How A Lifestyle Change Can Boost Fertility

How A Lifestyle Change Can Boost Fertility

Babies on your mind? Then you should pay attention to your body and the various lifestyle factors which impact health. Most fertility issues are linked to hormones which can be traced back to your growing years and early 20’s. If you are in the baby-bearing age, irrespective of whether you are male or female, your fertility can be improved by making some easy lifestyle changes to boost fertility which will also improve your overall health.

What is infertility?

Before we decide if we or anyone we know is infertile, it is essential to understand what fertility is. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sex.
Fertility in women is directly linked with age and is known to rapidly decline after the age of 35 years. In men, age is linked to semen quality and motility and their likelihood of having children declines with age.

Lifestyle changes to boost fertility

If you are planning to have a child anytime soon, we suggest you make these lifestyle changes to boost fertility so you can bring your bundle of joy home sooner.

#1. Maintain an ideal weight

Weight is directly linked to fertility in women. Fat cells also produce some amount of estrogen which regulates ovulation. An ideal body weight means the right amount of estrogen is produced. In overweight women, excess fat cells produce excess estrogen which interferes with ovulation. Being underweight means insufficient estrogen is produced which again interferes with ovulation.

In men, being overweight reduces the level of testosterone and impacts sperm quality. Overweight men can also suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED)

It is important for both the men and women trying to conceive to be in the ideal weight range with the ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) being between 18.5 to 24.9.

Also read: 10 Simple Yoga Asanas To Increase Female Fertility

#2. Exercise

For all adults, especially those overweight and obese, exercise can help maintain weight or achieve a modest weight loss which improves general health and fertility. Adults in the healthy weight range should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Overweight adults should get 225 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week (about 35 to 45 minutes per day). Moderate exercise has many benefits for adults trying to conceive, while vigorous exercise has been shown to be detrimental.

  • PCOS in women: For overweight and obese women with PCOS regular exercise can increase the frequency of ovulation which leads to more regular menstrual cycles. As ovulation becomes more frequent, the chance of conceiving increases.
  • Sperm quality: Obesity in men can reduce sperm quality and fertility. Regular moderate exercise can help men lose weight or stay in a healthy weight range and thereby improve sperm quality.
  • Moderate exercises: The best exercises when you are trying to conceive are walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, pilates or tai chi.
  • Vigorous exercises have a negative impact fertility in women by disrupting ovulation: These include running, spinning, Bikram yoga or vigorous aerobic exercise which should be avoided if you are trying to conceive.

#3. Eat fertility boosting foods

Certain vitamins and minerals are shown to boost fertility and should be included in your diet.

  • Folic Acid: This B-complex vitamin is an absolute must for anyone trying to get pregnant. It is recommended that women in the reproductive age group must consume 400 mcg of folic acid a day. Eat foods rich in Folic acid like citrus fruits, whole grains and green, leafy vegetables, beans and fortifies bread, cereal or pasta.\
  • Vitamin D: Research has shown that women with normal levels of vitamin D are likely to conceive. Eat foods rich in vitamin D like fortified dairy products, salmon, mackerel, tuna, cod liver oil. Getting enough sun exposure also helps in boosting your vitamin D levels
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is essential for both men and women for conception. Vitamin E improves the quality of sperm production in men. In women, vitamin E can increase cervical mucus, making it easier for sperm to stay alive for longer. Include foods rich in Vitamin E like seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter and green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli in your diet.
  • Zinc: Zinc is especially important for men as it contributes to sperm production. In women, it helps in ovulation and regulating the menstrual cycle. Both men and women who are trying to conceive should consume zinc-rich foods like eggs, Oysters, whole grain, dairy, legumes, beans, crabs, and lobsters.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids are a conception superfood. In women, they help release eggs, increase blood flow to the uterus and balance out the hormones. In men, a higher level of these acids increases sperm quality and motility. The best way to get Omega 3 Fatty acids is by consuming fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, nuts and seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts and fortified food.

#4. Reduce stress

Research has indicated the relationship between stress and the ability to conceive. Women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that marks stress, took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to those who had less. Also, stressed couples have sex less frequently. For couples who are battling infertility, each unsuccessful month leads to an increase in stress. To combat stress, practice yoga coupled with breathing exercises.

Also read: Top 10 Foods to Increase Male Fertility (Sperm Count)

#5. Limit caffeine

Are unlimited cups of coffee fuelling your day? Then maybe you should cut back especially if you are looking at getting pregnant. Dutch research of 9000 women with fertility issues conducted in 2008 found that those who drank four or more cups of coffee, or any other caffeinated drink on a daily basis were 26 percent less likely to get pregnant. Researchers recommend a limit of 50 mg of caffeine a day which is one 6-ounce cup of brewed coffee or two teas.

#6. Quit smoking

Both men and women who smoke take a longer time in conceiving. Studies show that smoking increases your chance of infertility by 13%. The chemicals in cigarettes damage eggs and sperm and can affect a baby’s health by causing birth defects.

#7. Lubricants

Some over-the-counter female lubricants contain a small amount of spermicide which can in-turn affect sperm motility. Buy a fertility friendly, natural lubricant to help you conceive. Some natural oils like olive, canola, mustard, and baby oils are also sperm-friendly lubricants.

#8. Get enough sleep

Sleep not only makes you well rested and productive, but also increases fertility. Getting enough quality sleep has a positive effect on the reproductive hormones a woman produces, including progesterone, estrogen, and Follicle-Stimulating Hormones (FSH).

The blue light from screens like phones, computers or other devices also affect the sleep-wake cycle and suppress melatonin which plays a role in protecting the egg and in turn affects egg quality. You should put away your devices and limit TV viewing to at least an hour before bedtime.

Also read: How Do Fibroids Affect Pregnancy And Fertility

Incorporating a healthier lifestyle should make you generally healthier, fitter and more fertile. Despite all the changes, if you struggle with getting pregnant for more than a year, it might be time to consult your doctor.

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