Couples advised to practice sex for 3-6 months before conception for healthier baby

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 06:30 hrs

Couples planning a baby should have intercourse for three to six months before conception to increase their chances of producing a healthy baby, a University of Adelaide research has suggested.

A woman's repeated exposure to her partner's sperm allowed her immune system time to build up tolerance to the foreign fluid and support a pregnancy, according to Prof Sarah Robertson from the university's Robinson Institute.

"We now know that an average of at least 3-6 months coitus with their partner is necessary to get their immune system to respond correctly to enable a healthy pregnancy," quoted Prof Robertson as saying.

"In some people it does take longer ... for some people it could take 12 months or more," she added.

Prof Robertson said couples can get pregnant from a single encounter, but their chances of rejection and miscarriage along with complications like pre-eclampsia are greater.

"It's not so much about the likelihood of getting pregnant, it's more about healthy progression of pregnancy. You're more likely to have a healthy pregnancy if you've had some practice beforehand,'' she said.

She said the research could lead to new advancements in assisted reproduction technology in the future.

"We would like to come up with new treatments and maybe even new drugs that could mimic this pathway and assist where there is some difficulty in getting the immune system to respond,'' she said.

She said couples should also consider lifestyle factors including eating healthy and exercising, not smoking and reducing stress.

Prof Robertson will present her research findings at the Australian Society for Medical Research Congress in Adelaide. (ANI)

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