Increase your Chances

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There are steps both women and men can take to help increase the chances of natural conception and also a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Weight

Being overweight can cause problems with your fertility. A body mass index (BMI) of over 29 can trigger the overproduction oestrogen which becomes stored within the fat cells; this can cause hormone imbalances that may reduce ovulation. Losing between 5 and 10 per cent of your body weight if you are in this situation can trigger ovulation again and you will also be in better health for your pregnancy by losing this extra weight. Take advice ahead of planning your pregnancy if you are overweight so that you can give yourself time to lose the weight safely and steadily. Being underweight also affects female fertility and a BMI of 19 or less can affect the menstrual cycle and cause hormone imbalances and even the cessation of ovulation. A healthy weight is very important for conception and for pregnancy and birth, it is worth paying attention to.

If a man is overweight this can also affect the male hormone, testosterone reducing sperm count, and men who are under a healthy weight

Smoking

Smoking affects female and male fertility; it is also one of the main causes of low birth weight. Quitting smoking will reduce the risk of pregnancy complications as well as reducing the risk of problems in labor and delivery. Babies born to a smoking mother are not only likely to be of lower birth weight but also they are more likely to have problems keeping warm and are more prone to infection. Smoking also increases the risk of premature birth and also sudden infant death syndrome.