Trying to get pregnant? Ladies, here are 5 ways to naturally improve your fertility

  • 3 Minutes Read

You live a healthy lifestyle, are ready to start a family, and desire healthy ways to improve fertility. Make sure you do everything you can to optimize your health naturally before getting pregnant.

Ways to improve fertility

1. Achieving a healthy body weight is a proven way to improve fertility

Overweight

Weight is an indicator of health, and this rings true if you are trying to get pregnant. The Harvard Nurses' Health Study found that overweight women took twice as long to get pregnant as women whose weight was classified as healthy for their height. Excess body fat can impact the balance of estrogen and progesterone. In addition, excess body fat can negatively impact ovulation and menstrual cycles. If you are overweight, losing weight can be one of the best ways to improve your fertility.

Underweight

Underweight women don't fare well with fertility, either. The same study found that underweight women took four times as long to get pregnant as normal weight women. So, if you are underweight, achieving a healthy body weight is among the significant ways to improve fertility.

Seek your doctor's advice to decide on a target weight goal. Once you choose a target, keep track of things like your food, drink, exercise, water, supplements, etc. using an online tracker such as MyNetDiary. It's a streamlined way to track progress, monitor health parameters, and avoid nutrient gaps.

2. Smoking, alcohol, and fertility

Smoking

Be proactive and quit smoking before trying to conceive. Research shows that women who smoke have a harder time getting pregnant. Chemicals in cigarette smoke impact overall egg health and decrease the total number of eggs produced over a woman's lifetime. These chemicals can pass to a developing fetus, increasing the risk of premature birth and congenital disabilities. In addition, smoking can damage the DNA in the chromosomes of both the developing egg and sperm.

Alcohol

Drinking large amounts of alcohol can make it harder to get pregnant. However, the evidence is mixed as to the impact of small quantities of alcohol on fertility. If you are trying to get pregnant, talk with your doctor for individual guidance on how alcohol fits into your preconception plan.

Once pregnant, alcohol consumption has harmful impacts on the developing fetus. The CDC, the U.S. Surgeon General, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise all women to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.

3. How does exercise fit in?

For general health, most health organizations recommend that all adults get between 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) each week. In addition, every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum of two days a week.

Exercise provides many benefits. It can help manage stress, improve mood, enhance blood flow, lower blood sugar levels, and encourage healthy sleep patterns. If you are overweight and want to get pregnant, exercise is essential for obtaining and maintaining a healthy body weight.

On the other hand, engaging in too much high-intensity activity negatively impacts fertility. Exercising too much can place strain on your body and may result in the loss of menstrual cycles. If you play competitive sports and/or routinely push your body to exhaustion, you'll want to scale back your activity before trying to conceive. Talk with your doctor to find out the best type of exercise, duration, and intensity that will provide you with health benefits and not upset your fertility balance.

4. Manage your stress to improve fertility

Trying to get pregnant can add additional stress to your life. Women who struggle with infertility report greater levels of anxiety and depression. Yet, the evidence is mixed as to exactly how much high-stress levels impact pregnancy rates.

We do know that stress raises blood pressure, can lead to headaches, and disrupts sleep. Why not set yourself up for good habits now by learning ways to prevent and manage day-to-day stress? Find something you enjoy doing that helps you unwind at the end of the day. Many people find that yoga, deep breathing, and acupuncture help them manage stress. For additional ideas, click here.

5. Best foods to improve fertility

Among the ways to improve fertility, eating healthfully may have some of the best long-term advantages. In couples undergoing Invitro Fertilization (IVF), the Mediterranean diet showed a positive association with folate and vitamin B6 levels with a 40% increase in the possibility of pregnancy. The Mediterranean diet boasts numerous health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, this eating plan emphasizes high amounts of vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, and olive oil, while limiting red meat and sugar.

Researchers at Harvard University found that women with ovulatory infertility who followed the eating plan below improved their ovulation. The top components of their "fertility diet" included:

Experts would agree that such healthy lifestyle habits are essential to adopt if you desire to become pregnant. And yet, the field of fertility medicine is advancing rapidly. Make appointments for yourself and your partner to each see your doctor for a "preconception" visit. Ask them about the latest fertility improvements. Discuss any current medications you are taking because certain medications are harmful to the developing fetus and should be stopped well before becoming pregnant. Also discuss other possible ways to improve fertility naturally.

Related topics

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Did you know that stress can directly impact your diet?

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Meal Planning & Diets->Healthy Eating Other Health Issues->Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Oct 18, 2021
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

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