Preparing for Fertility Treatment
Genetic Screening and Lifestyle Choices
As conscientious health care providers, we would like to ensure that every pregnancy has the very best chance for a positive outcome. For this reason, we find it important to recommend certain precautions and preconception testing.
Our preconception testing provides information we need to give a thorough evaluation and diagnosis, and to identify and eliminate any potential concerns before conception. This, in turn, protects the health of the parents, the pregnancy and the baby.
In addition to testing, there are other things you can do before treatment begins to help your treatment outcome. The information below is designed to help you understand how certain lifestyle choices can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Genetic screening may provide you with information regarding your risks of having a baby with a genetic abnormality. We recommend genetic screening for all patients who:
- Are over the age of 35
- Are experiencing infertility
- Have a family history of fenetic disorders
- Are undergoing assisted reproductive technology procedures
Although we routinely recommend genetic screening, it is not mandatory. If you decide to have a genetic counseling session, please notify our office and we can provide you with a list of geneticists you can contact for an appointment.
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Lifestyle Choices and Fertility
Smoking has been proven to be a powerful vasoconstrictor, which can impair blood flow across the placenta. This frequently results in low birth weight. Smoking also changes cervical mucus in the female and reduces sperm count and motility in the male, which may contribute to infertility. We advise that both partners discontinue smoking prior to attempting pregnancy.
Mental retardation and cranial facial deformities characterize Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It has been known to occur in infants where mothers drank moderately or lightly during their pregnancies. For this reason we advise abstaining from alcohol use during pregnancy and while you are trying to conceive. Evidence also suggests that men who consume alcoholic beverages may have reduced number of sperm.
Living and working in a complex urban society may present certain risks of exposure to toxic substances. Research into the reproductive effects of exposure to pesticides, insecticides, radioactive materials and industrial solvents is being conducted. We recommend that both you and your partner minimize your exposure to these things.
Another risk to be concerned about is toxoplasmosis. This is a parasite infection transmitted through cat feces. If you have a cat, avoid changing the litter box. Toxoplasmosis can also be caught by eating raw meat. Always wash hands, utensils and cutting boards after handling raw meat.
It is impossible to be aware of all possible factors that may cause pregnancy or fetal complications. Nevertheless, common sense avoidance of known toxins and a healthy lifestyle represent a reasonable approach while attempting pregnancy and being pregnant.
Diet and Vitamin Supplementation
A healthy balanced diet composed of fresh foods, which are not processed or overcooked, is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future offspring. Children who start life well nourished have a distinct advantage in their intellectual capacity and ability to fight diseases.
A multi-vitamin containing Folic Acid (0.4 Ð 400 microgram) is a good addition to dietary nutrition. Vitamins should be started prior to attempting pregnancy. Clinical research suggests that folic acid taken prior to pregnancy (and early pregnancy) can reduce the risk of birth defects like Spinal Bifida, Neural Tubal Defects and Cleft Lip.
Some medical studies imply that caffeine use may possibly increase the rate of miscarriage. We advise reducing caffeine consumption to a minimum both while you are attempting pregnancy and during pregnancy.
Since many of these remedies have unknown effects on fertility treatments, we suggest that they not be used without consulting with your doctor.
Exercise and Weight Management
For maximum fertility stay close to your ideal weight. If you're very overweight or underweight you can develop ovulation problems as well as have an increased risk of miscarriage. Exercise regularly—staying fit will help control your weight and will keep your body strong enough to carry a pregnancy with ease.
Mind and Body
The psychological distress of infertility can affect all aspects of life. Depression and anxiety for those diagnosed with infertility has been shown for some to be equal to patients diagnosed with cancer, HIV and heart disease. Along with emotional effects, infertility can also take a toll on your physical health. Research suggests that learning stress reduction techniques, and connecting the body and mind within a supportive group environment may increase your chances to conceive.
Our Mind-Body Program complements your medical treatment with special programs, support groups and counseling. We encourage you to explore the options our Mind-Body Program offers and take advantage of them. Our Mind-Body providers are available to talk about our programs and help you determine what will best suit your needs.
For more information on our mind-body resources and programs visit here.
For further information on The Psychological Component of Infertility please visit reproductivefacts.org.
* PAMF's website has numerous links to outside Internet pages, however, we do not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF make any guarantee, warranty or representation regarding the accuracy of the information contained on them. Visit PAMF Privacy & Content Policy for more information.
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