Deciding to start a family is an exciting stage in a relationship. But actually having kids isn’t always that easy. Becoming pregnant is a struggle for 12% of American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sometimes, certain medical conditions make it difficult. Other times, lifestyle habits may be the root of the complication. Obviously both men and women can have fertility troubles, but for females, here’s what may be amiss.
According to a review on the relationship between obesity and infertility, extra pounds can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle. This can cause irregular periods, inhibit ovulation, and may increase risk of miscarriage. Obesity at a young age can also raise chances of infertility for a woman when she becomes an adult. These complications are likely due to excess insulin and insulin resistance. Shedding a few pounds may be helpful for those who are overweight and have difficulty conceiving.
According to WebMD, the thyroid gland produces and releases hormones to the heart, skin, muscles, and brain. These thyroid hormones are needed for proper metabolism, which also affects your heartbeat, body temperature, and the rate in which you burn calories. When you’re low on these hormones, it causes your metabolism to slow down and may impact fertility. Mayo Clinic says a woman’s ovaries may not release eggs normally when thyroid hormone levels are low, decreasing your chances of becoming pregnant. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
3. Too much exercise
According to Everyday Health, one study involving thousands of women showed those at a healthy weight (a BMI below 25) who exercise vigorously may experience delayed pregnancy. This doesn’t mean you should refrain from physical activity, though. Instead, it’s probably better to stick with moderate aerobic exercise when trying to conceive. More than five hours a week of strenuous exercise like cycling, gymnastics, running, and swimming may lead to infertility.
4. Ovulation issues
Quanita Crable, M.D., explains disrupted ovulation is the most common problem that leads to female infertility. This can be the result of primary ovarian insufficiency, an issue where ovaries stop working before a woman turns 40. Hormonal imbalances because of polycystic ovarian syndrome and the effects of aging can also cause menstruation issues. Speak with a doctor if you suspect your menstrual cycle is out of whack
You probably know smoking is bad for your heart and lungs, but you might not know it can also affect fertility. WebMD says smoking can make the uterus less responsive to receiving an egg. If you’re a regular smoker, you’ll still want to drop the habit after conceiving. It can be harmful for the developing child and may also increase risk of miscarriage.
6. Exposure to chemicals
When we think of chemicals, our minds go to industrial factories, but potentially harmful chemicals are in tons of products we use every day. One study decided to look at the link between chemical exposure and female fertility, finding certain substances (like the kind used to make nonstick pans) can reduce the likelihood of getting pregnant. There’s more research to be done on how much exposure matters, but it’s something to be aware of.