How can lifestyle affect fertility?
Your lifestyle is an important factor in your fertility. It is something that you should consider when trying for a baby.
One such factor is weight. In women, obesity is associated with an increased risk of almost all pregnancy complications including miscarriage, stillbirth, gestational diabetes, and difficulty with labour and birth. Overweight women can also struggle to ovulate regularly without assistance.
However, it is also important not to fall into the trap of rapid weight loss. Rapid dieting can be detrimental to long-term reproductive health. Weight loss should be achieved sensibly and slowly so that the weight stays off.
Being underweight also has significant effects on ovulation as well, and, if pregnancy is achieved, can be associated with growth restriction in the baby.
Men are also not off the hook! Obesity is linked to hormonal changes, inflammatory changes, and oxidative stress, which cause lower sperm counts, sperm DNA fragmentation, and other male problems with fertility.
Can environmental factors affect fertility?
Smoking, drinking, and using recreational drugs all have well-documented negative consequences on fertility. There is now mounting evidence that our daily exposure to hazardous substances may have long-lasting impacts on our ability to reproduce.
Plasticisers (substances that keep plastics flexible) have been linked to a variety of harmful health effects, including altered reproductive development and problems with male fertility. For instance, Bisphenol A, an endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemical found in hard plastics, can have long-term effects on the development of eggs and sperm.
Does stress affect fertility?
There is a complicated link between stress and infertility and there is conflicting evidence to support their link. However, we do see that techniques like acupuncture and mindfulness can help with stress reduction, and that pregnancy occasionally follows.
Can exercise help increase fertility?
Exercise not only keeps you at a healthy weight, but it also promotes a healthier you by building muscle, boosting circulation, lowering stress levels, preventing anxiety, and reducing tension. It is generally accepted that regular moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes 3 times per week, keeps you fit and healthy.
Strength training also helps muscles maintain strength to support your body. Great exercise for those trying to fall pregnant includes brisk walking, swimming, yoga, aerobics, cycling and jogging.
Remember not to overdo it though; severe activity may affect your fertility adversely so balancing is preferable. You should also consult with your fertility professional to determine what is best for you.
Can diet affect fertility?
You won’t be surprised to learn that a balanced diet including dairy, fruit, vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates is advised.
Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 (folate), Vitamin D, Zinc, vital fatty acids, and beta-carotene are some of the substances that have been linked to improved fertility. When trying for a baby, every little bit counts.
Another essential factor is hydration. Cervical mucus may be affected by dehydration. Cervical mucus aids in sperm transportation and protection as it travels to the fallopian tubes to fertilize eggs. The more hydrated your cervical mucus is, the simpler it will be for sperm to pass through. Dehydration can also have an impact on sperm count and quality.