Are you planning to expand your family soon? Did you know that infertility in women can be affected by diet and lifestyle? Making a few simple lifestyle changes now may boost your chances of conceiving. Take a look at five simple ways you can improve your fertility and your health.
Eat Healthier Foods
Making good food choices is important at every stage of your life, but it’s particularly crucial when you’re trying to get pregnant. Skip junk and processed foods and concentrate on whole grains and healthy fruits and vegetables. Women who get most of their protein from vegetables rather than meats may find it easier to get pregnant, according to a Harvard School of Public Health research study. Good sources of protein include:
- Pumpkin and chia seeds
Make Smart Fat Choices
Although you might think that choosing low-fat and skim milk and dairy products would be wise if you’re trying to conceive, full fat products are actually a better choice. The Harvard study also discovered that one or two servings per day of whole milk or products made with whole milk offer some protection against infertility.
Trans fats can increase infertility in women and should be avoided. These fats affect the way your body reacts to insulin, which can affect ovulation. Stay away from products made with trans fats, such as:
- Frozen pizza
- Stick margarine
- Non-dairy coffee creamer
- Peanut butter
- Fried fast foods
Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol doesn’t just affect a developing fetus, but can also impair your fertility, particularly if you also drink caffeinated beverages. Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health researchers discovered that women who drank less than one cup of coffee per day and no alcohol conceived 26.9 pregnancies per 100 menstrual cycles. Study participants who consumed any amount of alcohol and more than one cup of coffee per day conceived only 10.5 pregnancies per 100 cycles. Consuming alcohol and caffeine can be a problem whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or plan to undergo egg retrieval in preparation for IVF fertility treatment.
It’s a good idea to skip alcohol completely and limit caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams per day if you’re trying to conceive. One cup of coffee or two cups of tea contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
An unhealthy weight is among the causes of infertility in women. Although being overweight can make it more difficult to get pregnant, weighing too little can also cause a problem. According to one research study, women with body mass indexes (BMI) under 20 or over 24 were most likely to experience fertility problems. A healthy diet, combined with regular exercise, can help you reach your target weight if you’re overweight.
Don’t overdo dieting and exercise if you’re trying to get pregnant. Women who are too thin may have low levels of leptin, a hormone that controls appetite. When leptin levels drop, ovulation often stops temporarily. If you enjoy exercising, but your BMI is under 20, you may want to switch to a less vigorous activity while you try to conceive.
Smoking increases your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but it also impairs fertility. Your habit can lower egg production, increase genetic abnormalities in your eggs and raise your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Cigarette smoking causes up to 13 percent of infertility in women, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Smoking can also affect fertility in men. If both you and your partner stop smoking, you’ll raise your chances of conceiving.
Making lifestyle changes is a simple way to improve and preserve your fertility, particularly if you make more than one of the changes described above. Sometimes, no matter how healthy your lifestyle, problems with infertility in women still occur. Reproductive specialists offer a variety of treatments that can help you conceive, including IVF fertility treatment. Contact us to learn how we can help make your journey to parenthood a little easier.