Increasing Your Chances Of A Pregnancy

On this page:

  1. Don't Smoke or Take Any Recreational Drugs.
  2. Eat A Healthy And Balanced Diet.
  3. Drink No More Than 2 Cups Of Coffee Per Day.
  4. Avoid Alcohol In Females.
  5. Females Should Take Folic Acid Daily (0.5mg).
  6. Exercise During The Day.
  7. Maintain A Healthy Weight.
  8. Avoid Excessive Exposure To Environmental Pollutants And Chemicals.
  9. Regular Sexual Intercourse.
  10. Find Out More.

Don't Smoke Or Take Any Recreational Drugs

Smoking and taking recreational drugs such as Marijuana is not only bad for your general health, but also decreases your chance of becoming pregnant.

Smoking negatively affects male and female fertility.

Smoking can damage genetic material in the sperm, resulting in reduced fertilisation and poorer quality embryos.

Smoking also negatively affects the quality of eggs. In addition to this, smoking and drugs also increase the risk of pregnancy complications.

If you smoke and need help to quit:

  1. Get advice from your GP.
  2. Visit the Quit Now website.
  3. Call the Quit Line helpline on 137848.

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Eat A Healthy And Balanced Diet

A healthy balanced diet with low fat intake, plenty of fruit and vegetables, antioxidants and an adequate vitamin balance all contribute to good reproductive health.

For further information, please go to either:

  1. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s - Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013).
  2. Nutrition Professionals Australia.
  3. Government of South Australia, SA Health, Healthy Living.

In addition, Flinders Fertility recommends the following free publications that can be downloaded or ordered through the Government of South Australia, SA Health web site:

  1. Your Guide to a Healthier Today.  The guide gives you a 14 day guide to taking your first steps to eating healthy food, being active, and feeling great.
  2. Healthy Food Fast cookbook full of delicious healthy recipes.

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Drink No More Than 2 Cups Of Coffee Per Day

High levels of caffeine may affect fertility and increase the likelihood of pregnancy complications.  For further information, please go to the “Your Fertility” website.

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Avoid Alcohol In Females

Alcohol may increase the time it takes to become pregnant and affect the developing baby, and in males, alcohol may affect the sperm. Males should not have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day.

For further information, please go to the "National Health and Medical Research Council" web page titled - Alcohol guidelines: reducing the health risks and “Your Fertility”.

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Females Should Take Folic Acid Daily (0.5mg)

Commencing 1 month prior to possible pregnancy and continuing for the first 3 months of pregnancy, we recommend a 0.5mg daily intake of folic acid. This reduces the risk of Neural Tube Defect, such as Spina Bifida. Folic acid is available at pharmacies and health shop foods.

For further information, please go to the "National Health and Medical Research Council publication - Encouraging periconceptional use of folic acid supplements" web page.

We recommend a daily Iodine supplement (150mcg) when trying to conceive.  Iodine is essential for normal development of a baby and the Australian diet is generally low in this essential mineral.

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Exercise During The Day

Regular moderate exercise can contribute to good reproductive health and help reduce stress. We recommend exercise at a moderate level that makes you slightly breathless but still allows you to talk.

For further information, please view or down load the "Department of Health and Ageing’s - National Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults" brochure.

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Maintain A Healthy Weight

Being over or under a healthy weight can affect fertility, decreasing the chance of conceiving a healthy pregnancy and increasing the chance of a miscarriage and pregnancy complications.

Focus on becoming fitter if you are overweight as losing a small amount of weight, even as little as 5kg, has been shown to improve fertility. For men, being overweight can also affect sperm quality.

Your weight is healthy if your Body Mass Index (“BMI”) is between 20 and 25. Women whose BMI is more than 29 (obese) or under 19 (underweight) may have problems conceiving. If your partner’s BMI is more than 29, his fertility is likely to be lower than normal.

To work out your BMI:

  1. divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in metres (m),
  2. then divide the answer by your height again, to get your BMI.

For more information please go to our "Wellbeing And Fitness for Fertility  (“WAFF”)" page or  the “Your Fertility” website.

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Avoid Excessive Exposure To Environmental Pollutants And Chemicals

While there is some evidence that exposure to some chemicals and pollutants can affect fertility, it is not always possible to avoid exposure. Please consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

Pages 71 and 72 of the following publication provides a summary of research on occupational agents and their effects on male and female fertility:
National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health.  Fertility: assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems (update),  Draft for stakeholder consultation – May 2012 (pdf 6.17MB).

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Regular Sexual Intercourse

Ovulation normally occurs 14 days prior to the onset of menstruation, and in a 28 day menstrual cycle, ovulation usually occurs between days 12 and 14. Alternate day intercourse is recommended from day 8 to 16 as sperm can survive up to 5 days and the egg can still be fertilised up to 12 hours after ovulation.

For further information, please go to the “Your Fertility” website.

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Find Out More

At Flinders Fertility we recognise that a website may not cover all your information requirements.  That's why we offer a number of information options. So, if you want to find out more about increasing your chances of a pregnancy, either:

  1. Call on 131 IVF (131 483) to talk to one of our Fertility Specialists.
  2. Email us at
  3. Seek a referral to Flinders Fertility from your Doctor.

If you require the aid of an interpreter please let us know, as well as any specific regional dialect that you may require.

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