When my husband and I first started talking about bringing a little one into this world, we were both super young and our relationship was pretty green. Over the course of the next 5 years we would talk about it occasionally. Saying things like, “once I’m in my perfect job,” or “once we can buy a house.” But we started to realize if we just kept waiting for everything in our lives to be perfect, we’d never have kids. So one day, while holding my niece, I had a moment of clarity. This, this right here, me sitting here holding a beautiful little baby, this is what I want. No, this is what I need.
I discussed getting off birth control with my husband and he was all for it! So naturally, we wanted to have a baby RIGHT AWAY. What I didn’t realize until I started researching a little bit is that it can take up to a year after you quit birth control for your body to regulate itself again and for you to be fertile enough to conceive. A YEAR! Of course it’s different for everyone, could be longer, could be sooner. Regardless, here are 11 simple tips for you to boost your fertility.
Being a personal trainer, this is something I believe people should be doing all the time anyway, not just for fertility reasons. Eating a balanced diet is essential for your body to function at its highest capacity. ESPECIALLY in terms of your reproductive and endocrine(hormone) systems! A balanced diet consists of healthy fats(avocado/olive oil), lean proteins(chicken/fish), and complex carbohydrates(fruits/veggies). The ratios and amounts of these to be eaten per day differs for everyone depending on their needs.
It’s also important to make sure you are eating ENOUGH of a balanced diet every day! Becoming pregnant is a huge strain on your body so it’s important to be taking in enough calories every day to support your body’s needs.
Alcohol can have very adverse effects on your fertility levels. This applies to daddy-to-be too! In females, alcohol suppresses the adrenal gland, thus inhibiting certain hormones produced by this gland. This can lead to poor egg health and lowered libido. In males alcohol can actually reduce both the strength of his sperm as well as the number, making the chances of his little swimmers making it to your egg even slimmer.
So if you can, both you and hubby should cut out the booze, at least while trying to conceive. Of course, alcohol should be avoided completely once you do become pregnant!
I know, I know, “how very ‘personal trainer-y” of you!” But for real ladies! Becoming active does WONDERS for your fertility! It increases blood flow and circulation throughout your entire body. Exercise can also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing your libido. Plus, you feel better when you are active. And when you feel better, you feel more frisky. When you feel more frisky, you spend more time between the sheets making that beautiful baby!
Just be careful not to overdo it. While studies have shown that exercising for 1 hour, 3 times per week at a moderate level was shown to increase fertility, exercising too often or too intensely can lead to decrease in fertility. So as always, listen to your body. And if you don’t feel like hitting the gym, going for a walk or bike ride or doing some gentle yoga is plenty.
Ok, bare with me on this one. I’m not saying to cut out your morning coffee ritual. I’m simply suggesting that you maybe take it down a notch. Caffeine has lead to decreased fertility in both men and women. Why, you ask? Caffeine triggers your adrenal gland to secrete a hormone known as cortisol(the stress hormone). And while cortisol is actually beneficial in small doses, too much can lead to poor egg or sperm health, irregular menstrual cycles, and lack of deep sleep, among other things.
So go ahead and have that morning pick-me-up cup of joe, but try to limit it elsewhere. Some common places caffeine hides is in soft drinks, chocolate, black and green teas, energy drinks, cigarettes, and, of course, coffee.
If you’re eating a balanced diet and staying lightly to moderately active, this one should come with that. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for fertility because it ensures that all of your systems are working properly. Excess weight can lead to hormonal imbalances and complications with ovulation. It has also been directly linked to PCOS.
Unsurprisingly, being underweight can cause decrease in fertility for much the same reasons as being overweight. A healthy weight for conceiving a child is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9 BMI. If you’d like to know your BMI you can check out The Better Health Channel’s BMI Calculator.
Too much stress is a huge factor in decreased fertility. It can lead to irregular ovulation cycles, hormonal imbalances, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and lowered libido. All of these things make having a baby very difficult. If something is stressful to you, try to avoid it. If it can’t be avoided, try practicing some relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, getting enough sleep, getting a massage, or taking a bubble bath can all be great ways to unwind and de-stress. There are also lots of herbs and essential oils, such as lavender, that have been proven to relieve stress.
As I mentioned above, getting enough sleep is critical to keeping stress out of your life. When you are on a strict sleep schedule, it also helps to regulate your menstrual cycle and ovulation and boost libido. This makes it easier to plan the opportune time to have sex because you will know when you are at peak fertility. Plus when you are well rested, you tend to be a happier person.
Do I really need to elaborate on this one, Ladies? Smoking is terrible for you, whether you’re trying to have a baby or not. Second-hand smoke should also be avoided while trying to conceive as well as while pregnant. Smoking can lead to male infertility as well due to it’s effect on sperm quality and quantity. If you need more convincing on quitting smoking, see this article.
The elixir of life. Water does probably more for fertility than almost anything else. It ensures that all tissues and organs are well lubricated, it helps the endocrine system to produce and deliver hormones more efficiently, it aids in flushing toxins from your body, it is a natural anti-inflammatory, it regulates your moods, and boosts cervical mucus(making sex SO much more enjoyable). It’s also speculated that it increases egg health.
If you are taking in all of your essential vitamins and minerals through your food, this tip can be skipped. However, in today’s busy society it makes it difficult to make sure you are really getting EVERYTHING that you need out of your food. Mass production of food and the presence of pesticides also makes it difficult to make sure you’re getting all these essential micro nutrients. Find a multivitamin that is made from whole foods. Some essential vitamins and minerals for optimal fertility include zinc, folic acid, CoQ10, Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before taking a new medicine or supplement.
I know, I’m really twisting your arm on this one! The facts behind this one are simple. More sex=more opportunities for his sperm to meet your egg. Plain and simple. There are a couple really great apps to track your menstrual cycle and ovulation to make sure you guys are getting it on at the exact right times such as Glow and Ovia Fertility.
While having a lot of sex can increase your odds, make sure you’re not way overdoing it. Too much sex can actually decrease your man’s sperm count(for obvious reasons). Plus if you are stressing about having sex every day, it makes it feel more like a chore than a beautiful bonding experience between you and your partner.
So just relax, make love, eat healthy, stay active, and enjoy this journey you and your partner are on to creating your precious little babes. Always remember, when it is meant to happen, it will.
Take care, Lovelies!