Infertility is generally recognized as the inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. While about 10% of women in America – approximately 6.1 million – between the ages of 15-44 have difficulty either getting pregnant or carrying pregnancies to term, many women are unaware of their own risk factors relating to their fertility struggles.
There are many ways to take proper care of your health and decrease your risk of infertility, including eliminating the use of drugs such as nicotine, weight management, and practicing safe sex.
Reducing Nicotine Use
Smoking can negatively affect your ability to bear children as it damages your cervix and fallopian tubes, both of which must be healthy in order to get – and stay – pregnant. Smoking can also increase your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilized egg gets lodged in the fallopian tube resulting in a necessary termination of the pregnancy to protect the woman’s health. Furthermore, nicotine use may age your ovaries prematurely, which can result in the depletion of your egg supply.
Staying in a healthy weight range is important in your fertility journey. Being both overweight and underweight may affect normal ovulation, which will, in turn, make it more difficult to conceive. Approximately 12% of all infertility cases are due to a woman being either overweight or underweight.
While you must obviously practice unprotected sex in order to get pregnant, you must also practice safe sex with regards to sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Nearly one-third of all sexually active people are infected with a sexually transmitted infection by the time they reach 24 years of age. Since many of these people are not aware that they are infected, they do not receive treatment. Women who experience untreated STI’s may discover the inability to bear children later in life because of it.
Age: The Uncontrollable Risk Factor
Most risk factors relating to women’s fertility are controllable or at least manageable. However, there is at least one risk factor which cannot be helped: a woman’s ever-increasing age. While this factor cannot be controlled, women can bypass it in a way. By harvesting and freezing a woman’s eggs in her 20s or 30s, she is able to preserve her fertility and is given a better chance of conceiving later in life.
If you are thinking about getting pregnant or if you have been trying to conceive for over 6 months without success, you should consult a physician who specializes in fertility to discuss your relevant risk factors, make any necessary changes to increase your chance of pregnancy, and determine your options moving forward.
If you would like to learn more about reducing your fertility risk factors or speak to a fertility specialist, contact OC Fertility today at 949-706-BABY (2229).