Things You May Not Want to Hear When You're Trying to Get Pregnant: Stop Drinking Alcohol
"Anything but THAT, Dr. Kristiansen!" I've heard those very words uttered by patients in my office at Houston Fertility Center a few times. There a number of recommendations I might make for optimizing attempts at getting pregnant -- some of those requests are not welcomed by patients!
Here's one: Stop drinking alcohol.
Now, that's a pretty stringent version of what I actually recommend. That blogpost, "TTC with IVF? Skip the Alcohol Tonight" was published on New Year's Eve 2009. Nothing about the information in the links therein has changed: subsequent research bears out the conclusion that alcohol doesn't do you a bit of good if you're using IVF to conceive. In fact -- and there are plenty of theories but no certain, understandable reason yet -- drinking alcohol might be the thing that tips the conception scales against you.
Most recently, clinical researchers published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' journal, that enjoying as few as 4 drinks per week reduces your chances of IVF success. Interestingly, that holds true for couples as well as women who were surveyed prior to going through their first IVF cycle.
As I said, some Houston Fertility Center patients bristle when I suggest they stop drinking alcohol while trying to conceive. I'm sure the same is true in other fertility specialists' offices. But taking charge of your reproductive health means holding yourself accountable -- a little firm but positive self-talk might be in order. If it feels easier to ponder cutting back instead of quitting altogether, try that instead and use the less-than-four-drinks per week as a gauge. Or tell yourself that you're training for parenthood, a time when the idea of drinking more might seem appealing but is really at cross purposes with your goals -- just like during an IVF cycle.
In the end, you'll want to look back on your trying times and be able to say you did everything you could to have that baby.
~ Dr. Sonja Kristiansen M.D.