9 Easy Ways To Boost Fertility
Trying to get pregnant? Find out how making some positive changes to your lifestyle and daily routine can really help to boost your chances of conceiving.
1. Eat Wisely
A healthy diet is vital when you’re trying to conceive – being a healthy weight and feeding your body enough nutrients will help to get your body ready for baby making. Try to eat a nutritious, balanced diet that includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Go for slowly digested high-fibre carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread and pasta, vegetables, whole fruits and beans. Slowly digested carbs can boost fertility by controlling blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds and oil-rich fish. Reduce your intake of saturated fats which are found in processed foods, crisps, biscuits etc.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and cut out sugary carbonated drinks. Drink tea and coffee in moderation.
2. Avoid Alcohol
According to the NHS, if you’re trying to get pregnant or you are pregnant the safest option is not drink alcohol at all, which will reduce the risks to your baby.
Your partner will have to cut back on alcohol and drink no more than 14 units a week. Drinking too much alcohol may affect the quality of his sperm.
3. Quit Smoking
For women, stopping smoking can improve the outcome of fertility treatment, and reduce the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight and premature birth.
According to Dr Bart Kuczera, specialist fertility consultant at Beacon Care Fertility, "There is clear evidence that smoking both reduces the chances of a successful implantation and harms the developing baby. Some research has shown that women who smoke can be up to 60% less likely to conceive than non-smokers. Likewise, it is equally important that men give up smoking which is associated with decreased sperm count."
4. Men’s Health Counts Too
Did you know that a man’s testicles should be one or two degrees cooler than the rest of his body? Hot baths and showers, and tight underwear can increase the temperature of the testicles and slow down sperm reduction.
A study published by the Environmental Working Group found that men who store their phones in their trouser pockets (or basically anywhere near their crotch) have lower sperm counts, which could be due to the electromagnetic waves emitted from a phone.
5. Stress Less
“Just relax and it will happen.” This is probably one of the most frustrating things you can say to someone who is trying to conceive. Trying to fall pregnant is stressful enough as it is. But there might a little bit of truth in this piece of advice.
More and more and studies are proving that there is in fact a link between stress and infertility. When you get stressed, it can affect the hypothalmus, which is the part of your brain that regulates your hormones and controls the hormones required to release your eggs. This gland also controls a man’s testosterone levels.
Stress can cause you to ovulate later than usual in your menstrual cycle, or not at all – this is known as stress-induced anovulation. Stress can also make you feel less interested in having sex, so if you want to conceive try and identify what is stressing you. Making some positive changes to your life such as taking up exercise, attending counselling, and making time for yourself can help to reduce your stress levels.
6. Watch your BMI
A healthy weight can help to boost your chances of having a baby, as weighing too much or too little can interfere with ovulation or even stop it altogether. Work towards getting your BMI between 20 to 24. Go to www.safefood.eu for information on how to work out your BMI. Dr Kuczera advises that good nutrition and a healthy diet impact chances of conceiving as well as contributing to the health of the expectant mothers.
"With almost one in five couples struggling with fertility issues, the importance of optimum nutrition cannot be overstated. Women who are both underweight and overweight can struggle to conceive and are at higher risk of miscarriage. Women with body fat levels that are 10% to 15% above normal levels can overload the body with 'estrone – an alternative oestrogen disrupting normal hormonal function and women who have a BMI under 18.5 or are very lean due to strenuous exercising can stop ovulating altogether."
7. Work Out Regularly
Studies have shown that daily exercise can help to improve fertility. Don’t go overboard – just stick to regular and gentle workouts. Too much exercise can interfere with ovulation.
8. Know Your Cycle
You are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or so of ovulation – which usually happens about 14 days after the first day of your last period. An egg can survive for about 12-24 hours after it’s released. In order to conceive, a sperm must fertilise the egg within this time. Sperm can live for up to seven days inside your body, which means an egg is often fertilised by sperm that entered the body before the egg was released.
Having sex every two or three days throughout the month will boost your chances of becoming pregnant.
9. Take Your Prenatal Supplements
Studies have found that folic acid and other vitamins in prenatal supplements may improve ovulation. A study by Warwick University found women taking a prenatal multivitamin and mineral supplement were more likely to conceive, and to remain pregnant.
"We all know the more we worry about our fertility, the more of a problem it becomes – to be told stop worrying about it is not really helpful. Because you do worry to the point that it’s the only thing you can think about from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. More than likely after a good few sleepless hours in bed worrying. All I can suggest in this situation is to start something new – a sport, an activity, join a book club, etc. Just something to get your brain to focus on something else. As an added bonus, sport and exercise can help boost your overall fertility by keeping you at a healthy BMI and getting the good hormones flowing. And a relatively healthy lifestyle is going to help so without being too strict, increase the good stuff like fruit, veggies, proteins. And reduce the bold stuff like caffeine, alcohol, nicotene and high fat or sugary processed foods.
- Lisa Roddy, mum of two, midwife and blogger at irishbabyfairy.com"
For more tips on conceiving go to our fertility page, where you will lots of practical advice and expert information.