You know the obvious things that everyone tells you to do when you’re TTC—quitting smoking, eating well, getting exercise, and nixing alcohol—but what about things you can do to boost your chances? Sometimes, the little things that no one tells you about can make all the difference in your journey to a baby.
According to infertility specialist Inna Berin, there is research that indicates that vaginal lubricants could cause damage to sperm and prohibit their ability to travel to the uterus.1 Further research shows that while some lubricants are labeled as being sperm-friendly, they still may slightly inhibit sperm function. Pre-Seed lubricant was discovered as leading to a significantly higher sperm vitality than all other lubricants tested in the study.2 However the sperm viability is still a bit lower than it would be without lubricant.
Say No to Hot Baths—for You & Your Partner.
As much as you could use the luxurious relaxation of a hot bath, it’s probably not a great idea while you’re actively TTC. There is evidence that significantly raising the body temperature through hot baths during the early stages of pregnancy could lead to birth defects. Dr. De-Kun Li, research scientist in reproductive and prenatal epidemiology at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California, conducted a study that established a link between hot baths and miscarriage. Based on the study’s findings, elevated temperatures from external heat sources could pose a risk for hyperthermia—a condition that has negative affects to which babies are especially vulnerable.3 Remember that during the period when you are waiting to take your pregnancy test you might not know if you are pregnant or not. It has also been proven that repeated exposure to high water temperature can lead to male infertility, so tell your boyfriend or husband to avoid it as well.
Cut Back on Caffeine
Women who are TTC may also want to limit their caffeine intake. While it’s still unclear whether caffeine has a direct connection to fertility, experts recommend limiting consumption to between 200 milligrams per day while TTC, or about one and a half 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee. 4
Let Your Natural Hair Color Shine
While experts still debate the risks of hair coloring during pregnancy, it may be best to avoid chemically treating your hair while TTC, and holding off until at least the second trimester. Although research has been limited, it shows that permanent hair dyes are typically not highly toxic, and that very small amounts of dye are absorbed by the skin. Still, because research is minimal, women who are TTC may want to consider waiting until the second or third trimester, avoiding hair coloring altogether, or using a natural alternative such as a pure vegetable dye.5 If you are unsure about any other questionable habits or behaviors and the impacts they might have on your fertility or the health of your baby, consult your physician before partaking in any such activities to be safe.
- Berin, Inna. (2015 February) Does using a lubricant inhibit conception? Retrieved November 02, 2015 from http://www.babycenter.com/404_does-using-a-lubricant-inhibit-conception_7098.bc ↩
- Mowat, A., Newton, C. Boothroyd, C., Demmers, K., & Fleming, S. (2014 March 31). The effects of vaginal lubricants on sperm function: an in vitro analysis Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 333-339. Retrieved November 02, 2015 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3947082/ ↩
- Li, D., Janevic, T., Odouli, R., & Liu, L. (2003 April 3). Hot Tub Use during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage. Oxford Journals 158 (10). Retrieved November 02, 2015 from http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/10/931.full ↩
- March of Dimes Foundation. (2015 October). “Caffeine in Pregnancy.” Retrieved November 02, 2015, from http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/caffeine-in-pregnancy.aspx. ↩
- American Pregnancy Association (2014 July). Hair Treatment During Pregnancy. Retrieved November 02, 2015 from http://americanpregnancy.org/is-it-safe/hair-treatments-during-pregnancy/ ↩