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And Baby Makes Three or Four or…

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness at 1:12 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
FamilyFor the past three years, September 12 has been declared “Family Contact Day” in Russia. Couples are encouraged to take off work, stay home and have sex with each other. If, nine months later, a child appears, the proud parents receive cars, televisions, money and other various prizes. It is a country’s effort to revitalize a dwindling population.  It represents a hope that fertility and conception can blossom with the right incentive, namely time off and fabulous prizes. It may seem over the top, obsessive or overly concerned, but Russia isn’t the only baby-crazed country.

Over the past several weeks, health headlines have been filled with child-bearing advice. You would assume that these articles would provide details on when it’s best to conceive, what habits you should avoid, what you should do when trying to get pregnant and other such information. But instead, they have offered facts on what unavoidable aspects of your life will render you childless or child-crazy. Having an older brother, for example, reduces the number of children you will have.  So does having a male twin and marrying a man ten years older or a woman ten years younger than you. On the other hand, a man with a deep voice,  who marries a woman six years younger than him,  can expect to have all the children he wants, which is great . . . for him. But, what if you’re a high-pitched fellow or you’re a woman married to a younger man? Are you doomed not to have the large family you crave? And what if you don’t want ten kids, but only one? What if you’re concern isn’t having as many as possible but having any at all? Is there a way to ensure conception?

The short answer is no. There is no way to guarantee that you will have a baby, regardless of your sibling’s gender or your spouse’s age. However, there are some things that you can do to increase your odds. For men, it’s a limited list. Most male infertility is unpreventable.  None the less, avoiding extended hot tub exposure,  limiting alcohol and tobacco use and not taking drugs is a good way to maintain sperm production and motility. For women, the first thing you want to do is avoid extremes. Don’t exercise too little or too much; don’t allow your weight to fluctuate beyond a normal range (in either direction). And, as with the men, avoid alcohol and drugs, and limit caffeine and medications. Then, pay attention to your body. Knowing when you are most fertile and thus, most likely to conceive can bring your family plans to fruition more quickly.  And of course, consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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