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Increase Your Fertility by Breaking These 8 Bad Habits

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Updated June 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Bad Habit to Break to Increase Fertility: Unsafe Sex
Protect your fertility (and your overall health) by practicing safe sex.

Protect your fertility (and your overall health) by practicing safe sex.

Photo © User LotusHead from Stock.xchng

The Bad Habit to Break to Increase Fertility:

Unsafe sex. To be more specific, sex without condoms if you are not in a long-term monogamous relationship.

Why It's Bad for Your Fertility Health:

Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to infertility. In fact, STDs are the number one preventable cause of infertility.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea, if left untreated, may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause infertility in women, usually by causing blocked fallopian tubes.

STDs can also lead to infertility in men, though it less commonly happens. This is because men typically show symptoms of STDs right away, and they can get treatment.

Women, on the other hand, may harbor an infection for a long time without any symptoms. In the meantime, the infection is wreaking havoc with their reproductive system.

Some STDs, including syphilis and herpes, can endanger a pregnancy or the baby at birth. In the worst case scenario, these STDs can lead to miscarriage or infant death.

What to Do About It:

Use condoms. Hormonal birth control methods may prevent pregnancy, but they don't prevent you from getting an STD.

The Bottom Line on Bad Habits:

Bad habits aren't easy to break, and it's easy to feel frustrated and give up before you start. However, each step towards healthier habits makes a difference.

Keep trying, get the support you need, and commit yourself to living a healthier life. Consider working on one habit today, and breaking things into tiny goals. It's worth the effort. You can do it!

Sources:

Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy. March of Dimes. Accessed August 3, 2008. http://www.marchofdimes.com/Pregnancy/alcohol_indepth.html

Hammoud AO, Wilde N, Gibson M, Parks A, Carrell DT, Meikle AW. "Male obesity and alteration in sperm parameters." Fertility and Sterility. January 4th, 2007. Epub ahead of print.

Jan Willem van der Steeg, Pieternel Steures, Marinus J.C. Eijkemans, J. Dik F. Habbema, Peter G.A. Hompes, Jan M. Burggraaff, G. Jur E. Oosterhuis, Patrick M.M. Bossuyt, Fulco van der Veen and Ben W.J. Mol. "Obesity affects spontaneous pregnancy chances in subfertile, ovulatory women." Human Reproduction Advanced Access. December 11, 2007.

Labyak, Susan; Lava, Susan; Turek, Fred; Zee, Phyllis. "Effects of Shiftwork On Sleep and Menstrual Function in Nurses." Health Care for Women International. September 2002; 23:6 & 7: 703-14.

Klonoff-Cohen H, Lam-Kruglick P, Gonzalez C. "Effects of maternal and paternal alcohol consumption on the success rates of in vitro fertilization and gamete intrafallopian transfer." Fertility and Sterility. February 2003; 79(2):330-9.

Mauri M. "Sleep and the reproductive cycle: a review." Health Care for Women International. 1990;11(4):409-21.

Olek, Michael J., Gibbons, William E. "Optimizing natural fertility in couples planning pregnancy." UpToDate. Accessed: September 2009.

STDs and Infertility. Center for Disease Control. Accessed December 19, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/std/infertility/default.htm

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