getting pregnant

It's well known that men should don boxer shorts instead of tight pants to keep sperm counts up, but did you know that skinny jeans can cause women trouble, too?

A report in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has suggested tight-fitting jeans can cause problems for women while they may look great, they can also increase the risk of endometriosis, which can cause serious fertility issues – so if you're thinking about having a bub, ditch those tight jeans!

If you're serious about having a bub, here are a list of other things to do at least three months before you start having baby-making sex.

Get a check-up

  • Go and have a full medical, which should include blood pressure, papsmear update and a breast exam.
  • It's also good to get your urine checked for protein and glucose.
  • If you're concerned about abnormal discharge, speak to the GP: you'll need to get any genito-urinary tract infections treated.
  • Most Australian girls are vaccinated for rubella (German measles) in their teenage years but this doesn't give lifetime immunisation, so you may be no longer immune. Ask your GP to check your immunity.
  • If you're being treated for chronic conditions, talk to your GP you may have to start taking alternative medication.

Sexual health check

  • Have an STI check. Chlamydia, a symptomless sexually transmitted disease, is one of the most common STDs and is thought to be responsible for causing up to 70% of pelvic inflammatory disease, a major cause of infertility.

Sexually transmitted diseases can also affect ovulation, and if you manage to get pregnant, infections can cause miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

Both of you should be checked. Recent research has found chlamydia-type organisms can stop sperm from penetrating the egg. Other infections can also cause blockage of the ducts in the testes and affect sperm production.

Stress check

  • Anna Furse, author of The Infertility Companion, says, "Reproductive hormones can be affected by anxiety hormones." So relax!
  • Expressing emotion can reduce stress and improve fertility in men as well as women. A UK study looked at a group of men able to have children and a group who had difficulty: those able to have children said they expressed their emotions when dealing with stress, compared to the men who bottled it up and had trouble impregnating their partners.

Hazards

Watch out for the following workplace hazards when you're trying for a baby:

  • Industrial chemicals such as lead and arsenic
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Soldering or other work involving rubber
  • Anaesthetic gases
  • Dry-cleaning fluids
  • Sheep dipping or contact with dipped sheep
  • Contact with agricultural sprays.

Try to avoid these environmental pollutants when you're trying to fall pregnant:

  • Car exhaust fumes – wear a mask if you ride a bike in high-traffic areas
  • Don't burn waste, especially newspaper, magazines or plastics
  • Use a water filter
  • Try to choose organic food, and make sure you wash and peel all fruit and vegetables.