Fertility is a challenge for many couples. Our fertility doctors in Raleigh are committed to helping you preserve and protect your fertility each and everyday. Did you know that one in six couples need help conceiving a child? There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. In this article we take a look at simple lifestyle changes that can make your journey to building a family successful.

Lifestyle Changes

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Both too much and too little body fat can lead to hormonal problems that interfere with the recruitment and release of eggs.  In addition to disrupting fertility, these problems can also lead to osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), uterine cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. depending on the type of hormonal imbalance. If you aren’t having regular predictable menstrual periods you should probably be under the care of a women’s health care provider.

Eat Clean and Fresh

Eat lots of natural foods, especially those high in natural protein, antioxidants and essential micronutrients.  Many Americans eat a lot of processed foods or foods with a high glycemic index / load, which strips the food of many nutrients and exposes us to repetitive mini-diabetic-like stressors.

No More Smoking

Smoking not only damages your lungs and your skin but it also has direct toxic effects on your sperm and eggs, which leads to infertility and premature reproductive aging.  It’s never too late to stop even if you have been smoking for a long time.   Research has shown that some of the damage is definitely reversible.

Reduce Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.  It isn’t necessary to completely cut out every one of life’s pleasures but moderation is important.  There is evidence that even moderately heavy caffeine intake may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Relax and Reduce Stress

Americans are among the safest people on the planet and yet as Taylor Clark documents in his book, Nerve, we are among the most stressed populations.  One of the chief causes of stress is a loss of control in your life and infertility creates a huge sense of a loss of control.  Women who have infertility demonstrate comparable levels of stress to women who are told that they have cancer.  You can put control into your life by developing a regular predictable routine that includes activities that you enjoy.  Spend time either alone or with friends exercising or relaxing with a good book, getting a massage, having acupuncture, etc.  High levels of stress can be unhealthy and disruptive to your reproductive rhythms.

Avoid Douching

As much as you may enjoy that super-clean feeling that goes along with the practice, it eliminates normal vaginal bacteria that protect you against various infections. Keeping your reproductive tract as healthy as possible is important.

Hydrate Daily

Drink plenty of water. This has many health benefits including increasing the elasticity of your skin, which will help you look great.

Diet Supplements

Diet supplements aren’t necessary if you are eating a healthy and a balanced diet. You may see advertisements touting the health and fertility benefits for a variety of several dietary and herbal supplements.  Prenatal vitamins are one type of dietary supplement that is proven to be safe and effective because when you get pregnant, the baby is going to need extra folic acid and iron.

There is also some early promising human data that a diet rich in antioxidants may improve sperm function and some preliminary data in animals that dietary supplements such as coenzyme Q may improve egg function.  New knowledge is constantly evolving so you should check with your doctor before you start taking any supplements, even natural ones because they can have powerful physiologic effects.  Each woman’s situation is different and your fertility and your baby are precious.

Keep A Journal

Dr. Walmer, an experienced fertility doctor in Raleigh, recommends keeping an ongoing record of your cycles including when you bleed, when you have intercourse and when you notice increased cervical mucus, i.e. the slippery fertile window.  This will help you to understand your body and its reproductive rhythms and help you get pregnant when the time is right.

Your fertile window is about 3-5 days just before ovulation and knowing when that is will help you either get pregnant, or not sometimes, if the time isn’t right.  For more reproductive tips feel free to make an appointment with your doctor or come to visit us for preconception counseling.  It’s an investment in the lives of your future children.