If you’re trying to become pregnant naturally or via assisted conception methods and it’s not happening as quickly as you had hoped, I want to ask you something.
Are you and/or your partner drinking any alcohol while trying to become pregnant?
If you are, have you thought about giving up alcohol in the preconception period to help you become pregnant more quickly or easily?
Easier said than done right. Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. Approximately 43% of adults around the world consume alcohol with about 3.3 million deaths occurring each year resulting from harmful alcohol use.
However ditching alcohol could boost your fertility.
Alcohol and health and fertility
Excessive alcohol can lead to the following health conditions:
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract
- Cancer including breast, mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver and colon
When it comes to fertility alcohol is linked to miscarriage, affects hormone production, reduces your partner’s sperm quality, diminishes your ovarian reserve (number or quantity of eggs you have) and reduces the success of IVF/ART.
How alcohol impacts female fertility
When it comes to female fertility, alcohol disrupts the ability of your ovaries, adrenal glands and liver to metabolize hormones which can result in ovulation problems. Alcohol reduces both ovarian reserve (the number of eggs you have), as well as egg quality, decreasing your chance of becoming pregnant.
Consuming just 2 alcoholic drinks each week if you are pregnant in the first trimester increases your risk of miscarriage by 66%.
When it comes to IVF, alcohol consumption increase the chances of IVF failing by twofold. So, if a minimum 3 to 5 IVF cycles are what is usually required for a women to become pregnant via IVF, then drinking alcohol increases the odds to 6 to 10 IVF cycles.
How alcohol impacts male fertility
When it comes to male fertility and sperm health, alcohol alters reproductive hormone levels and subsequently interferes with the production of sperm. It causes oxidative damage in the testes and epididymis causing damage to the sperm’s DNA.
ANY amount of alcohol has a detrimental effect on semen volume and the size and shape of sperm which compromises male fertility.
How alcohol impacts your developing baby
Even if your baby survives being exposed to alcohol while in your womb, it could still cause some disabilities including:
- Physical deformities
- Bone and/or joint problems
- Facial abnormalities
- Delayed development
- Learning disabilities
- Speech impairment
- Antisocial behavior
- Hearing loss
- Vision issues
- Congenital heart disease
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders are physical, developmental and cognitive problems in babies caused by excessive maternal and paternal consumption of alcohol. It happens because alcohol not only crosses the blood brain barrier to negatively impact brain development, it also passes from the mother to the baby, impacting the development of the baby’s organs. In male babies, it impairs sperm production, morphology and motility, resulting in infertility in adulthood.
What you can do to boost your fertility
When it comes to alcohol consumption and trying to become pregnant there really isn’t a safe level of alcohol consumption.
Ideally neither your or your partner should be drinking alcohol leading up to and when trying to become pregnant for a minimum of 120 days before a conception attempt. This is because alcohol has a teratogenic effect (a teratogen is an agent or factor which causes malformation of an embryo), on your developing embryo and a damaging effect on both your egg and his sperm.
If you want to boost your fertility and decrease the risk of miscarriage, as well as giving yourself the best chance of becoming and staying pregnant, then ideally both of you give up alcohol while you’re trying to become pregnant.
For more information on natural fertility and diet and lifestyle changes to boost your fertility follow my blog below.
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