How can I prevent infertility

From Audiopedia - Accessible Learning for All
Jump to: navigation, search
QR for this page

Try not to worry if you do not get pregnant right away: Many couples get pregnant within a year if they continue to have sex during the woman's fertile days.

Avoid contaminated air, food, or water caused by dangerous pesticides or toxic chemicals used in factories and farms: Pesticides and other harmful chemicals can hurt a man's sperm while he works and if the woman washes his clothes, the harmful chemicals are passed on to her.

Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, or drinking alcohol or coffee: Women who smoke or chew tobacco, or who drink a lot of alcohol or coffee may take longer to become pregnant or have more miscarriages. Men who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol or coffee make fewer sperm, and these are often damaged or weak.

Avoid high temperatures: A man’s sperm need to stay cool. That is why the testicles hang in the scrotum outside a man’s body. When the testicles get too warm they can stop making healthy sperm. For example, this can happen if a man wears tight clothes that press his testicles up inside his body, or if he takes a hot bath, or works near hot things such as boilers, furnaces, or the hot engine of a long-distance truck— especially if he drives for many hours without a break. Once the testicles become cool, they start making healthy sperm again.

Do not use any medicines: Some medicines can hurt fertility. The best choice is for you and your partner not to use any medicines while you are trying to become pregnant. If you must use medicines because of illness, talk to a health worker and tell her you are trying to get pregnant.

Try to have sex during your fertile time: Although a man makes millions of sperm every day, a healthy woman releases only one egg a month. This is called her fertile time—the only time during the month when she can get pregnant. For most women their fertile time starts about 10 days after the first day of the monthly bleeding and lasts about 6 days. The body has several signs that tell you when you are in a fertile time. The easiest signs to check are the changes in the mucus in your vagina.

When you have sex: The best positions for getting the sperm close to the opening of your womb are:

  • to lie on your back with the man on top.
  • to lie on your side.

Then, after having sex, lie flat on your back for about 20 minutes. This will help the sperm swim into your womb and find the egg.

Do not use oils or creams during sex: They can kill the sperm or stop it from reaching the egg.

Do not douche or wash inside your vagina: Douching before or after sex can change the wetness inside your vagina, making it harder for the sperm to live.

Treat any health problems: Both you and your partner should have medical exams and be checked and treated for STIs, and other illnesses. If either of you has an STI, both of you must be treated. Be sure to finish all the medicines you are given.

Eat good, healthy food: If you do not have regular monthly bleeding and you are very thin or very fat, try to gain or lose weight.

Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

Avoid caffeine in drinks like coffee, black tea, and cola drinks.

Get plenty of rest and regular exercise.

Try to see a health worker if you are not pregnant after one year: There are some simple tests that do not cost much that may be able to tell you what the problem is. For example, the health worker may look at your partner’s sperm under a microscope to see if they are healthy. She may give you a pelvic exam to check your vagina, womb, and tubes for infection or growths. Or she may teach you to tell if your ovaries are releasing an egg by taking your temperature every morning. It is important to remember that these tests only tell you what the problem is—they will not solve it. Even the most expensive medicines and operations often cannot cure infertility.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en011205