If you’re having trouble conceiving, the process may begin to feel daunting and out of your control. The good news is, you can boost your fertility by focusing on your general health and wellbeing.
So, what areas should you focus on — whether that's adjusting, reducing, or increasing each area — to boost your fertility?
Practicing a good diet
Nutrition can make a meaningful impact on your fertility. Numerous infertility cases — 20 to 30%, according to Tamsin Jordan, a registered dietician — could benefit from better dietar choices. You can also navigate and improve certain health conditions, like PCOS, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, celiac disease, and hypothalamic amenorrhea, through specific diet and eating choices.
So, what should you eat to boost your fertility?
- Green leafy vegetables: These contain folic acid, or Vitamin B9. This vitamin can boost fertility, and reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTD) in fetuses.
- Fish: Fish has omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects. These effects can improve egg quality, maturation, and embryo implantation.
- Whole grains: They contain lignin, which can improve fertility.
- Full fat dairy: This has shown to decrease the risk of infertility linked to a lack of ovulation.
Dietary adjustments can also help ensure a healthy weight, which is important for fertility. Studies show that women who are obese are more likely to have ovulatory dysfunction and poorer IVF outcomes. Women who are underweight are also at a higher risk for infertility and irregular ovulation. Making conscious choices to maintain a healthy and balanced diet can help you keep up a healthy weight, thereby boosting your fertility.
You may be able to increase your chances of conceiving through regular, moderate exercise. Physical activity helps you manage your blood sugar, insulin, and androgen levels, fight inflammation, and reduce stress. It also helps reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility.
To exercise to boost fertility, remember that all movement is valuable. It's recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, and to include a variety of exercises in your weekly routine.
Yet while exercising is important, be careful not to overdo it. Workouts that are too strenuous — like seven or more hours of aerobic exercise a week — can increase your risk for ovulatory problems.
Reducing your alcohol intake can help prevent health and infertility issues.
Heavy drinking can cause ovulatory issues — the number one cause of infertility. Binge drinking (more than five standard drinks in one occasion) has been shown to cause miscarriage, still birth, premature birth, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
So, can you drink if you're trying to conceive? Moderate drinking —drinking less than seven drinks a week for women, and 14 for men — won't make or break your fertility; however there is a slight risk. If you're looking to boost your fertility, drinking infrequently is your best bet.
Smoking can also impede on fertility. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can speed up the loss rate of eggs. Compared to non-smokers, women who smoke are said to go through menopause one to four years earlier. Women who smoke are at a higher risk for fertility problems, miscarriages, unhealthy pregnancies, and ectopic pregnancies. Quitting smoking can improve your fertility.
Getting enough sleep
- Establish a routine: Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day can help regulate your body's schedule and make it easier to fall asleep and wake up refreshed.
- Avoid light, caffeine, and alcohol before bed: All three of these factors can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Make sure you're moving during the day: Doing exercise during the day, even if it's low-impact, can help you fall asleep faster.
It's a cruel paradox — you're stressed that you're not conceiving, but too much stress can negatively affect your fertility.
Reducing stress can help improve your overall wellbeing, health, and therefore boost your fertility. To reduce stress, you can try meditating, get movement in, eat a balanced diet, focus on activities that bring you joy, and rely on a support system.
>>MORE: How to Reduce Stress
Everyone’s health, hormones, and cycles are unique, which means women have different needs when it comes to improving chances of conception. Yet your fertility is not completely out of your control. By focusing on your health and wellness, you can help boost your fertility to increase your chances of conceiving.
Looking for daily action plans to help guide you in taking the right steps to improve your fertility, as well as clear, reliable fertility tracking? Try the Oova kit.
- Blakeway, J. (n.d.). Why regular exercise can improve your fertility (and how to know if you’re doing too much). yinovacenter.com/blog/why-regular-exercise-can-improve-your-fertility-and-how-to-know-if-youre-doing-too-much/
- Smoking and infertility. (2014). reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/smoking-and-infertility/
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