by Dr Amin Gorgy, Fertility Consultant, The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, www.fertility-academy.co.uk
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Although this is easier said than done, it’s vital that you try to avoid high levels of stress when you’re trying to get pregnant. According to a study in the Journal of Human Reproduction, stress increases the risk of infertility, so try to reduce stress as much as possible to help increase your chances of conception.
Depending on your lifestyle, there are many ways in which you could reduce stress. If you have a high-pressure job, try delegating some of your workloads while you are trying for a baby. Even smaller lifestyle changes, such as including a yoga workout in your daily routine, can help to decrease stress levels.
There are many women who become stressed when trying for a baby or experiencing infertility issues. It’s important to realise that you are not alone in your struggle. Talking to other women who have gone through or are currently going through the same situation, whether through a support group or someone you know, can be therapeutic and help to ease your frustrations.
2. Eat a large meal at breakfast.
Foodies will be pleased to know that consuming most of your daily calories at breakfast can lead to a more regulated ovulation cycle and improved fertility.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Science conducted research using a sample of 60 women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Those who ate a large breakfast, a smaller meal at lunch and their smallest meal at dinner experienced an increased ovulation rate, as well as higher fertility levels.
Although this is very small sample size – and therefore conclusions drawn from the research are limited – I believe it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet so that your body can be in the best health for pregnancy.
It’s also vital that your partner is undertaking a vitamin-rich diet, as research in the Fertility and Sterility journal suggests that men who consume essential nutrients such as folic acid and zinc can increase sperm count.
3. Maintain a steady exercise regime.
It is well researched that the correct amount and type of exercise for your age, weight and ability will help increase fitness. When it comes to fertility and getting pregnant, a good level of physical fitness is key in creating a nurturing environment for your baby to develop.
Not only that, but exercise is known to have a positive effect on mood, and a better mood goes hand in hand with a less stressed mental state which, as mentioned earlier, is better for chances of getting pregnant. Conversely, excessive exercise can lead to issues such as amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstrual periods.
If your body is used to a certain amount of exercise and you are eating a suitable diet to accompany your fitness regime, then you shouldn’t need to worry about adjusting this area of your lifestyle for better chances of conception unless your doctor advises otherwise.
4. Stop smoking.
Smoking significantly increases the time it takes to get pregnant, and even passive smoking has a detrimental effect on both the male and female reproductive system, so it is best to avoid situations where you may be tempted to smoke or likely to intake large amounts of passive smoke.
5. Cut back on alcohol.
Consuming alcohol can reduce the chance of conception for women by over 50%. Even a moderate alcohol intake of five drinks or less per week may contribute to the risk of certain types of infertility. In men, excessive alcohol consumption interferes with hormone levels, affecting sperm quality and production.