Fertility tips to get pregnant, stay pregnant


It's all about bottles, toys and boys for first-time mom Laurie Elpers. Even though her time is divided by two, she has one word to describe life after twins - busy.

Elpers thought this may never happen. She and her husband tried everything to get pregnant - she even suffered one miscarriage.

"Twenty-five percent of pregnancies at least end in miscarriage and the risk of miscarriage increases with age," said Dr. Sanjay Agarwal with the Department of Reproductive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

A woman is most fertile between ages 20 and 24. A healthy 30-year-old has a 20-percent chance a month to get pregnant. By 35, the quality of eggs begins to decline significantly.

"Women, for example, that are over 40 have a one in three chance of miscarriage or 30 percent or more higher chance of pregnancy loss," explained Agarwal.

Pregnancies conceived with older eggs have up to a thousand times higher risk of having chromosomal abnormalities which can lead to Down syndrome. Once you know your risks, there are four fertility game-changers to boost your chances of getting and staying pregnant.

1. Calories count: A recent study found it took women twice as long to get pregnant when they had a pre-pregnancy body mass index of 25-39. Foods that help fertility include protein rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and beans.

2. Cut back on caffeine: A report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who drank two cups of coffee a day were twice as likely to miscarry than those who didn't drink any.

3. No cigarettes: Not only does smoking damage a woman's eggs, they also cause ovaries to age. That means the ovaries of a 35-year-old smoker function as if they belong to a 42-year-old.

4. Men need to watch where they put their cellphones: Cleveland Clinic researchers found that sperm exposed to radiofrequency waves from cellphones in a man's pocket were damaged.

Here's another tip. You can protect your fertility by using birth control pills. Some doctors believe the pill, which stops ovulation, quiets down the reproductive system and actually protects your ovaries from aging.

As for Elpers, Agarwal was able to help with in vitro fertilization.

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