Smoking should be avoided during pregnancy as it may result in an increased risk of premature labor, intrauterine growth retardation as well as other complications. Studies have shown that smoking can decrease fertility by 30%. We strongly feel that if you smoke, you must stop.
Heavy alcohol intake can impair both male and female fertility. An occasional drink has not been shown to be detrimental; however, once pregnancy is established, alcohol intake should stop because of the effects it can have on the developing baby. No amount of alcohol intake has been determined to be safe in pregnancy.
Several studies have demonstrated that an increase in caffeine intake may decrease the chance of conceiving. We recommend limiting caffeine intake to 100 mg per day. One cup of coffee contains 100 mg caffeine.
It is highly recommended to completely stop recreational drug use while attempting to conceive and during pregnancy in order to maximize fertility and conception success.
Several studies have indicated that folic acid supplementation can significantly reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects in infants. We encourage all women attempting to get pregnant to take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily. This is usually present in an over-the-counter daily prenatal vitamin. Too much folic acid can mask some other diseases, so a regular prenatal vitamin is usually enough unless there is an indication for you to take more. Ask your doctor which prenatal is right for you.
Omega-3 Fatty acids are also recommended for pregnancy. Recent research suggests that they may benefit visual and cerebral development. We recommend brands that use pharmaceutical grade materials and are tested for heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Some over-the-counter fish oil products contain high concentrations of vitamin A-like compounds, which may cause birth defects.
Research suggests that low-dose aspirin may be beneficial in increasing the circulation around the ovaries and the uterus, which could help stimulation of the lining of the uterus and implantation. Low-dose aspirin may also help prevent the microscopic formation of blood clots at the placenta that may increase the chance of a miscarriage. Speak to your doctor before starting aspirin therapy to see if it is right for you.
There is also evidence that excessive intake of vitamin A may increase the chance of birth defects. Therefore, we recommend taking only prenatal vitamins as instructed by your physician.
Routine Gynecologic Care
During your fertility treatment, it is important for you to continue routine follow-up with your gynecologist or primary care physician. This includes a yearly blood pressure check, physical examination, Pap smear, and baseline mammogram for women 40 years of age and older.