If you’re like most couples who are trying to conceive, you want to conceive sooner rather than later.
Having intercourse as close as possible to ovulation can definitely help. There are other ways men and women can boost their fertility. These simple measures can increase the chances that next month will be the month you’ll say: “We’re pregnant!”
Read on for some simple suggestions:
1. Manage your weight: Being under or overweight significantly affects fertility. Women who are underweight—with a body mass index (BMI) lower than 19 Kg/M2—take four times as long to get pregnant as women in the normal range (19 to 24 Kg/M2). On the other hand, women who are overweight may have insulin resistance, meaning that too much insulin circulates in the body, disrupting menstruation. Estrogen production from fat cells can also affect the ovaries and prevent eggs from being released every month—a condition called anovulation. If you’re too thin, gaining as little as five pounds can sometimes be enough to jumpstart ovulation and menstruation. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight is often enough to do the same. You can calculate your BMI by going to this website:
2. Manage your stress: In men, stress has been shown to affect fertility by both lowering sperm volume and raising the percentage of abnormal sperm. Women who are chronically stressed can produce less hormones that will prevent ovulation. Learn how to manage stress with exercise and meditation.
3. Stop smoking: Smoking has a negative effect on fertility for both men and women. Smoking is toxic to the reproductive system. Women who smoke go through menopause years before women who do not smoke. Smoking is also strongly associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, and women who smoke are more prone to ectopic pregnancies. Smoking matters for men, too. Men who smoke have lower sperm quality. If your partner smokes, he not only puts his sperm at risk, but he leaves you vulnerable to many of the same problems that plague women smokers. Stop smoking immediately and talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs and medications that may be right for you.
4. Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake: Caffeine’s role in fertility is one of those issues that surfaces every couple of years. The research is ongoing, and the verdict is still out. But as of now, most experts agree that as long as you limit your intake to less than 300 milligrams a day (the amount contained in two small cups of coffee plus a soda), your fertility shouldn’t be affected. Certainly excessive alcohol consumption has been linked with anovulation (no ovulation), amenorrhea (no periods), and abnormalities with the endometrial lining. Alcohol can also alter estrogen and progesterone levels. An occasional glass of wine is unlikely to affect your fertility, but many experts think it’s best to be on the safe side and forego alcohol as soon as you start trying to conceive
5. Work out Wisely: Now is not the time to go for the burn. Working out too much means you might not be able to produce good eggs. Exercise in moderation.
6. Take Supplements: Begin (or continue) taking either a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid. During the earliest weeks of pregnancy, before you may even realize you’re pregnant, the embryo’s neural tubes (the earliest version of the brain and spinal column) develop. Taking a supplement that contains folic acid will reduce the chance of defects. You and your partner can also consider taking a fertility supplement: www.coastscience.com has more information on the different supplements available. You can also get them from Dr. Aimee’s office.
7. Eat Right: You need to nourish yourself before you can begin nourishing a growing baby. Begin by choosing foods rich in whole grains. Choose a rainbow’s worth of colorful fruits and veggies every day. Choose foods high in omega-3s (from fish oils, canola oil, olive oil, and flaxseed). Eating salmon one or two times a week, or eggs fortified with DHA (a fatty acid found in fish oil that’s an important component in brain tissue) is a great way to get your omega-3s.
Hope this helps!