You and your partner have decided the time has come to have a baby. What an exciting time!  It’s easy to get ahead of yourself, thinking about what to buy and who, out of the two of you, your little one will look like.  But before you start decorating the nursery and purchasing baby clothes, there are some things you should be thinking about first.

If you are planning a pregnancy you have the opportunity to be on top of your health as well as the health of your unborn child ahead of time. Here are the top things to avoid when trying to conceive:


This is a great time to finally quit this nasty habit. Smoking while pregnant has been proven to lead to premature birth, low birth weight and even stillbirth.  The same can be said for doing illegal drugs such as smoking marijuana. Marijuana and tobacco can both have a negative effect a woman’s fertility and on a man’s sperm count and quality.


Both future Moms and Dads should avoid drinking alcohol while trying to conceive. For the mom-to-be, the consumption of alcohol while pregnant can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS),  which can lead to physical and mental defects.  Alcohol can also halt your ability to conceive and has the potential to cause miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and impaired fetal growth. In men, alcohol can interfere with sperm development by raising estrogen levels and affecting liver function.


While experts agree that low to moderate caffeine consumption (300mg a day or three cups of coffee) shouldn’t affect your fertility, it is still wise to cut down on your usual cup of joe as the research still isn’t conclusive.

Hot tubs and saunas

Men should especially avoid sitting in hot tubs and saunas when trying to conceive. The reason for this is because testicles are especially sensitive to heat and need a cooler environment to produce healthy sperm.  For women hot tubs and saunas aren’t necessarily a concern while trying to conceive but the heat in early pregnancy can have negative effects such as birth defects and miscarriage.

Tight underwear

For men, wearing those “tighty whities” can have a negative effect on their sperm count. The reason for this is because wearing tight clothing holds the organs that produce the sperm closer to the body, in turn increasing their temperature and potentially decreasing production.

Obvious and Not-so-obvious Toxins

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that X –rays and household products with strong fumes (like cleaners and oil-based paints) could affect your fertility and your baby.  However, you might be surprised to hear that your cat’s litter box should be avoided by potential Moms because of the risk of toxoplasmosis.


While the research isn’t conclusive on why stress affects fertility, the power of the mind has been known to create problems among women who are trying to conceive. If you find you are stressed or depressed, this is the best time to improve yourself mentally. Try such stress reducing techniques as meditation or yoga, or seek the assistance of a professional.

Getting pregnant doesn’t always come as easily as you may want it to.  Many people don’t conceive on their first try but while you are trying it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get your body ready for your future child.