Five lifestyle changes to make to increase your chances of falling pregnant

If you are trying for a baby, it is worth considering making some changes to your lifestyle to help increase your chances of falling pregnant.

Dr Ellie Rayner, obstetrician, gynaecologist, and the founder of The Maternity Collective, has given us advice on the five best ways to overhaul your lifestyle to help with fertility.

Stop smoking

"Smoking causes fertility problems in both men and women and stopping smoking can reverse any damage," she warns. "Stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your long-term health and it one of the most important things you can do to improve your future baby’s health, growth and development. Ideally, stop smoking at least four months before becoming pregnant for maximum benefit, but any reduction, even during pregnancy, will be beneficial for you and your future baby’s wellbeing."

Eat a balanced diet

"Being overweight can affect your fertility, cause additional health problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriage or pregnancy diabetes, and even affect the future health of your child," she explains. "Try and eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid ready-prepared or processed food where possible. If you can bring your BMI (body mass index) down even by one or two points before and when trying to conceive this can make a big difference."

Avoid alcohol

"Drinking alcohol can affect both male and female fertility and when you drink whilst pregnant, alcohol passes through your blood to your baby via the placenta and can cause developmental problems," the expert warns. "Doctors are still unsure how much alcohol is safe to consume so the general advice is if you are considering pregnancy, or trying to conceive, avoid drinking alcohol."

Stop any recreational drug use

"Using illegal or recreational drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine and other drugs such as ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines may contribute to fertility problems. In women, heavy cannabis use can cause hormone imbalance so women who use it are likely to have problems getting pregnant," Dr Rayner says.

Undertake regular exercise

"Exercising, and being active regularly, can boost your fertility and will help you have a healthier pregnancy and birth. If you don’t exercise very much currently, you can still start now with 15 minutes 3-4 times a week and increase gradually as you feel able," she recommends.