New Year, New Luck: Six tips to achieve pregnancy

Start your fertility journey

After a reflective Christmas period and the turn of the year, many couples focus on their desire to have children as they look ahead to the new year 2022. With regular sexual intercourse, couples need about one year to become pregnant. A successful pregnancy is closely linked to the couple's lifestyle. In keeping with the New Year and the resolutions that go with it, even simple tips can help you on your way to having the child you've longed for.

In Austria, every fourth couple is affected by involuntary childlessness: A fulfilled desire to have children is happiness in life, but an unfulfilled desire can be a great burden. The causes are very diverse and affect both partners to the same extent. To turn the wish into reality, Prof. Dr. Heinz Strohmer recommends six tips for happy news in the new year.

"The issue of fertility does not start with treatment, but much earlier. Women's fertility already starts to decline from the age of 33. Many couples wait far too long before seeking help," explains Univ. Prof. Dr. Strohmer, "In addition to medical clarification, one's own lifestyle also plays a decisive role: factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol, stress, lack of sleep or an unhealthy diet can have a negative impact on fertility."

#1 With a balanced diet to pregnancy

A balanced and healthy diet with several portions of fruit and vegetables is the basis for increasing fertility in women and men and can significantly promote the onset of pregnancy. The intake of vitamins (C, E, A, B), micronutrients (iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium) and folic acid is particularly recommended. Furthermore, if you wish to have a child, make sure you drink enough fluids (water, unsweetened tea) - the consumption of caffeine and sugary soft drinks should be reduced. 

#2 New Year's resolution: It pays off to become a non-smoker

It has long been known that smoking can reduce fertility in women. The implantation of the fertilized egg is made considerably more difficult by the toxins in the bloodstream. Among other things, smoking impairs the development of the egg cells as well as hormone production. For this reason, smokers are far less fertile than non-smokers. The chance of conception is reduced by up to 50 percent, and at the same time the probability of miscarriage is significantly increased. Not smoking also plays a major role for men, especially in view of the current figures of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in connection with the quality of seminal fluid: 50 years ago, the average per millilitre of ejaculate was 100 million sperm cells - today it is only between 20 and 6 million. Find out more here.

"During fertility treatment in smokers with in vitro fertilisation (IVF), about 45 per cent fewer eggs are retrieved and usually twice as many IVF attempts have to be carried out," says Strohmer, "We therefore recommend quitting smoking early, as it often takes months to achieve an improvement in fertility."

#3 Moderate Alcohol consumption please

Alcohol has a negative impact on fertility for both women and men. The time until pregnancy occurs is significantly prolonged and the risk of miscarriage increases drastically. A negative influence already exists with one or more alcoholic drinks per day or seven alcoholic drinks per week. "From the onset of pregnancy, alcohol should be avoided completely, as consumption can lead to severe malformations or even a miscarriage," warns the fertility expert.

#4 Stress-free into the new year

Stress arises from special events or challenges in our lives that have a negative impact on our quality of life. If there is an unfulfilled desire to have a child for a long time, this means an extraordinary burden for the affected couples. The resulting chronic stress can have a negative impact on treatment. Numerous studies show: The greater the stress, the lower the chances of successful treatment. Stress can be counteracted with various relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or music for mind and soul. For existing infertile couples at the Kinderwunschzentrum an der Wien, our psychotherapist Eveline Leitl also offers some free services.

#5 Fit and well-rested for the new happiness

Studies show that women who do light, moderate exercise have improved insulin function and an improved hormone profile. Women who do not exercise or are overweight have much worse results. An elevated BMI (>25) before pregnancy indicates a greatly increased risk for gestational diabetes and for all blood pressure-associated diseases, such as elevated blood pressure or kidney problems. 

A regular sleep rhythm is also important for hormonal regulation as well as the basis of our well-being. Combined with regular exercise, this can have a positive effect on the onset of pregnancy. Special exercise methods, such as the Aviva Method, which positively influences a woman's hormone balance, or Luna Yoga, not only support treatment, but also promote the reduction of stress and mood swings.
"We recommend that couples who want to have children start thinking about family planning at an early stage and develop an awareness of their own bodies. A healthy lifestyle can significantly support the path for the future fertility journey," says Strohmer. 

#6 Schedule vaccinations in good time

Especially in the time before pregnancy, it is important to bring one's own vaccination record up to date in order to protect mother and child. Univ. Prof. Dr. Strohmer recommends timely vaccination planning for those who wish to have children and are pregnant. In addition to vaccinations against influenza or tetanus, the expert also clearly advocates a Corona vaccination during and before pregnancy. The booster vaccination should take place as soon as possible, as a corona disease endangers mother and child. You can find more about this here.