By Rena Altman and Renee Pacella, Founders of The Fit Cloud
There are a surprising amount of factors that can contribute to your success in fertilization. Many of the steps expectant mothers can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy are the same steps that women can take to help their bodies become more fertile. While you might not be pregnant yet, if you are trying to conceive, you will need to create an environment for your body, and for the baby, to thrive. Reevaluating your current lifestyle is an inexpensive way to adjust your body to having a baby before you spend money on medical visits or procedures. Here are some simple benchmarks to review and ways you can start:
Being overweight or underweight can interfere with a woman’s reproductive system. Too much or too little body fat will cause hormone levels to fluctuate, and will not allow for proper ovulation. Check with your doctor first if you fall into any hormonal imbalances.
Tobacco, Alcohol & Narcotics
Women looking to conceive – and definitely those who are already pregnant – should beware of their levels of tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, and even some prescription drugs. Intake of any of these substances could inhibit hormones and affect ovulation and fertility, and can hinder a woman’s ability to carry a child. These can also pose problems for the opposite sex, if your male partner likes to party too much on the weekends or is using steroids to pump up his body. In a recent article entitled
Go Forth and Multiply, The Guardian stated, “The impact of smoking on fertility is staggering. Last year, a British Medical Association report, “Smoking and reproductive life”, listed warning upon warning about the detrimental effects of smoking for couples trying to have children. It reduces the chances of conceiving by 10 to 40% per cycle, and is responsible for some 5,000 miscarriages every year. Men who smoke have lower sperm counts and more malformed sperm than non -smokers. And genetic defects in the sperm can be carried over into children.”
STDs & Medical History
Talk to your ob./gyn about your prescription medications, such as those for thyroid, blood pressure, depression, and even asthma, as these medications could have an effect on ovulation and hormones. According to the CDC, STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia have no symptoms, but can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility, if left untreated. Another factor one should not overlook is the impact of autoimmune diseases on fertility, as they may lead to reproductive diseases including, but not limited to, endometriosis and PCOS.
Environment & Occupational Hazards
Reevaluate if your home or work environments cause you to be constantly exposed to or in contact with toxins and pollutants. This may alter your body’s immune system as well as your body’s natural cycles, especially a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many environmental chemicals have been known to be both hormone and endocrine disruptors. Fertility issues may result from constant ingestion of high levels of chemicals in the respiratory tract, so understand your exposure rates at work and at home.
Everyone has some sort of stress in their lives these days. There is a very strong connection between stress and health issues, in this case, fertility difficulties. Whether triggered by something financial, familial, professional, or miscellaneous, chronic stress has an effect on hormones. Managing stress is a difficult task, but there are measures you can take to slowly chip away at removing some of the factors adding to your stress. Walking, yoga, and swimming are all great ways to take the edge off. Finding a great support group can also help.
Resolve.org provides you with resources to find local support groups in your area.
Using certain lubrication may inhibit the motility of sperm. According to an article by NBC, “… some sex toy devices are made of vinyl. This type of plastic unleashes phthalates, plastic-softening chemicals linked to cancer, allergies, birth defects, and infertility.” Be sure to search for products like We-Vibe that are made of high-quality medical silicone.
A healthy diet is the most natural and easiest way to help fertility. Choosing fresh food over canned can make a big difference when combined with a diet limiting sugar and junk food intake. Did you know that there is a correlation to insulin resistance and PCOS? Replacing sugar and processed foods with fertility super-foods like asparagus, wild salmon, eggs, and almonds, to name a few, can make a difference.
There are countless studies specific to fertility that are both currently being conducted and that have been completed. Many of the factors that contribute to female infertility can also contribute to male infertility, so men and women alike should follow suit in staying healthy and working for a successful conception. If you are trying to conceive, always remember to see your doctor so that you can get an accurate snapshot of your health and review the steps to ensure a happy and healthy pregnancy.
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