For many couples, starting a family is a dream come true. However, the journey towards parenthood can be a challenging one, especially for those facing fertility issues. Approximately one in six couples face fertility issues, which can make the journey towards parenthood difficult. When trying to conceive, you may be curious about your fertility and if there are ways to enhance it. While certain factors that affect fertility may not be within your control, such as medical conditions, lifestyle choices can also play a role in fertility. Simple lifestyle changes can improve your chances of conceiving and starting the family you have always dreamed of.
As simple as sleeping
Getting enough sleep is crucial for anyone, especially couples trying to get pregnant. When we sleep, our bodies can rest, repair, and regenerate. This is especially important when it comes to fertility because a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on reproductive health. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and if you’re struggling with sleep, try implementing relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises to help promote restful sleep.
Cut the coffee for fertility
The impact of caffeine on fertility and pregnancy is unclear, as some studies suggest it may increase the risk of miscarriage. In contrast, others state otherwise. Limiting caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day, equivalent to two 180ml cups of coffee, is recommended to ensure safety. It’s important to note that caffeine is not limited to coffee and tea, as it is also found in other sources such as chocolate, soda, energy drinks, and some cold and pain medications.
Exercise, but not too much
Regular exercise is important for maintaining overall health, especially when you’re trying to get pregnant. But try not to be on the extreme of the weight scale. Also, it’s important to find a balance in exercise. Too much exercise can have a negative impact on fertility. Women who engage in high-intensity exercise or who have a very low body fat percentage may experience irregular menstrual cycles or even stop menstruating altogether. Couples trying to conceive are recommended to moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. It’s also important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. If you’re unsure how much exercise is right for you, consult a healthcare provider or fertility specialist.
Watch what you eat for fertility
The food you eat affects not only your health but also the health of your unborn baby. For a healthy pregnancy, it’s important to consume a balanced diet that includes all five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, lean proteins (such as chicken, eggs, and beans), and dairy products. Avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, and stay hydrated by drinking enough fluids. Starting healthy eating habits before becoming pregnant can make it easier to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet later on and also helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
Improve your air quality
One of the first things to consider is the air quality in your home. Exposure to air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, has been linked to a variety of reproductive health issues. To reduce exposure to air pollution, consider investing in an air purifier or using air-cleaning plants, such as snake plants or peace lilies, in your home.
Fuel up your folate
Sufficient intake of folic acid is crucial in preventing congenital disabilities in a baby’s head and spine. To achieve this, it is recommended that women consume 400 milligrams of folic acid daily and incorporate high-folate foods in their diet. Taking prenatal vitamins can help meet daily folate needs. Foods such as leafy vegetables, beans, citrus fruits, whole grains, and folate-enriched cereals and breads are good sources of folic acid. Experts suggest increasing folic acid intake three months before attempting to conceive.
Turn the toxins down.
Another important factor to consider is the chemicals you’re exposed to in your home. Many cleaning products, personal care products, and furniture can contain harmful chemicals that disrupt hormones and negatively impact fertility. To reduce exposure to these chemicals, consider switching to natural or organic cleaning products, using fragrance-free personal care products, and choosing furniture made from natural materials. Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins in the workplace can hurt reproductive health. If you work in an industry exposed to chemicals or toxins, taking precautions to protect your health is important. This may include wearing protective clothing, using personal protective equipment, and minimising exposure to these substances.
Visit your dentist
According to a study, women with gum disease are at a higher risk of giving birth to an underweight or premature baby. To ensure that your oral health is in good condition and to allow time to address any issues, schedule a dental check-up before getting pregnant.
Curb your alcohol
Medical experts say we don’t know what a safe level of alcohol is during pregnancy or when it might have the most severe effects on the developing foetus. Therefore, doctors recommend that women trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether. The same is true for marijuana and other illicit drugs. If you wouldn’t give it to your baby, it’s best to get it out of your system before and during pregnancy so that it doesn’t affect your baby’s development.
Smoking before pregnancy can lead to higher chances of experiencing difficulty in conceiving and a higher risk of infertility compared to non-smoking women, according to a study by Betterhealth. Smoking during pregnancy can also result in low birth weight, premature birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Therefore, it is recommended to quit smoking, with earlier cessation being more beneficial. Ideally, quitting all tobacco use at least one to three months before conception is best. Those planning to quit should start at least a month in advance, while those using cessation assistance should allow enough time for the medication to work and then wean off at least a month before trying to conceive.
Get your blood tests done.
Getting blood tests done before trying to conceive is essential. These tests help identify any underlying health issues or infections that could affect fertility or harm the developing baby. For example, a blood test can reveal whether the woman has rubella immunity, which is essential for preventing congenital disabilities. Blood tests can also detect infections such as hepatitis B or C, which can be passed to the baby during delivery. Identifying these issues early on allows couples to take the necessary steps to protect their and their future baby’s health. Therefore, couples need to consult their healthcare provider and undergo a thorough blood test before trying to conceive.
Use the right lubricant.
Using the right lubricant can be important. Some types of lubricants can hinder sperm from reaching the egg by changing the pH balance of the vagina or even killing the sperm. So, choosing a lubricant that is safe for conception is essential. These lubricants are typically designed to mimic the consistency and pH of cervical mucus, making it easier for the sperm to swim toward the egg. Couples can increase their chances of getting pregnant by using a fertility-friendly lubricant. However, reading the label and ensuring that the lubricant is explicitly labelled as safe for use when trying to conceive is essential.
Just try to relax
It’s important to create a stress-free environment in your home. High-stress levels can negatively impact fertility, so creating a space to relax and unwind is important. Consider creating a designated space for relaxation, such as a meditation corner or a cosy reading nook.
Be with each other
Making time for each other is essential to any relationship, but it becomes even more important when trying to conceive. Trying to get pregnant can take a toll on a couple’s emotional health, and it’s easy to get so focused on the end goal that you forget about the journey. It’s important to take time to connect with your partner, both physically and emotionally. This means setting aside time to talk, listen, and support each other and engaging in activities that bring you closer together. Whether it’s a romantic dinner, a weekend getaway, or simply cuddling on the couch, making time for each other can help reduce stress and improve your chances of conceiving.
Consider therapy for fertility
Also, several psychological concerns can contribute to infertility in couples. For instance, stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma can all impact a couple’s ability to conceive. In such cases, therapy can be useful for addressing these issues and improving the chances of conception. Couple sex therapy, in particular, can be beneficial for couples who are struggling with infertility. This therapy focuses on improving communication, enhancing intimacy, and addressing physical or emotional issues hindering sexual function. By working with a qualified therapist, couples can learn new skills and techniques for improving their sexual relationship and increasing the likelihood of conception.
Creating a conception-friendly environment
Creating a conception-friendly environment is crucial for couples trying to get pregnant. Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and avoiding harmful substances can increase the chances of conception. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and practising good sleep hygiene can promote a healthy reproductive system. Couples should also consider seeking medical advice if conception does not occur after several months of trying. By making these lifestyle changes, couples can optimise their chances of conceiving and, ultimately, starting a family.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.