As you try to conceive, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to avoid alcohol. Your male partner should stop drinking, too.

A Harvard study published in 1994 by the American Journal of Public Health indicated that women who have even one alcoholic drink per day may reduce their chances of conceiving by up to 50 percent. Essentially, the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive. Alcohol appears to increase your production of the hormone prolactin, which may cause your menstrual cycle to become irregular. To give both sides of the story, you should know that some other studies seem to suggest that light to moderate alcohol consumption may not have a direct correlation on fertility. However, those studies have not received much favor among U.S. medical practitioners. Even so, within the scientific world, this area remains somewhat controversial. To err on the side of caution, if you are having problems conceiving, it would seem wise to follow the healthiest program possible. Thus it seems reasonable to greatly minimize or completely abolish alcohol during this time in your life.

If you are having difficulty conceiving, your male partner shouldn't drink either. Alcohol has been shown to decrease a man's sperm count, reduce sperm mobility, and increase his production of abnormal sperm. Excessive alcohol consumption can also interfere with the body's absorption of important nutrients, such as zinc, which is essential for male fertility.

If you become pregnant and continue to use alcohol, the potential damage to the baby can last a lifetime. Alcohol has been linked to problems in the baby such as mental retardation and birth defects.

Because of these important factors, most health care providers recommend that you eliminate alcohol from your diet for at least three months before you try to become pregnant. This gives you the best possible chance of conceiving and increases your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

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