I wanted to set out some clear pointers on lifestyle as it often affects the chances of pregnancy for couples.
Weight and BMI
When it comes to looking at fertility and women’s health, we take weight seriously in women, obesity is associated with 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, weight loss though rapid dieting can also be detrimental to long-term reproductive health. Weight loss should be achieved “sensibly and slowly” so that the weight stays off.
Being underweight has significant effects on ovulation as well, and, if pregnancy is achieved, can be associated with growth restriction in the baby.
Men haven’t been let off the hook, their weight can play a part too. Obesity is associated with hormonal effects, inflammatory changes and oxidative stress, leading to low sperm counts, fragmentation of sperm DNA and other fertility issues
The effects of cigarettes, alcohol and recreational drugs on reproductive health are well known. There is increasing evidence that exposure to harmful substances in our everyday environment may have long-reaching effects on our ability to reproduce.
Plasticisers (substances that keep plastics flexible) have been linked to multiple adverse health effects, including altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. Bisphenol A in hard plastics for example is an “endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemical that can have trans-generational effects on egg and sperm development.
My tip? Don’t use plastic wrap or plastic containers when heating food in the microwave.
Take out stress
The relationship between stress and infertility is complex, and the evidence around this is conflicting but we do see that approaches such as mindfulness and acupuncture can work with stress reduction, and that pregnancy sometimes follows.
Did you know; At our fertility peak, natural intercourse has a maximum chance of pregnancy of only about 25 per cent per month?
Not only does exercise help you keep a healthy weight, it also strengthens muscle, increases circulation, reduces stress, prevents anxiety and promotes a healthier you. It is generally accepted that regular moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes 3 times per week, keeps you fit and healthy. A bit of strength training also helps muscles maintain strength to support your body. Great exercise for those trying to fall pregnant include brisk walking, swimming, yoga, aerobics, bike riding and jogging.
Remember not to overdo it though; extreme exercise may also affect your fertility adversely so balanced is best. It’s also advised that you speak to your fertility specialist about what is best for you.
Drink enough water
Our bodies are about 60% water and we need between 3.7 litres (for men) and 2.7 litres (for women) per day to stay hydrated. This includes all fluids such as water, juice, coffee, tea and water-rich foods. Take it easy on the caffeinated drinks though, too much caffeine isn’t good for you.
So why is it so important to stay hydrated to ensure fertility– apart from the obvious health reasons?
Dehydration can affect cervical mucus. Cervical mucus helps to transport and protect sperm to the fallopian tubes for egg fertilisation. The more hydrated your cervical mucus is, the easier sperm can travel through it.
Not wanting to leave the blokes out of the picture, dehydration can also affect sperm count and quality. Stay hydrated!
I often suggest buying yourself a 2-3 litre jug or water bottle and making your way through it every day. This way, you’ll know how much of the good stuff you’ve had.
Sleep like a baby
It may sound like a no-brainer but it’s true that our bodies need good quality sleep to function properly. While we sleep our bodies repair, rejuvenate and regulate our hormones. I’m not advocating how many hours you should have as each person is different but so long as you are getting enough good quality sleep for you to feel rejuvenated in the morning, it will really help!
Try turning off your phone, avoiding social media, emails and any technology related activity in the boudoir. Easier said than done I know, but it works.
Bedrooms are for sleeping, reading and making babies.
You are what you eat
It won’t surprise you that a healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates and dairy is recommended. Including these sustenance standouts that have been known to help with fertility: Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 ( folate),Vitamin D, Zinc, essential fatty acids and beta carotenes.
Every little bit counts when you’re trying for a baby. Ask yourself these questions and see how many you are including in your daily routine already. If you feel you are doing all the right things and have been trying to conceive for over 6-12 months, you may want to talk to us about your options.
We provide tailored treatment and care for individuals trying to have a baby. For more information or to book a consultation with Miss Dixit, call 01243 884553.