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Separating the facts from the fiction.

Separating the facts from the fiction.

02:23 1st June 2016 | Myths of Infertility

Age Poor Nutrition Smoking Food Caffeine Stress Alcohol Chemicals Conception

There are so many myths and old wives’tales surrounding pregnancy. Some things make good sense while others are do not make much sense. How do we know which to believe? We take a look.

Age matters

Yes. Age is the number one variable affecting fertility. The age of first pregnancies is increasing worldwide and the most common cause of infertility in a woman is her ovarian reserve which decreases markedly as she ages.

Poor nutrition lowers the odds

True. Being too thin or too fat can reduce fertility. Women who don’t consume enough calories risk not being able to ovulate normally while being overweight can interfere with normal hormonal function.

Smoking is fine as long as you stop when pregnant.

False. Smoking cigarettes is never alright and even second hand smoke can reduce fertility. This is true for both assisted (IVF) and non-assisted reproduction.

Foods affect fertility

Not proven. Some people think that eating soy affects fertility because it contains phytoestrogens. Yams seem to encourage fertility – particularly in West Africa - but there is no evidence that eating specific foods has any effect what so ever

Caffeine inhibits your chances of becoming pregnant

False. A recent study showed that caffeine inhibited ovulation in lab mice but doctors agree that it is less likely to apply to humans. However, coffee should be taken in moderation because excessive consumption may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Stress reduces fertility

True. Stress always has a negative effect on our bodies and studies show that women who took stress reduction courses had significantly greater success with IVF. It is definitely better to reduce your stress levels if you are trying to conceive.

Alcohol boosts your chance of pregnancy

False. Excessive alcohol consumption is not a good idea and has been shown to decrease fertility in women. Moderation s the key but there is no evidence to suggest that this would help in any way.

Common chemicals are fertility inhibitors

True. Bisphenol A (BPA) can decrease fertility in women and per fluoronated chemicals (PFCs), used in Teflon, have been shown to affect the menstrual cycle. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about any chemicals you may be in contact with.

Prescription drugs can enhance your chances of conception;

False. Some antidepressants can raise a woman’s serum prolactin level which interferes with normal ovulation. Check with your doctor before taking any medication.

Source: Nicole Noyes and ZevRosenwaks.

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