Trying to conceive can be an exciting yet stressful time in both a man and a woman’s life. Some are able to get pregnant immediately and for some it takes what seems like forever.
Whether you are trying to conceive your first or tenth child, there are some simple things you can do to boost your fertility.
The 10 best ways to boost fertility are:
1: Maintain a healthy weight
Ideally, most women would love to be the “perfect weight” but whatever ideal is to you may not be ideal for your fertility.
If you are on either side of the spectrum, overweight or underweight, conceiving may become a challenge.
Weight can affect hormonal regulation and thus affect ovulation. Maintaining a healthy body weight can help regulate normal ovulation and increase the probability of conceiving.
2: Keep sperm healthy
What came first, the sperm or the egg? Most women concentrate on the health of their eggs, timing of ovulation, and egg quality however you cannot forget the importance of those helpful little swimmers – sperm.
Quantity, movement, and structure are all important components of sperm health, but there are also some things to do and avoid to maintain healthy sperm.
In an attempt to keep sperm healthy, men are encouraged to maintain a healthy body weight, eat a healthy diet, prevent sexually transmitted diseases, manage stress, and exercise.
Avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding toxins such as pesticides and chemicals are all steps that can be taken to promote sperm health.
Keeping the scrotum cool is a topic of debate and research is not conclusive on the effect of heat and sperm production, however, it cannot hurt to take some proactive steps to possibly protect sperm.
Consider wearing loose-fitting underwear, spend less time sitting, avoid heat sources such as saunas, hot tubs, and laptops and cell phones placed near the scrotum.
3: Prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Avoidance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is recommended to not only protect your overall health but also your fertility.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia in particular cause fertility problems in both men and women.
There are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of contracting an STD. Consider the consistent use of condoms and limiting the number of people you have sex with.
If you are in a mutually monogamous relationship, make sure your partner has been tested and does not have an STD.
4: Have sex
If you are in a heterosexual relationship and trying to conceive, have sex (vaginal) and a lot of it, especially during a woman’s fertile time of the month.
On average, the most fertile days of a woman’s menstrual cycle include the 5 days prior to ovulation (release of an egg), the day of and 2-3 days following ovulation.
Having sex every day or two will increase your chances of catching that fertile time, as opposed to less frequent intercourse.
5: Consider which lubrication you use
Some couples may require lubrication for intercourse, but not all lubes are created equal.
Lubricants can be either purchased at the store or found in our own kitchens. If you are looking for a “home remedy” consider using baby oil, canola oil or egg whites.
When purchasing over-the-counter lubricants, consider Pre-Seed, a lubricant that “was designed to mimic fertile cervical mucus in its pH, ion concentration and consistency. Pre-Seed is glycerin-free to allow sperm to swim freely and formulated with antioxidants to help support sperm on their journey to fertilize the egg.”
Sperm motility can be inhibited by up to 100% when water-based lubricants, such as Astroglide, KY Jelly and Touch are used.1 However, Astroglide TTC has been created especially for partners who want to become parents. The formula is water-based, and has been clinically tested and shown not to impede sperm motility.
6: Drink alcohol wisely
Both men and women need to exercise caution in choosing beverages in order to increase their chances of improved fertility.
In men, alcohol in excess can decrease the production of testosterone, cause impotence and contribute to a decrease in sperm produced by the body.
In women, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to certain ovulation disorders, and this affects their ability to conceive.
While there is no cut and dry determination of alcohol consumption and female infertility, one Swedish study reported a 60% decrease in fertility in women who consumed two alcoholic beverages per day.
7: Minimize coffee consumption
In addition to adult alcohol consumption, caffeine can play a role in infertility when 500 milligrams or more are consumed daily; this equates to about 5 cups of coffee per day.
8: Do not smoke
We all know that smoking is bad for our general health, but did you know that it can also affect your ability to become pregnant?
Smoking in men can lead to decreased sperm production, decrease motility and cause DNA damage and in women, it can also prematurely age the ovaries.
9: Stop excessive exercise
While exercise is good for your overall health, when trying to conceive, vigorous exercise can be more harmful than good.
Excessive (more than 5 hours per week), vigorous exercise can lead to fertility problems due to suppression of both ovulation and the hormone progesterone.
Everyone has differing fitness expectations and levels of physical activity, so speaking to your health care provider is important to determine how much physical activity is OK for you.
10: Beware of toxins
Everywhere you look, there is some type of toxic chemical to beware of and certain chemicals can contribute to male and female infertility.
Men and women exposed to pesticides, lead, and organic solvents may experience fertility problems.
Certain professions such as printers, dry cleaners, industrial or agricultural workers, hair stylists and dental assistants may increase their risks of infertility due to exposure to certain job-related chemicals.