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By: Christie Post – ABC WFTS, Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. – Here in Florida, we all love soaking up sunshine whether it’s at the beach or poolside. Now we are finding out those rays offer a surprising benefit for mothers to be.

More than six million women have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant.

Belgian researcher Frank Vandekerckhove believes weather may play a factor in increasing your odds. Vandekerckhove looked at 6,000 women getting fertility treatments and found a pattern.

Those who saw warmer temperatures, lack of rain and increased sunshine a month before conception were 35 percent more likely to get pregnant, according to the study.

Dr. Betsy McCormick with The Reproductive Medicine Group knows how hard it can be to have a baby.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” she explained.

In fact, her mother struggled to have her.

“That’s what prompted me to go into this area,” said McCormick.

She says a lot of women have a vitamin D deficiency so naturally a burst of sun would help with fertility.

“If you are in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes you are going to get enough sun exposure,” said McCormick.

But with the risk of cancer, she warns jumping at a tropical vacation isn’t the only way to get the right nutrients to start a family. A balanced diet, exercise, reduced alcohol intake and avoiding smoking will do the trick.

McCormick says it’s what helps thousands of women get pregnant every year at her office. Advice she happily passes on.

“It’s the best job in the world to try to help people,” said McCormick.

Some other surprising ways to increase fertility include:

  • Kick the soda habit
  • Go to bed early
  • Become a better brusher – gum disease can add an extra two months to the time it takes to get pregnant
  • Don’t let your partner turn into a couch potato.