Olivia Jakiel
September 16, 2016 12:40 pm
Gert Kreutschmann / ullstein bild / Getty Images

On the surface, pregnancy seems simple — we all know how babies are made and well, there you go. However, a lot of women experience difficulty when trying to conceive and have absolutely no idea why they’re not getting pregnant. According to The American Society of Reproductive Medicine, only 5 – 10% suffer from unexplained fertility; but as it turns out, there are A LOT of factors as to why you might be having trouble conceiving.

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We’re all familiar with this one: the older you get, the less eggs you have, the harder it is to get pregnant. That’s not saying that if you’re in your mid-twenties, you have to rush to have a kid like, now. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine, says that fertility is at its peak between the ages of  18 and 30.

Fertility significantly declines after 40 with some decline at about 35. But I never discourage women about it—the only time I really kick butt and say, ‘OK, let’s go for it now!’ is in women over 40,” she says.

Being overweight actually REALLY affects your fertility. According to Your Fertility, “obesity can affect fertility by causing hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation, particularly for obese women having their first baby.”

Being underweight can cause hormonal imbalances as well. In fact, Your Fertility reports that it may take underweight women twice as long to conceive than a woman with a healthy body weight.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Development, diseases and conditions that influence fertility include Endometriosis, Ovary Polycystic Syndrome (PCOS), Primary Ovary Insufficiency (POI), and Uterine Fibroids.

Autoimmune diseases, like Lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis, play a huge role in fertility as well. Since autoimmune diseases cause the body to attack healthy tissue, an egg may be rejected and the body could prevent it from implanting.

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This one is a no-brainer. Medical director of assisted reproductive technologies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Elizabeth Ginsburg, M.D., says, “Smoking causes a loss of eggs and makes eggs less likely to fertilize.” Smoking also ages the ovaries and increases the chances of having a miscarriage, so if you’re trying to get pregnant, kick the habit to the curb.

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