Why am I not getting pregnant?
More and more often we hear from women, or rather couples, who are perfectly healthy, but still do not get pregnant. Yes, trying for a baby with no success can be exhausting for a couple: it requires patience, many attempts & quite often tears are involved as well. However, it is important to remember: Creating new life simply doesn’t always work right away and that’s okay. Nevertheless, desperately trying to conceive for a long time can put an enormous strain on the psyche and, in some cases, even lead to depression. But what are the reasons that some couples are having such a hard time with conception? We did some research and came up with a variety of reasons for you.
Why you’re not getting pregnant? These are possible reasons:
There can be many different reasons why you’re having a hard time getting pregnant and they must always be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, we would like to point out a few factors that can play a huge role if you’re trying for a baby.
Alcohol consumption before pregnancy
Although alcohol is considered a socially accepted ‘stimulant’, it is important to recognize that alcohol indeed belongs in the category of neurotoxins and can therefore be quite harmful. This fact should also be taken into account in regards to the fertility of women and men. In men, excessive alcohol consumption can significantly impair sperm production and motility. In women, excessive alcohol consumption can cause cycle disorders. It is also possible that ovulation will not occur at all.
A negative effect can become noticeable from an amount of 40 grams of alcohol per day. This corresponds to about 1 liter of beer or 0.5 liters of wine.
Drug use before pregnancy
According to research, drug use could very well be a cause of permanent hormonal imbalance in women & men, leading to infertility. In women, this can lead to cycle disorders and even a loss of ovulation. In men, the production of a sufficient number of healthy sperm is crucial for fertility. This process depends on a complex hormonal sequence, which can be disrupted by drugs (not matter if the drugs are chemical or ‘natural’).
Medication & the desire to have children
There are indeed some medications that can affect the fertility of women and men. If you suffer from a chronic illness and have to take medication regularly, you should definitely talk to a trusted professional about whether the active substances contained in the medication could possibly affect your fertility.
Smoking if you want to get pregnant?
We don’t think it needs to be said in 2021, but still: smoking is bad for your health! It also harms fertility and increases the risk of miscarriage. If you want to have children you should get rid of this bad habit. Passive smoke is also best avoided. There is nothing cool or casual about cigarettes. On the contrary, the toxins in active and passive cigarette smoke can lead to the development of various types of cancer, heart and lung problems, and other diseases. Smoking can also be the cause of fertility problems. According to some studies on this topic, it is clear that from 10 cigarettes a day, the ability to conceive is significantly impaired. This does not mean that smoking fewer cigarettes per day does not lead to reduced fertility. What is certain is that at 10 or more cigarettes per day, the risk of developing problems is significantly increased. It has also been shown that for every cigarette smoked per day, it takes longer for the couple to become pregnant. For example, a woman who smokes four cigarettes a day takes more time on average to get pregnant than a woman who smokes two cigarettes a day. Men should also stay away from tobacco smoke because sperm and semen quality are also negatively affected by smoke. In addition, couples who want to have a child should keep in mind that they will (hopefully) soon be in a role model position for their child – so it’s time to get rid of unhealthy habits once and for all!
Using lube when trying to have a baby
Even though lube is fun to use, most lubricants are better avoided if you are trying to have a baby. Many common products contain substances that slow down the movement of sperm, impair their longevity, and can attack their DNA. Not only the ingredients but also the consistency of the products can contribute to this less than desirable effect. Also important: lubricants are not a substitute for a contraceptive. Saliva as a lubricant is also not advisable. The enzymes contained in saliva can denature the proteins in the sperm and lead to sperm loss. These days, there are also special types of lubricants that support conception.
Is your make-up harming your fertility?
There are a number of substances found in numerous beauty products such as make-up, perfume, and nail polish that can harm your fertility or are at least suspected of doing so by contributing to hormone-disrupting effects and disorders of the reproductive system.
– Parabens: methyl, propyl, butyl, isobutyl, ethyl parabens.
Parabens are endocrine disruptors, i.e. they act as phytoestrogens and upset the estrogen balance by blocking the estrogen receptors. In addition, a fertility clinic in Poland found in a study of 315 subjects that men with high levels of parabens in their urine showed abnormally shaped and insufficiently motile sperm.
– Phthalates: dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate
– Petrochemicals and petroleum derivatives: benzene, toluene, propylene, isopropyl alcohol, paraffinum liquidum, petrolatum (petrolatum)
– Preservatives: Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, thiomersal
– Fragrances: limonene, benzyl acetate, dimethyl sulfate
– Varia: Triclosan, Titanium, Zirconium, Triethanolamine (TEA)/ Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA)
Getting pregnant despite stress?
It is scientifically proven by now that severe stress (whether physical or psychological) can lead to massive hormonal imbalances in both women and men. This stress can have various causes: the private environment, the work environment, or the job itself. An unhealthy diet and contact with toxins and harmful chemicals can also be perceived as stress by the body. In men, stress leads to reduced sperm quality.
Poor sperm quality
When a man is said to be unable to conceive, it usually relates to poor sperm quality. Sometimes there are too few sperm in the ejaculate because either the production or the transport of the sperm cells does not function optimally. It is also possible that sperm motility is impaired or that sperm malformations occur. In some men, all three problems can occur at the same time. By the way, age also plays a role in men: the older a man is, the fewer and slower his sperm become.
What are the causes of poor sperm quality?
An unhealthy lifestyle and harmful environmental influences (pollutants, pesticides) can of course damage the fertility of both women and men. However, there are of course gender-specific differences in the purely physical causes.
Basically, only intact and healthy testicular tissue can produce fertile sperm. Numerous factors, some of which may already exist at birth or in infancy, can limit fertility in men. Heat can also damage the testicles. If the temperature in the testicles rises above 32 degrees Celsius, the amount of sperm drops significantly. The transport route may also be disturbed and a blocked or severed spermatic duct prevents the sperm from moving on.
Can sperm quality be improved through nutritional supplements?
Yes, it is possible to positively influence sperm quality by using supplements, but a healthy lifestyle should always come first. A healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise, abstaining from addictive substances, but also a very conscious use of stimulants such as alcohol & caffeine are extremely important.
The right diet for the desire to have children
Let’s be blunt: unfortunately, there is no miracle cure that will get you pregnant right away. However, it is possible to support your body (and that of your partner) in your wish to have a baby through a balanced diet (and, if necessary, by using specific supplements). The most important thing is that your diet should be wholesome, balanced, and healthy. Women should also adjust their diet to their menstrual cycle as much as possible. Gut health also plays a big role. In general, it is of course a complex matter if you struggle to conceive, and each case must be considered individually. A healthy lifestyle – including a healthy diet, of course – is definitely an important factor if you’d like to have a baby. Remember: If the female body is not optimally nourished, the first thing it does is to stop the functions associated with reproduction. In ‘survival mode’ the body does not have the necessary resources for pregnancy.
Nutrition also has a direct influence on the potency of men. In particular on sperm quality. Vitamin C, E, zinc, and folic acid are at least as important for men as they are for women: fewer DNA defects have been found in the sperm of men who have a good supply of these substances.
Getting pregnant if you’re overweight?
Overweight and obesity are also important factors when it comes to wanting to have children, as they are closely linked to fertility. F tissue is not simply excess tissue, but also a hormonally active ‘organ’. Increased fat in the abdominal area leads to the release of numerous hormones and messenger substances, which influence a great many other organ systems. This can significantly limit a woman’s fertility. It can lead to hormonal disorders, irregular cycles, and the absence of ovulation itself. In men, obesity can have a negative effect on sperm production and sperm quality. This of course makes successful fertilization of the egg much more difficult.
Getting pregnant if you’re underweight?
Fertility can also be impaired in the opposite case, i.e. if you are underweight. Women and men with a BMI of less than 18 usually have too little fat tissue to maintain a healthy hormone balance. Women then experience cycle disorders amenorrhea and ovulation often fails to occur. After normalizing their weight and thus their hormone balance, however, these women can often become pregnant relatively quickly.
As with being overweight, being underweight in men can, again, have a negative effect on sperm production and quality.
The best time to get pregnant?
So many women want to get pregnant easily and quickly without stress. Well, it helps to know when the best time is to get pregnant: the fertile phase of the cycle. Studies on the probability of conception within the fertile window have tried to find numbers to answer the question of the greatest probability of conception. Among other things, it could be shown that the duration of the fertile phase in couples with average fertility is not constant at six days, but varies significantly interpersonally (in comparison with other couples) and intrapersonally (in relation to the respective couple, i.e. from cycle to cycle). In subfertile couples, the range of fluctuation is even greater and the fertility window is shorter compared to couples with higher fertility. The length of the fertile phase is also related to the speed with which a woman becomes pregnant. The longer the fertile phase, the more likely it is that a pregnancy will occur.
So when should you have sex to get pregnant?
Is the woman fertile only on one day in the cycle, as is often claimed? Or does the fertile phase of the cycle extend to two or even five days? What’s true? In fact, once the egg is released into the fallopian tube, it can be fertilized for up to 24 hours. So if ovulation has taken place, fertilization can only take place within this window of time. This is why it is so important to be able to estimate the time of ovulation. Strictly speaking, a woman is only fertile at this time. However, nature has cleverly planned a certain margin for getting pregnant. Under ideal conditions, sperm can survive in a woman’s body for up to five days. This extends the fertile phase, which is limited to just 24 hours, to up to six days. This means that taking sperm viability into account, the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation (due to the viability of the egg) can be defined as the woman’s fertile days. Unprotected sexual intercourse within this period is significantly more likely to result in conception than on other days of the female cycle.