Because it is not something you either have or don’t have, and you can increase your chances of conceiving. Here are some tips to boost your natural fertility:
1. Eating your way to pregnancy
Good nutrition for your own health is generally good for conception and pregnancy, too. Consider changing to an organic diet. If you can only afford one organic food, make it chicken. Non-organic chicken is raised on a diet of hormonal growth promoters that can seriously disrupt the female hormone system. It is also better to eat organic dairy, eggs and vegetables.
If you prefer to avoid animal products, don’t look to soy for your protein as the xeno-oestrogen can disrupt your hormonal balance.
Eat whole grains, a large variety of fruits and vegetables. It's a cliche (but for a reason) try for a rainbow of colours each day. Nuts and seeds are full of omega 3, zinc, vitamin E and protein - a much better way to get these than from supplements. Your body needs fats, so don’t fall into the low-fat trap. And while we’re on the subject of fats, avoid trans fats.
2. Not to heavy, not too light
Being significantly underweight or overweight can negatively affect your fertility. If you are underweight it can take four times as long to get pregnant. On the other hand, if you are overweight, insulin resistance may disrupt menstruation. Oestrogen production from fat cells can also affect the ovaries and prevent eggs from being released every month.
Gaining as little as five pounds can sometimes be enough to jumpstart ovulation and menstruation, or losing 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight is often enough to do the same. But no fad diets; it is better to begin healthy eating and exercise habits that will last you through your pregnancy and beyond.
3. Curb caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes
Most experts agree that limiting your intake to one to two cups of coffee should not affect your fertility. Remember that tea, cola and energy drinks all contain caffeine too.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause lack of ovulation, irregular menstruation and abnormalities of the lining of the womb. It can also alter oestrogen and progesterone levels. Moderate alcohol consumption hasn’t been well researched, but experts think it’s best to err on the side of caution and stop drinking alcohol as soon as you start trying to conceive.
Women who smoke enter menopause two years earlier than women who don’t, a clear sign that smoking is toxic to the reproductive system. Smoking is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
Smoking also affects men, lowering sperm quantity and quality. And he shouldn’t be subjecting you to second hand smoke while you’re trying to conceive. If you can give up, so can your partner!
4. Stay calm
I absolutely appreciate this is easier said than done, but managing stress levels can positively impact your fertility. Stress increases cortisol which can shut down your reproductive system. If you’re stressed, your body goes into fight, flight or freeze mode – none of which are conducive in nature to starting a pregnancy.
Another aspect of stress is that it can affect your relationship with your partner, making intimacy less likely. Yoga, meditation and regular walking can help alleviate anxiety and tension.
(check out the Yoga For Fertility section of my website for more info on special courses and classes)
There are therapies that can help boost your fertility, and many can work well together - including mizan therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, homoeopathy and yoga to name but a few.
Thanks to Bushra Finch for these top tips.