Written by Dr Raewyn Teirney.
Improve your fertility naturally, with these simple lifestyle tweaks, which may help you conceive a baby without medical intervention! In fact, being in a state of optimal health plays an important role in increasing fertility and boosting your chance of natural conception.
Improve Your Fertility With Folic Acid
According to WHO guidelines and RANZCOG (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) recommendations, women who are trying for a baby should take a vitamin supplement containing folic acid and iodine.
Medical experts recommend all women trying to conceive, who are pregnant or are breastfeeding take an iodine supplement of 150 micrograms (μg) daily. Folic acid is a B group vitamin and is essential for neural tube development during the first 12 weeks of foetal growth. Recent studies have also shown that Folic Acid can not only improve your fertility but speed up your chances of conception! As well as taking supplements, you should be eating plenty of folate-rich veggies, such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and cereals fortified with folate.
I also advise my male patients to increase their intake of antioxidants and selenium, zinc, and garlic, as these support male fertility and sperm health.
See Your GP
Have your doctor assess your medical history. He or she can perform an antenatal blood test to screen for pre-existing medical concerns. They should also review any medications you might be on that could interfere with natural conception.
Enjoy A Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
Eating a nutritious, clean, well-balanced diet will help to ensure that you are consuming the right blend of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It will also you maintain an ideal weight, which is important to support natural conception. On that note, maintaining a healthy weight - for both men and women – is known to improve your chance of natural conception. The best way to determine this is by checking your Body Mass Index. The ideal Body Mass Index is between 19 and 24/25.
Get To Know & Understand Your Menstrual & Ovulation Cycles
Knowing your cycle will help you understand your most fertile times each month and make it easier for you to accurately predict when you’re ovulating. There are many ways you can do this:
- Monitor your basal body temperature using a high-speed digital thermometer. When women with a regular menstrual cycle are ovulating, their temperature drops by about 0.2degrees Celsius, followed by a rise in temperature that stays high for two weeks before menstruation when it drops again.
- Check for a surge in Luteinising Hormone (LH). A simple urine test can detect the surge in your body, which indicates that you are ovulating and at your most fertile.
- Check your cervical secretions. When you are ovulating, they will be clear, thin, slippery, and stretchy.
- You may also notice that your breasts are tender and swollen, your sex drive increases, you experience lower abdomen pain on either side, you are bloated, and you may even get pimples or acne.
Have Sex Up Two Or Three Times Per Week
We now know that frequent ejaculation helps maintain sperm health. With this in mind, don’t save sexual encounters only for when you are most fertile. Spice things up in the bedroom and enjoy sex a few times each week!
Smoking is directly related to poor reproductive health in both males and females. It is one of the most detrimental lifestyle risk factors and compromises egg and sperm quality. If you’re having trouble giving it up, visit Help To Quit
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
We also know that excessive alcohol intake causes direct damage to egg and sperm quality and can harm the foetus during early pregnancy. It is recommended that both men and women limit their alcohol intake to one glass each day and that women abstain altogether during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Enjoy Quality Sleep
Getting plenty of rest and giving your body time to recuperate is important for both fertility health and during pregnancy. Not only that, if you are tired, you are less likely to track your fertility window and a lot less likely to want to have sex, or indeed enjoy it when you do. Aim for eight hours of quality sleep each night.