The road to parenthood can sometimes be hugely challenging, but know you are not alone in this struggle. Around 15% of couples may struggle to conceive. There are some natural ways to help increase your fertility. Some simple food and lifestyle choices can help boost fertility.
Being active and less sedentary can help when getting pregnant, during your pregnancy and help your mental well-being.
Exercise and activity can boost your ability to conceive. In fact, research shows that women who exercise for 30 minutes every day may have a reduced risk of infertility. Being active doesn’t mean hitting the gym every day. It means anything that gets your heart rate up, makes you breathe faster and makes your body feel warmer.
Moderate exercise before and after you get pregnant can help both the pregnancy and the birth. Keeping up daily physical activity is important while pregnant. It not only helps you gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy; having a strong body and a healthy heart can greatly ease labour and delivery. Exercise can also help regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly.
Some studies have also shown that exercise can lower the chances of developing complications such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.
AIM FOR A HEALTHY WEIGHT
It is well known that weight can have a significant adverse effect on women’s reproductive health.
High BMI reduces the chances of natural conception, decreases the chances of fertility treatment being successful and can increase the risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications and congenital anomalies. You can find more information here regarding high BMI and infertility.
Women who are underweight can have hormone imbalances which affect ovulation and can reduce the chance of getting pregnant. If you are underweight you can speak to your GP or a dietician to change your diet and help you put on weight.
EAT FOODS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants like folic acid and zinc may improve fertility for both men and women. They deactivate the free radicals in your body, which can damage both sperm and egg cells. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains are packed full of beneficial antioxidants like vitamins C and E, folate, beta carotene, and lutein.
TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN
We get most of the vitamins we need if we eat a healthy and varied diet.
Folic acid helps to prevent birth defects, such as spina bifeda. Speak to your GP for further information.
Certain foods contain the natural form of folic acid (folate), such as broccoli, spinach and other green leafy vegetables as well as granary bread, beans and pulses. While it’s good to include these foods in your diet, you’ll still need to take your folic acid supplements if your GP recommends.
Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and phosphate into the body, to keep muscles and bones healthy. Oily fish, red meat, eggs and some fortified spreads and cereals contain vitamin D, but it is difficult to get the right amount from food intake alone. So a supplement may be advised by your GP.
GIVE UP SMOKING
Smoking is very bad for our health generally. Smoking is also known to reduce the quality of women’s eggs and can also lead to early menopause. For men, smoking can damage the sperm or reduce the quality of the semen. Women who smoke do not conceive as efficiently as non-smokers. The risk for fertility problems increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.
LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE
It is generally accepted that alcohol can reduce fertility in both men and women. The more alcohol a man drinks, the more likely he is to have abnormal sperm and other fertility-related problems. Drinking can reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving and drinking during pregnancy can harm the development of your unborn baby and can also increase the risk of miscarriage.
TRY TO RELAX
Although trying for a baby can be one of the most stressful and emotional times in your life, try to remain positive and manage your stress levels. This is easier said than done, of course, but there are many things you can do to help yourself. Yoga, exercise, mindfulness and speaking to a fertility counsellor can all be helpful. Acupuncture and the alternative therapies may also be useful. Try to prioritise your own needs and take a little more time for yourself. It can all help.