Preventing infertility

For some, adopting a healthier lifestyle through simple lifestyle changes, or staying up to date with regular health checks and tests, mayhelp to prevent infertility.

Lifestyle changes


Women who are underweight or overweight ovulate (release an egg) less regularly, or sometimes not at all, compared to women of a healthy weight.

Therefore, ensuringyou maintain a healthy weight will make it easier to conceive.Use the healthy weight calculator to find out if you are the right weight for your height.

Womenwith abody mass index (BMI) above 30 are likely to take longer to conceive, and your GP may recommend that you lose weight.A BMI of less than 19 may meanyou are ovulating less frequently.

Men with a BMI of 30 or overare likely tohave reduced fertility, and your GP may recommend that you lose weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help maintain a suitable weight.

Include carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and pasta, and lean meat, fish and pulses for protein. Green, leafy vegetables are high in folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects.

Read moreon what to eat if you are trying to conceive, and foods to avoid in our pregnancy care planner .


Stress can often affect fertility because it may lead to you having sex less frequently. For the best chance of becoming pregnant, you need to have sex every two to three days. Talk to your partner if you are feeling stressed and consider using Counselling (talking therapy). You may also find regular exercise helpful.

Medicines and drugs

Illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine can affect fertility, and can seriously damage the development of your baby if you fall pregnant. You should therefore avoid using them.

You should also avoid using some prescription medicines if you are trying to get pregnant. Ask your GP for further advice.

Health checks and tests for women

Make sure you are up to date with your cervical screening tests (smear tests). You need to have one every three to five years, depending on your age.

You should also visit your local sexual health clinic (GUM clinic) to make sureyou do not have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) . Infections such as chlamydia may not have symptoms, but can cause infertility if left untreated.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 4 Jul 2016