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