It can be a very difficult thing when you're having trouble conceiving a child. Many couples have experienced a lot of stress in their relationships over the disappointment of months going by without conception taking place. At some point on your journey of trying to achieve pregnancy, you might wonder if there is anything you can do to better your chances of conceiving.
With that in mind, below you’ll find 8 ways to boost your fertility.
- Get your BMI in check
- Change your diet
- Eliminate bad habits
- Begin good habits
- Go get a physical
- Have intercourse at the right time
- Increase the frequency of your intercourse
- See a fertility doctor
Get your BMI in check
You might be confused as to why getting your BMI in check is included in this list of ways to boost your fertility. However, maintaining a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, also known as a normal or healthy BMI, can help in your long-term reproductive health.
It may also be linked to preventing the production of important reproductive hormones. For women with a BMI higher than 35, there is as much as a 43% decrease in the ability to conceive. Having a very high or low body mass index can disrupt ovulation, alter your menstruation, and even prevent pregnancy altogether.
Talking about BMI in simpler terms, you need to watch your weight. (Your weight will almost always determine how big or small your BMI is. Typically, the more you weigh, the higher the BMI and vice versa). We all know that being overweight can cause health issues, but it can also cause fertility issues.
Excess fat may cause certain hormones in your body to be overproduced. This can lead to irregular periods and less frequent ovulation. Being underweight can also pose similar problems. A body weight that is too low can inhibit ovulation, and in some cases make it difficult to maintain a pregnancy once you have conceived.
This is why you should maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise. Talk to you doctor about a healthy weight you should maintain. Obesity has posed a big problem presently and obesity causes abnormal menstrual cycles that greatly boost the possibilities of miscarriage.
The chances of a fertility treatment producing fast and positive results also weaken if the female is overweight. So the first thing that you should do if you are overweight, is to lose weight. You should not lose weight through unhealthy means such as starving yourself or consuming medication to lose weight, however.
The same goes for being underweight. If you are too skinny that can cause problems as well. The fat cells in your body are responsible for producing the female hormone estrogen and if your body doesn't have sufficient fat cells this will lead to an insufficient amount of estrogen in your body causes fertility problems.
Change your diet
If you want to make significant changes to help you lose or gain weight to increase your chances of getting pregnant, changing your diet is one of the easiest ways to boost your fertility. You should start by exercising daily and eating healthy, home-cooked meals that consist of leafy green vegetables and proteins.
Furthermore, you should also make sure that you do not consume large portions. Eat three square meals a day, but try to eat smaller portions. Eating the proper foods will ensure you won't feel hungry, and you will likely consume less food too.
Of course, with any change to your diet or exercise regimen, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor.
Since fertility is related to your weight, that begs the question - Is there such a thing as a fertility diet? Not exactly, but you certainly can eat healthier foods that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight. This in turn can help your body be baby ready.
You’ll want a balanced diet to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals needed to boost your health overall. Eating foods rich in iron, protein, and vitamin C is a good start, as deficiencies in these nutrients may cause less frequent ovulation, and an increased risk for miscarriage. A daily multivitamin can also help give you an extra boost. You might want to ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins as well.
It’s also a good idea to limit fatty foods and calorie laden drinks in your diet. Limit trans fats, and swap vegetable oil for olive or coconut oil. Increase your vegetable protein and reduce animal protein, eat more high fiber foods, and consume less low glycemic foods. Avoid refined refined sugars and carbohydrates, and consume only moderate amounts of high-fat dairy products.
Again, I’ll reiterate the importance of discussing diet changes with your doctor. It’s always best to get a medical professionals input when making significant changes that could shock your system.
Eliminate bad habits
There are several things you should stop doing when you're pregnant, so why not start before conception (i.e. while trying to conceive)? Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and drinking caffeine.
This is easier said than done for many people. Therefore, you should take one step at a time. Try to stop your worst habit first and then move on to others when you have fully eliminated it. Ceasing these habits may help you not just with your fertility, but it will also help with your energy levels and general health overall.
Note that toxins from cigarettes can damage a woman's eggs, which can hinder the fertilization and the implantation process. Cigarette toxins can also cause premature aging of a woman's ovaries. Yikes! The sooner you quit smoking, the less damage there will be to your fertility, potentially.
Additionally, studies suggest a link between alcohol consumption and decreased fertility. A similar link has been found in women who drank too much coffee. There have even been reports of over caffeinated women being more likely to miscarry, compared with those who don't drink caffeine. Playing it safe and removing both alcohol and caffeine from your diet may be your best bet.
What other habits can you eliminate when looking for ways to boost your fertility? It’s a good idea to stop taking illicit drugs if you currently do. Avoid marijuana use, and talk to your doctor about current prescriptions that could be impeding your fertility. Try to steer clear of toxins at work, and avoid long term exposure to high temperatures.
Much of this advice for diet and bad habits goes for men as well. Many of the things they consume can negatively impact sperm production and motility.
Begin good habits
In addition to dieting and exercise, you can begin other good habits that can help your health, and potentially provide a better environment in your body for conception.
Manage stress and check in with your emotions
Although stress has long been a factor that many medical professionals believed to be linked to infertility, it has been unable to be proven scientifically. Still, studies continue to be conducted, and evidence has begun to mount that seem to link the two. A study conducted at Harvard tracked women undergoing stress reduction therapies while at the same time undergoing fertility treatments, and they saw an increase in conception rates for those that were able to keep their stress under control.
Stress and depression may throw off your body's hormones, making your cycle less reliable. Because of this, it’s a good idea to devise healthier ways to deal with stress through relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga.
You could even journal about any fears you have surrounding being pregnant or having a baby. By addressing these fears head on, you might be able to better cope with the emotional aspects you have surrounding getting pregnant or having a baby. And, remember, the emotions you have aren't necessarily good or bad. The important thing is to allow them to flow instead of suppressing them which can lead to physical health issues.
Many people swear that acupuncture is incredible at boosting fertility naturally. Though it’s not scientifically proven in terms of ways to boost your fertility, it can be very relaxing and help your hormones release properly, and blood flow naturally. Aa a bonus, acupuncture can be relatively inexpensive, and does not have any known side effects that hurt the process of trying to conceive.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the entire body is interlinked through an energy source that is known as Chi. This energy flows through all of us, and when it is in a balanced state, we enjoy good health and an overall sense of well-being. If this energy should get out of balance in some way, it can affect us in a number of different means. An acupuncturist can assist in bringing the body back into a balanced condition where this energy can flow freely through us.
Acupuncturists believe that the reason why acupuncture can help some patients, is that whenever our body is in balance, everything is in balance with it. From the way that we think, to the way that we react, all the way down to the amount of sperm or eggs that are produced in us as individuals. If we allow the free flow of energy to go through our body and put ourselves in a balanced condition, we may find that our odds of conceiving a child increased greatly.
Get regular, and optimal sleep
Try sleeping in pure darkness to get better sleep. So many people are bombarded by light pollution at night. Sleeping in pure darkness helps to restore balance in your system. Our bodies, including our hormones, function better when we get optimal sleep.
To have a night of sleep in pure darkness you can:
- Remove your cell phone from the room
- Place your alarm clock in a different room as well (This will actually help you get up in the mornings too because you will have to get out of bed to turn it off.)
- Install blackout curtains to remove outside light completely
- Turn off any other lights that may be on in your room (For example, if you have a DVD player or VCR that displays the time - you might need to unplug it at night.)
Get a physical
The reality is that sometimes infertility is a simple fix. Although in many cases causes of infertility are unknown, having a physical can be the key to determining your inability to achieve pregnancy.
Full panel blood tests could reveal issues with your thyroid, or hormones. You may learn of cholesterol troubles, your risk of diabetes/that you have diabetes, existing medical conditions, and more.
Who knows? You could be one of the lucky patients who upon having a physical, learns of simple changes you can make that get you pregnant that much faster. If not, having a physical could at least lead to additional testing that gets you that much closer to your goal of conceiving.
Have intercourse at the right time
For those couples suffering from infertility, one of the easiest ways to boost fertility is simply perfecting intercourse timing in line with ovulation. An egg only lives for 24 to 36 hours after ovulation, yet sperm can live for up to five days in the reproductive tract of a woman.
By having regular intercourse four days prior to ovulation, and up to two days after ovulation the chances of conception are greatly increased. There are even at-home ovulation kits that can help you determine the ideal ovulation timing as well as.
Increase the frequency of your intercourse
Unfortunately, increasing the frequency of your intercourse is one of the more frustrating ways to boost fertility. This can be particularly true for couples that have been trying for a long period of time without success. Still, since there is a clock on how long a woman is ovulating, it stands to reason that increasing the amount of times you engage in intercourse during that time will increase your odds of conceiving.
Having sex throughout the rest of the month may boost fertility as well. Weekly sex can help a woman produce more estrogen, which could in turn yield a better environment for conception.
See a fertility doctor
When all other methods have failed you, seeing a fertility doctor may ultimately be necessary. They can help you determine ways to boost your fertility that you may not have known about, or previously didn’t have access to. For example, a specialist can create treatment plans with prescription drugs, or get you started on the path of in vitro fertilization.
As much as we may want to conceive naturally, working with a fertility specialist can help you not only determine if it’s possible, but they might be able to assist you in making it your reality.
The journey of trying to start or expand your family can be a rough road. We want to help make it as smooth as possible. To learn more about working with the Center of Reproductive Medicine, click here.