the past, age plays a significant role in determining one’s fertility. Pre-existing medical conditions can also leave a woman unable to become pregnant naturally. Beyond this, however, in otherwise healthy and age-appropriate women, many lifestyle factors impact the ability for women to conceive. While these factors may not be the cause of a woman’s difficulties, they should be considered if she is struggling to become pregnant.

Diet & Body Weight

Extreme weight in either direction can affect your ability to become pregnant. Women who are underweight and those who are obese may have increased difficulty conceiving. You should consult a physician about losing or gaining weight if you fall into a body mass index (BMI) group of under 19 or over 35. While your diet (vegetarian, low-fat) has little impact on fertility other than your overall weight, consuming an excess of seafood may have an adverse influence on your ability to become pregnant. Studies indicate that high mercury levels due to seafood correlate with infertility.


No smoking sign on white backgroundSmoking can have a significant, unfavorable effect on fertility. Studies show that women who smoke have a 60 percent increased risk of infertility. Further, in women who smoke, menopause can occur 1 to 4 years earlier than in women who don’t smoke. This data suggests that smoking accelerates the rate of follicular depletion. Additionally, smoking has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.


No alcohol sign on white backgroundOccasional, social drinking doesn’t impact your ability to become pregnant. However, studies have indicated that women who consume two or more alcoholic drinks a day can increase their infertility risks by 60 percent. If you are trying to become pregnant, then abstaining from alcohol may be the best choice. Abstaining from alcohol also helps avoid adverse effects on the fetus once you do become pregnant.


No coffee cup sign iconCaffeine is only associated with infertility when consumed at high rates. Drinking more than five cups a day has been connected with a decrease in fertility, and drinking more than three cups a day during pregnancy can result in a miscarriage. If you become pregnant, you should discuss your ideal caffeine intake with your physician.


To discuss your fertility or for more information regarding alternative conception methods, schedule a consultation with our reproductive specialist by calling 310.929.6707.