Did you know that your nutritional intake, weight and even environmental toxins can influence your reproductive health? If you’re hoping to start a family soon, making some small changes to boost your fertility will not only give you the best chance of conceiving, but also help with the health of the baby once born. Here are some simple tips that can assist in increasing fertility in both men and women.
Eating well is vital to ensuring you are at your most fertile. Being either overweight or underweight can make conception more difficult as it can cause hormonal imbalances. So, ensure you have a balanced diet that helps maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). Do your best to avoid sugar and saturated fats, and be sure to eat plenty of lean protein, fruit and vegetables. These foods contain iron, zinc, and vitamins B and C, all of which are vital to fertility.
To maintain a healthy body weight, try to find time for at least 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise every day. There’s no need to overdo it – something as simple as going for a walk can make a big difference to your fitness.
Be Aware of the Fertility Window
The days leading up to ovulation are the most fertile ones in a woman’s menstrual cycle. This corresponds with the second week and the beginning of the third, in a 28-day cycle. During this time, the egg is moving down the fallopian tube, waiting to be fertilised. Therefore, intercourse before ovulation is more likely to result in pregnancy than at or after ovulation, as the sperm are ready and waiting for the egg.
Avoid Environmental Toxins
Both male and female fertility can be impacted by toxins. Pesticides, like those commonly used to control weeds on crops, often have harmful chemicals in them. If you work in the agricultural industry, or your partner does, then occupational pesticide exposure is a serious threat. Even if your profession has nothing to do with farming, research suggests that eating fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue can lower sperm count.
If you work with paints or diesel fumes, to name a couple, you need to be using protective face masks etc. Pollutants can cause DNA damage to sperm, so give them a wide berth while trying to conceive, or take all safety measures possible while using them.
Also, the use of plastics, including water bottles and take away containers, may have a negative impact on fertility.
It is common knowledge that pregnant women should not smoke, but the toxins found in cigarettes can also affect fertility in men and women when you are trying to conceive. Smoking can cause female ovaries to age prematurely, interfering with the egg implantation process. It can also impact on sperm count and quality.
Minimise Alcohol Intake
For women, alcohol consumption can increase the risk of miscarriage. The current Australian recommendation is that if you are pregnant or are planning to conceive, avoiding alcohol is the safest option.
For men, studies have shown that as little as one beer a day can affect the sperm, increasing the risk of miscarriage and reducing the chance of a live birth. Therefore, restrict alcohol intake if trying to conceive.
Other Factors to Consider
- Reduce stress levels
- Limit caffeine intake
- Avoid recreational drugs
- Increase folic acid (women) and zinc/antioxidant (men) supplements
- Avoid lubricants.
Watch Dr Neil Astill’s video for further advice.
Please note: This video may not be copied or used, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of City Fertility Centre © 2017.
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