Shape (Singapore) - - Live Healthy - BY DAWN CHEN

Get­ting a bun in the oven is of­ten a roller­coaster ride. While some peo­ple seem to have no trou­ble be­com­ing preg­nant, the process can be try­ing and long-drawn for many oth­ers. Most im­por­tantly, don’t sab­o­tage your chances un­know­ingly, advises Dr Michele Lee Sook Ling, con­sul­tant ob­ste­tri­cian and gy­nae­col­o­gist at Michele Lee Women And Fer­til­ity Clinic in Mount Alver­nia Med­i­cal Cen­tre. Find out if you’re hurt­ing your fer­til­ity.

Don’t be fooled by celebri­ties who have healthy ba­bies in their 40s – that’s a rar­ity, not the norm. We don’t mean to nag, but fer­til­ity does have an ex­piry date. “Sta­tis­ti­cally, women over 35 ac­count for more than 50 per cent of all in­stances of in­fer­til­ity,” says Dr Lee.

“Healthy women be­tween 27 and 35 have a 40 per cent chance of get­ting preg­nant each month. Be­yond the age of 35, that per­cent­age drops to 30 and steadily de­clines. By the time a woman is 40, she only has a 10 per cent chance of get­ting preg­nant each month, even if she’s healthy.”

“Smok­ing re­duces your chances of con­ceiv­ing, de­creases the suc­cess rate of fer­til­ity treat­ments, and dou­bles the risk of mis­car­riages,” warns Dr Lee. Make sure your man isn’t smok­ing too. Sec­ond-hand smoke is also bad for you.

Yes, it does mat­ter how much you weigh. “Be­ing un­der­weight can in­ter­rupt nor­mal men­strual cy­cles and dis­rupt or even halt ovu­la­tion,” says Dr Lee.

“And while there are op­tions avail­able to help un­der­weight women ovu­late and get preg­nant, th­ese preg­nan­cies are like­lier to end in mis­car­riages or preterm births. Th­ese ba­bies are also at an in­creased risk of diabetes and heart dis­ease later on in life.” The best op­tion is to at­tain a healthy weight be­fore con­ceiv­ing. Do so by eat­ing reg­u­lar meals and snack­ing on nu­tri­ent-dense foods through­out the day.

On the flip side, be­ing over­weight also af­fects your chances of get­ting preg­nant. In fact, obese women are three times more likely to suf­fer in­fer­til­ity than women with a nor­mal body mass in­dex (BMI), notes a study in the

Above the BMI of 23.9, the rel­a­tive risk of re­duced fer­til­ity is sig­nif­i­cantly higher.

“Be­ing over­weight while preg­nant can also in­crease your risk of mis­car­riage, ges­ta­tional diabetes and high blood pres­sure,” adds Dr Lee. “Re­al­is­ti­cally, in-vitro fer­til­i­sa­tion (IVF) is only a vi­able op­tion for most women un­til the age of 38,” says Dr Wil­liam Ledger,

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