As we anticipate the Year of the Dragon, set to commence in the Lunar Calendar on the 10th of February, we invite you to explore the opportunities it brings, particularly for those wanting to expand their families. Dr. Kent Lin, a Fertility Specialist at City Fertility in Sydney CBD, shares valuable insights and tips for those looking to conceive during this remarkable year.
Year of the Dragon: A Year of Promise
In the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon embodies strength, courage, and good fortune. This majestic creature, which symbolizes intelligence and vitality, is believed to bless those born during this year with these very qualities.
Fertility and the Dragon: Seizing Opportunities
For couples looking to embark on the journey of parenthood this year, Dr. Kent Lin offers valuable advice on maximising your chances of conceiving successfully.
- Get the timing right
While 28-day cycles are the norm, with ovulation occurring on day 14, only 13% of women have 28-day cycles1. It is therefore important to monitor your cycle. Sperm will live for up to 3 days and eggs have a 12-hour period to be fertilised, so it is ideal to have sperm waiting for the egg to be released2. This translates to having unprotected sex every second day on average when trying for a baby, especially between days 8-18 of a woman’s cycle.
- Maintain a healthy weight through moderate exercise
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most influential factors in fertility for both men and women. Both partners should ideally aim to maintain a healthy BMI of between 18 – 25, as this is a healthy weight range in which the body functions best3.
While being overweight can be harmful when trying to fall pregnant, being underweight can be equally as problematic as the body needs some fat stores to support a healthy pregnancy. A BMI of less than 18, especially for women, can reduce the body’s ability to maintain regular reproductive cycles and ovulation.
To achieve or maintain a healthy weight, light to moderate exercise and a healthy balanced diet should be incorporated into both partner’s lifestyles.
- Eat well
It is recommended that people trying for a baby eat a healthy balanced diet that minimises processed food intake. This means avoiding food that is packaged where possible, as well as highly sugary or fatty foods. There is some evidence that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial, known for the region’s emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy fats and oils9.
- Take pre-natal vitamins
Taking pre-natal vitamins is a good idea as they ensure that the female body has all the nutrients needed for healthy foetal development should pregnancy occur. Fertility supplements for men are also available, although there is less evidence that these are effective3.
- Avoid smoking, recreational drugs, or excessive alcohol consumption
Smoking (including recreational drugs such as marijuana) is highly detrimental to both eggs and sperm. As a result, it is highly recommended that smoking be avoided completely. For those looking to quit smoking, it’s best to talk to a GP about quitting strategies.
While moderate alcohol consumption is fine before pregnancy occurs (roughly 1-2 standard drinks, 2-3 days a week), drinking in excess should also be avoided by both partners when attempting to fall pregnant. Similarly, moderate caffeine intake (1-2 cups a day) should have no adverse effects before pregnancy occurs.
When to seek medical advice
As a general rule, if a couple has been having unprotected sex regularly for six months (for women over 35) without a resulting pregnancy, it is a good idea to speak to a fertility specialist and undergo some initial tests, even if it’s just for peace of mind. Ultrasounds and semen analysis are relatively inexpensive tests that can rule out any potential concerns or provide further information regarding your options.
While fertility issues can be very difficult to spot without thorough testing, one indication that something may be amiss is an irregular menstrual cycle. A normal menstrual cycle occurs every 25-35 days, with day 1 being the first day of bleeding1. When trying for a baby, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on this and make note of any major irregularities.
To find out more about maximising your chances of conception, please visit our preconception care page or consult with one of our fertility experts.
Book an appointment
As you embark on this exciting journey into parenthood during the Year of the Dragon, we wish you health, happiness, and the fulfillment of your dreams. May this year bring you the blessings of fertility and the joys of new beginnings.
If you are ready to start your journey with us, consider booking an appointment with one of our fertility specialists. Reach out to our friendly fertility advice team today at 1300 354 354 or email us at email@example.com to secure your appointment.
- Bull, R., Rowland S., Berglund Scherwitzl, E., Scherwitzl, R., Gemzell Danielsson, K. and Harper, J. (2019). Real-world menstrual cycle characteristics of more than 600,000 menstrual cycles. Npj Digital Medicine. 2 (83)
- Suarez, D and Pacey, A. (2005). Sperm transport in the female reproductive tract. Human Reproduction Update. 12 (1); 23-37.
- Agarwal, A and Sekhon, L.H. (2010). The role of antioxidant therapy in the treatment of male infertility. Human Fertility. 13 (4); 217-225.
- Foucaut, A.M., Faure, C., Julia, C., Czernichow, S., Levy, R. and Dupont, C. (2019) Sedentary behaviour, physical inactivity and body composition in relation to idiopathic infertility among men and women. PLoS ONE. 14(4)
- Panth, N., Gavarkovs, A., Tamez, M., and Mattei, J. (2018) The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States. Frontiers in Public Health. 6 (1); 211.