In part one of this series, I wrote about some things that women should avoid if they want to optimize their chances of conception. Now in part two, I’d like to review some things people routinely stop, even though they don’t have to.
1. Caffeine Caffeine has never been shown to interfere with conception, and there is no biochemical reason why it should. Caffeine is actually an antioxidant and might theoretically be beneficial. The bottom line for now is drink up, but not to excess.
2. Alcohol Alcohol is one of the first things to go when a woman is trying to conceive. And it’s not a good idea to imbibe once you could actually be pregnant. But in the two weeks prior to ovulation, recent studies suggest that fewer than 4 drinks per week are fine.
3. Antidepressants Antidepressants in pregnancy and conception are a complex issue that requires coordination between your infertility doctor, your obstetrician, and your psychiatrist. While some antidepressants have been shown to cause an increase in certain rare birth defects, these particular diseases remain rare. The short answer is, check with your doctors, and if you haven’t seen a psychiatrist for your antidepressants, make an appointment with one to plan your treatment once you get pregnant. In the meanwhile, continue your current medication. The problems are worse if you stop a necessary medication too abruptly than if you continue it for a couple of weeks.
4. Exercise Except immediately after IVF, exercise is actually encouraged among fertility patients. Benefits of exercise include stress relief, weight loss, and improved stamina for pregnancy and even easier labor. While we wouldn’t advise training for a marathon during fertility treatment and subsequent pregnancy, moderate exercise such as walking, dancing, yoga, and swimming are all fine. Swimming is okay as early as a day or 2 after ovulation, because you make a mucus plug that protects anything that’s happening in the uterus.
5. Fish A recent study presented the reassuring findings that there has been no evidence of mecury poisoning ever occurring in a baby as a result of the mother eating fish. Fish is good in pregnancy, and the fish oils help to develop the fetal brain. If you are still leery, you can check the safe fish list at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm082539.htm
6. Vaccinations I’ve written about this in the past.
In short, only 2 common vaccinations can’t be given in pregnancy: MMR and varicella. 2 vaccines are actually recommended in pregnancy: Tdap and influenza. So go ahead with those, and stay well during your pregnancy!
Next: Part 3 Suprising things for him to avoid when you’re trying to conceive.