The issue of ability to reproduce or conceive is of concern for married couples, especially those who have stayed together longer and have failed to get children. This raises suspicion of infertility. However, here are some ways you can boost your reproductive potential before worrying about infertility!
Staying well-nourished boosts your odds of conceiving! Make sure to include enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D in your diet, because deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to lengthened menstrual cycles (and therefore less frequent ovulation) and a higher risk of early miscarriage. Ask your doctor if you should take a daily multivitamin supplement. And be sure to eat protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and beans.
Cut down on alcohol consumption
Alcohol alters estrogen levels, which may interfere with egg implantation, although pouring an occasional glass of wine with your dinner is unlikely to harm fertility. You should also consider cutting back on caffeine while you try to conceive and during your pregnancy. The bottom line: If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, be a teetotaler and limit your daily java fix to 200 mg of caffeine per day. (That’s about one to two cups or 12 ounces of coffee.)
Watch Your Weight
Aside from the other risks it poses to your health, excess body fat can lead to an overproduction of certain hormones that disrupt ovulation. Your cycles may be less regular, you may ovulate less often, and you lower your chances of getting pregnant. On the flip side, too little body fat means your body may not produce enough hormones to ovulate each month or to sustain a pregnancy if you do conceive. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, but don’t overdo it. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your workout routine before trying to get pregnant.
Use pesticides with caution
Many pesticides and herbicides — chemicals used to kill insects and weeds that threaten crops — decrease male fertility and may affect female fertility by inhibiting ovarian function and disrupting the menstrual cycle. So if you’re looking to get pregnant, it’s always a good idea to eat organic fruits and vegetables, wash those with pesticide residues carefully, and avoid applying pesticides to your lawn or garden.
Cigarette toxins not only damage a woman’s eggs, interfering with the fertilization and implantation process, but also cause the ovaries to age. That means that the ovaries of a 20-year-old smoker function as though they belonged to a 45-year-old and are therefore less fertile.
Stress may hamper your fertility. Experts suspect that stress, like heavy exercise, may throw off your body’s hormone production, making your menstrual cycle less reliable. The same hormones are released when one is mentally stressed. But learning to manage stress through relaxation techniques (such as mindfulness meditation or yoga) or support from a counselor or a group, can get your hormones back on track!