Men who smoke may have reduced semen volume and sperm count and more abnormal spermcompared to non or ex-smokers. Toxins found in tobacco smoke, such as cadmium, nicotine,lead and radioactive elements may be directly toxic as they circulate in the blood and reach thetestes. It is not yet known whether this affects the fertility or health of the children of men whosmoke.^1^Smoking during pregnancy and exposing the infant to tobacco smoke in the first year of life isone of the major risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS or cot death).^2^ Over one-quarter of the risk of death due to SIDS is attributable to maternal smoking.^3^So if you are a smoker, now is a great time to stop. You can discuss this with your GP, pharmacist or you can call support organisations like Quit on 137848. You can read more aboutsmoking in pregnancyHERE.
5. Stop alcohol consumption
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) recommends that men drink nomore than four standard drinks per day, with at least two alcohol-free days per week and for women, recommends no drinking at all during pregnancy. This is due to the difficulty inknowing what is a safe level for a pregnant woman to drink.Excessive drinking can result in miscarriage or stillbirth and puts baby at risk of disabilities, behavioural problems and slow growth.
6. Stop taking social drugs
It goes without saying that recreational drug use is harmful to your body, this may also includeyour fertility. Studies suggest that certain drugs may have effects including a reduction spermcount and quality, preventing ovulation, causing abnormalities and an increase in general fertility problems. Some drugs may cause bleeding, miscarriage and low-weight and underdeveloped babies.
7. Visit your pharmacist
If you are taking any medications, check with your pharmacist or GP to see if they are stillappropriate for conception and / or pregnancy. Many medications including over-the-counter painkillers and other drugs are not recommended to take when pregnant or breastfeeding.
8. Healthy eating & exercise
You don’t need to follow a strict regime that’s impossible to keep up with, but aim to be in thehealthy weight range for your body – being underweight or overweight can effect fertility.Being underweight or overweight can result in problems with ovulation. You are also more prone to high blood pressure in pregnancy if you are overweight, which can be dangerous if leftuntreated.