We all know that alcohol during pregnancy is best avoided. However, new studies suggest that its best to stay away from drinking altogether a full three months before you even try to get pregnant to lower the risk of alcohol related problems and increase your chances of conception.
So how does Alcohol Affect Fertility?
Alcohol can affect both you and your partner. Research has shown that consuming any kind of alcohol reduces your fertility by half. One study showed that women who drank less than 5 units of alcohol a week (equal to 2 standard 175ml glasses of wine) were twice as likely to get pregnant within six-months compared with those who drank more. Of course, alcohol affects each woman differently. But if you want to maximize your chances of getting pregnant, it’s best to resist temptation and give up on drinking. This is especially true, if you’ve had infertility issues in the past.
What About your Male Partner?
When you’re trying to conceive, your male partner should also limit his alcohol consumption for the simple reason that it lowers his testosterone levels and affects his sexual drive. Incidentally, studies also show that alcohol decreases sperm count and reduces the number of motile sperms. Alcohol also inhibits zinc absorption in the body. Zinc is one of the most important minerals for male fertility.
What about your Baby?
Apart from affecting your fertility, alcohol could also have several other repercussions like miscarriage, pre-term birth and poor foetal growth and development. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of babies born to mothers who drink alcohol, either before or during pregnancy, are shown to have congenital heart defects or brain anomalies. So every time you’re tempted to say “cheers”, think twice. Remember it’s a small compromise you’re making for the health of your baby.
What if you Discover you’re Pregnant?
Unplanned pregnancies happen ever so often. If you find out that you’ve been inadvertently drinking while you’re pregnant, there’s nothing to get nervy about. Instead, make sure to stop drinking right away and take care during the next few months of your pregnancy. You will be fine. However, do be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider, for extra re-assurance.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.