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Keeping Health and Lifestyles in Check Aids Couples' Ability to Conceive

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When it comes to trying to conceive, there are some simple things that both men and women can do to boost their fertility. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

When trying to conceive, most people think timing is everything, but there's actually a lot more to it.

"The first thing you need to think about is optimizing your health," says Dr. Kecia Gaither of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. "See your doctor. Make sure that if you have any type of pre-existing conditions, they're optimized."

Yes, if you're thinking about having a baby, both men and women first need to make sure that their health and lifestyles are in check. There are a lot of factors that come into to play with fertility for both genders, and NY1 asked Gaither, an OBGYN, and Dr. Marc Goldstein, an infertility specialist, for some tips.

First, stress has a huge impact on fertility.

"Basically, what stress does, it interferes with your hormonal levels, your egg production," Gaither says. "So anything that you can possibly do to reduce your stress is important."

So, be conscious of things that can increase your stress levels, like lack of sleep and exercise, and try to increase both.

Also, a well-balanced diet is key. You want to have good levels of iron, vitamin C and vitamin D, and women should start taking folic acid.

For men, you need to be aware that heat can suppress sperm count.

"Don't take long, hot baths. Don't take saunas," Goldstein says. "Don't take Jacuzzis or steam rooms on a regular basis. Don't wear tight plastic underwear or Mick Jagger pants on a regular basis. Avoid cellphone radiation near your testicles. Don't keep a hot laptop on your lap."

Also, avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol. All have been shown to have negative effects in men and women.

Then, consider timing.

"A lot of couples think that they need to save up sperm and have relations only every two or three days before they think the wife is going to be fertile," Goldstein says. "In fact, for couples where the male is basically normal, frequent relations actually results in better sperm quality and a better chance of getting pregnant. Have relations every day, beginning two or three days before the woman's going to ovulate.

Depending on age, both doctors say in general, healthy couples should give it six months to a year to try and conceive. After that, you should see a specialist.

So if you're ready for the pitter-patter of little feet, make sure you conceive a plan for your health first.

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