Wellbeing and lifestyle

Wellbeing, lifestyle and infertility

When you are trying for a baby, it makes sense to do everything you can to prepare your body for the journey ahead. We recommend that you and your partner review your lifestyle, to make sure it is as healthy as can be - making positive changes where needed.

Watch what you eat every day

It is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. For more information on which foods we recommend that you enjoy freely and which you should to try and avoid, see the link Exercise and Nutrition.

Take folic acid

All women trying for a baby are recommended to take folic acid to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

Be active

Regular, moderate exercise of around 30 minutes a day will help to improve and maximise your fitness. It will also boost your endorphin levels, the body's own 'happy hormones'.

Drink wisely

The government recently advised women trying to conceive to avoid alcohol completely. Men should drink no more than two to three units a week.

Don't smoke

Smoking has been associated with infertility and early menopause in women, as well as sperm problems in men. It may also reduce the success of fertility treatment.

Keep cool

For optimum sperm production, the testicles need to be a couple of degrees cooler than the rest of the body. Men should therefore avoid tight underwear and jeans, cycling and excessively hot baths and saunas. We also recommend a cold shower around the testicles for few seconds each day.

Think about your job

Occupations that involve sitting for long periods such as long-distance lorry driving or exposure to environmental chemicals may affect sperm quality.

Manage stress

We all have different stress thresholds and there is now growing evidence that being stressed can affect your chances of conceiving. The body interprets the effects of physiological stressors, such as lack of sleep and intensive athletic training, in the same way as psychological stress due to excessive anxiety, bereavement or divorce for example. The stress can sometimes upset your mental health and can disturb your normal bodily functions. So, trying to identify and reduce the things that cause your stress is a good idea.

Check drugs

Certain prescription drugs can reduce the chances of conception, so make your doctor aware that you are trying for a baby.