Preparing for pregnancy is important for both men and women. In fact the best chance of falling pregnant and having a healthy baby comes when both partners take steps to optimise their health before conception.

Here’s a few things you can do to improve fertility and increase your chances of having a healthy baby:

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking affects your fertility, and can affect the fertility of your partner if you smoke around her.  Smoking in the three months before conception can also damage the DNA of your sperm which can affect your child’s health, including increasing their risk of childhood leukaemia.
  • Limit alcohol. Heavy drinking reduces male fertility and can affect sperm quality. So if you’re trying to conceive stick to the safe drinking guidelines, which means no more than 2 standard drinks per day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can affect fertility and sperm quality.  If you’re carrying extra weight, losing weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise may help to improve fertility.
  • Keep them cool! If your testes get hot this can reduce sperm production so when you’re trying to conceive avoid hot baths, spas, saunas and sitting with your computer on your lap.  And while there’s no strong evidence to suggest tight underwear is a problem, wearing boxer shorts can help to keep things cool down there.
  • Avoid drug taking. Anabolic steroids used in body building can cause your testicles to shrink and can reduce sperm production. And many recreational drugs have been shown to affect fertility.
  • Get checked for STIs. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can affect your fertility and that of your partner and they don’t always have obvious symptoms. If you’ve had an STI in the past, or you think you might be at risk of having an STI, tell your doctor so that you can decide together whether to be tested. STIs can be treated before you and your partner try to conceive.

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