Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and remaining active is extremely important even before getting pregnant. You and your partner should make changes to diet and exercise for at least three months before trying to conceive.
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.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide a natural supply of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, all of which contribute to creating a healthier you.
- Up your iron intake (with your doctor’s approval) To ensure that you’re getting exactly what you personally need, meet with a doctor or nutritionist who can test your iron levels, examine your medical history, and determine how much iron would best benefit your health
- Eat the right kinds, and right amounts, of protein. Too much protein, particularly protein that’s high in calories or fat, has been linked to decreased fertility.
- Considering adding a supplement, and other important minerals and vitamins. For more detailed information on how important Folic acid and Iron are, read more here.
- Read more nutritional suggestions for women trying to conceive
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.
When trying to conceive, discontinue use of contraceptives and make an appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider for a pre-conception check-up.
Tobacco, Alcohol and 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.”
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.
Using certain lubrication may inhibit the motility of sperm. Be sure to use sperm-friendly lubricants only.
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. Read more on how stress can affect fertility. 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.
By selecting a stress relief method or two that you enjoy and which makes you feel better, you’ll be more likely to overcome stress related fertility issues. If you feel like you’re having a particularly overwhelming month, using certain ovulation tracking methods can also help you determine if you’re still on track to ovulate in spite of the stress. Finding a great support group can also help.
- RESOLVE provides you with resources to find local support groups in your area.
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.