You know you want to have a baby—just not right now. While starting a family may be further down the road for you, it’s never too early to begin taking care of yourself in preparation for that right time. Try these tips to help better your chances of getting pregnant later on (note: It takes two to tango, so make sure your spouse is leading a healthy lifestyle, too!):
- Maintain a healthy weight. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, 12 percent of all infertility cases result from a woman being overweight or underweight. If you have too much fat, you produce too much estrogen—a sex hormone produced in fat cells—which acts like birth control. Being too thin and not producing enough estrogen can disrupt ovulation.
- Stop smoking. In addition to the havoc it can wreak on every other part of your body, nicotine and all the other harmful chemicals in cigarettes can damage your ovaries. While how much you smoke and how long you’ve been doing it determine the degree of damage, you can stop further harm by quitting now.
- Protect yourself. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea often have few to no symptoms, meaning you’re unlikely to seek treatment. A common complication of STDs is pelvic inflammatory disease. The disease can cause scarring in the fallopian tubes, permanently damaging them and leading to infertility.
- Visit your doctor. Yearly visits to your healthcare provider can help you stay on top of your health.
Unfortunately, fertility troubles do happen. If you’re under age 30 and have been trying for a year or more to get pregnant, or you’re over 30 and haven’t been able to conceive after six months of trying, talk with your healthcare provider. You and your spouse may need to undergo testing to find the problem’s source.