Nine Ways To Boost Your Fertility Naturally
Are you planning, trying, or struggling to conceive? When it comes to improving fertility, the key is to balance hormones, improve egg quality, and minimize the risk of loss. Below are 9 simple and natural ways that you can improve your fertility. For a more comprehensive fertility plan, always talk with your Naturopathic Doctor.
- Cycle Tracking – being aware of your menstrual cycle can give you a lot of useful information! By tracking your basal body temperature (BBT), changes in cervical mucus, and using ovulation strips, you can easily predict if and when you ovulate. It can also inform you whether the second half of your cycle is likely to support a healthy pregnancy. Stay tuned for more details on cycle tracking in an upcoming post.
- Ditch Your Lube – since most lubricants contain spermicide (ie sperm killing chemicals) and change the pH of the vagina, you will want to switch to a fertility-friendly lube (such as preseed) when trying to conceive. If you experience vaginal dryness or difficulty lubricating down there, it is important to get your hormones tested! This is a sign that your hormones might be imbalanced, which could impact your chances of success.
- Healthy Diet – you are likely aware that there are certain foods you should avoid when pregnant. These are high-risk food for bacterial contamination, which can cause severe food poisoning and could lead to miscarriage. In the preconception phase, you will want to focus on nutrients that balance hormones, improve egg quality, and ensure healthy blood sugar. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Healthy Fats – these include olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, as well as fatty fish (wild salmon and rainbow trout), which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They decrease inflammation, balance blood sugar, and make healthy hormones!
- Protein – these include both plant and well-raised animal sources. Protein keeps you satisfied and reduces blood-sugar dips through the day so you aren’t left “hangry” or tired between meals.
- Fiber – this is important for healthy digestion and blood sugar balance. Foods with higher fiber also keep you satisfied between meals and prevent blood sugar dips. Frequent blood sugar spikes can lead to insulin resistance and prevent ovulation. Focus on fiber-rich vegetables and fruit for the most nutrients per bite!
- Quality Sleep – getting enough sleep plays an important role in balancing hormones and reducing stress. To improve your sleep quality, start winding down an hour before bed. Avoid phone, tablet, computer, and TV screens in this timeframe, as the blue light can trick your brain into thinking it is still daylight. This may affect your natural sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, or just have an overall restful sleep.
- Exercise – keeping a regular exercise routine promotes blood flow through the body and balances blood sugar levels. Aim for 30-60 minutes of mild-moderate exercise daily. Walking, biking, and yoga are all great forms of movement that are safe and easily accessible to most.
- Relaxation – keeping stress levels down at this time is important, yet often difficult for couples. If you have been trying for a while, it is easy to be overcome with frustration. Work on relaxing in a way that you enjoy (together or on your own). This could be regular walks in nature, a yin/restorative yoga class, or even guided meditation (there are several free apps you can download on your phone). Make sure you practice relaxation several days per week to keep you feeling happy and healthy.
- Acupuncture – when following the traditional Chinese medicine method, regular acupuncture regulates periods, improves egg quality and endometrial lining, while reducing stress. In fact, acupuncture has improved pregnancy and live-birth rates in many clinical trials and is often paired with IUI and IVF fertility treatment. The ideal treatment plan would include weekly acupuncture sessions for women trying to conceive, as well as pre- and post-transfer acupuncture with IUI and IVF.
- Alcohol – the best advice for fertility is to avoid this one altogether. There is no safe amount of alcohol when trying to conceive. We used to recommend that women avoid alcohol only when pregnant; however, the research is now showing that alcohol in the 12 weeks prior to conceiving can significantly reduce your chances of success and may cause miscarriage. This applies to both the male and female partner, as it impacts sperm and egg quality.
- Caffeine – this is another tough one. While I am not generally the Naturopath to take your coffee away (moderation is key, of course!), it is important to limit the amount of caffeine you consume when trying to conceive. In Canada, the total acceptable caffeine intake is 250mg for pregnant women. This includes coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate. However, studies are now finding that caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage, even pre-conception. If you are trying to conceive, you may want to rethink your morning cup of coffee or tea. Herbal teas (rooibos, ginger, chamomile, peppermint) make good alternatives.
Want to learn more about optimizing your fertility? Let’s work together. Click here [https://healthoverall.janeapp.com/#/staff_member/18] to get started.
Dr Meghan McNaughton, ND