Trying to conceive in 2017? If so,read on… by Joanna Spriggs
One in six couples struggles to conceive and in more than 40% of cases the causes are unexplained. If you are planning to start or want to add to your family, these simple lifestyle changes could improve your chances of making a baby…
1: Cut back on the booze
It may be boring but alcohol’s doing you no favours right now. Your body needs to be in its optimum state to allow you to conceive, and this means (trying to) be free from toxins. Alcohol can have a negative effect on the reproductive system and damage fertility. Even small amounts can affect the menstrual cycle and reduce the chance of conceiving. Drinking also lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality. Men should stay within the government guidelines if trying to conceive (3-4 units a day) – and for women, no more than 1-2 units once or twice a week and ideally make it a good, organic red wine
2: Stop smoking
Smokers are more likely to have fertility problems than non-smokers. When you smoke, more than 7,000 chemicals spread through your body, which can hinder ovulation, damage eggs and sperm motility. So stub it out!
3: Just do it!
When trying for a baby you can become obsessed about your fertile time – when your luteinising hormone is at its peak and if you’re ovulating. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says people concerned about fertility should go for it every two to three days
4: Watch your weight
Being over or underweight can compromise fertility. A body mass index of 30 or over or less than 19 can mean taking longer to conceive
Reducing a high BMI by as little as 10% will have a huge effect on your chances of becoming pregnant, as well as improving the effectiveness of fertility treatment
5: Eat well
Eating lots of fresh, organic food will help you absorb key antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial when trying to conceive and reduce intake of pesticides (which can have a negative impact of fertility)
For women – Zinc improves the maturity and health of eggs – find it in chicken or turkey and nuts
For men – Selenium is essential for sperm formation – it’s in fish, eggs, brazil nuts and mushrooms. Yogurt, eggs, fresh salmon, beef, kiwis, oranges, and asparagus boost vitamins B12 and C, which increase sperm count. Vitamin E according to nutritionists, is good for sperm mobility and can be tomatoes, almonds and avocados
Try supplements containing all these. Viridian preconception for men and women or Lamberts Strongstart are both very good (available in health food shops or online).
6: Breakfast like a King (or Queen!)
Eating your largest meal in the morning, instead of the evening, may combat polycystic ovary syndrome, a major cause of infertility.
Many women with PCOS have high insulin levels, leading to higher levels of testosterone, which disrupts periods. Women eating most of their calories in the morning had reduced insulin levels and testosterone and improved ovulation.
7. Complimentary therapies (reflexology, acupuncture, fertility massage)
More and more people are seeking help with complimentary therapies. The Association of Reflexologists believe that reflexology may be of great benefit to clients suffering with fertility issues. Their understanding is that on average about 50% of clients seeking help through Reflexology for fertility issues, find themselves pregnant within 6 months of treatment.
One of the major benefits of reflexology is the balancing of the endocrine system, the set of glands that produce the body’s hormones. Hormones play a key role in fertility and pregnancy and can be affected by stress. In these days of high pressure careers and increased debt, as well as the underlying worry of infertility, stress could be one of the big reasons why couples are not getting pregnant.
Reflexology may help in promoting fertility by:
* Regulating the menstrual cycle
* Supporting and balancing the body through IVF cycles
* Alleviating stress and tension
* Balancing the endocrine (hormone) system
* Bringing about balance to all the body systems
* Using a lymphatic technique to stimulate the immune system
* Increasing energy levels
* Eliminating toxins from the body
* Providing emotional support and time for YOURSELF
8: Ditch caffeine and drink more water
Water is the basis of blood, which in turn feeds every part of us. As well as helping our reproductive system to work, water helps to increase cervical mucus, which helps sperm swim freely through the cervix to the egg
9: Gentle exercise
Gentle exercise is good for fertility, but avoid exhausting workouts (ones where you have trouble speaking through) and try gentler, more calming exercises like yoga, pilates, walking and swimming
10: Stop stressing
Try to chill, but mainly for your peace of mind. Too much emotional or physical stress can lower your progesterone levels, which can interfere with ovulation.Try complimentary therapies (reflexology, acupuncture, massage), deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or regular walks. Find something that you works for you
So for now, the best advice is to live your life, have fun. Try to relax and not let the ticking of your biological clock drown out everything else. And remember: The odds of getting pregnant are in your favour, this could well be your lucky year! Good luck x