While some couples seem to be able to conceive by barely even looking at each other, others can often take a while. Before going through expensive testing to see if there is anything wrong with either or both of you, or jumping right into complicated procedures, it may be worth trying a few natural alternatives to help with fertility.
Female Fertility Boosters
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Making a few changes to a woman’s diet and lifestyle can have a bigger effect on her fertility than you might imagine. According to WebMD, the healthier you are, the better your chances to conceive. Here are a few things that have been found to have significant impact.
- Track your ovulation. WebMD says that most couples wait until the day of ovulation, or later, to have intercourse. When actually, pregnancy is most likely to result from intercourse within the three days before ovulation, so they should be having it a little earlier. Ovulation is usually about 14 days before a period, so you can use a calendar or get an ovulation calculator kit.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Women who are considered overweight or obese can take up to twice as long to get pregnant. However, women who are underweight can take even longer. Although a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, women with a BMI of under 19 can take four times as long to get pregnant.
- Coffee and alcohol in moderation. A cup of coffee or two is fine. Fertility doesn’t seem to be affected by less than 5 cups of coffee a day, or the equivalent caffeine in soda. The rule of thumb is to keep caffeine below the 200 to 250 milligrams a day. Alcohol is a different story. One drink a day is fine, two can reduce your fertility by almost 60%.
- Drink milk. com says that “Women who consume at least one daily serving of whole milk are more than 50% less likely to experience infertility than women who consume less than one serving of whole milk per week.”
- Exercise…but not too much. com also mentions that a 2012 study co-authored by Lauren Wise, ScD suggests thin women who exercise strenuously for at least 5 hours a week are 42% less likely to conceive than those who exercise less vigorously. While Medical Daily cites a study which found that 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week can increase ovulation.
- Try not to stress. Multiple unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant can be extremely frustrating and disappointing, turning the whole experience into vicious cycle of stress. It is important for a woman’s hormones to be in balance when trying to conceive, and the stress hormone cortisol knocks them all out of whack. Medical Daily suggests finding a peaceful place to take a few deep breaths whenever you need to relieve the level of stress and tension in your body.
- Take Prenatal Vitamins. Fertility specialist Gloria Richard-Davis, M.D., coauthor of Planning Parenthood, told com, “Eating healthy will raise your chances of conceiving and prenatal vitamins help fill in any holes in the mother’s diet.” She says to make sure the one you choose has B6, because it’s been shown to increase fertility.
- Eat the right things at the right time. Yes, you should try to eat as healthy as possible while trying to get pregnant, but there are actually foods to watch out for at different times of your cycle. For instance, com advises you to stay away from acidic foods during ovulation because they can make your cervical mucus hostile to sperm.
Instead of having alcohol, coffee, processed foods and meat, you should have carrots, green veggies, eggs, whole grains and lots of water. Water helps to thin your cervical mucous, allowing sperm to reach their destination more easily.
Male Fertility Boosters
Difficulties conceiving are not always because of a problem on the woman’s side. There are a few factors men should be aware of, as well.
- Heat and radiation. The Environmental Working Group found that high water temperatures in baths and hot tubs could affect a man’s fertility even if he has no known fertility problems. The same study found that keeping a cell phone in a pants pocket might have an impact on the health of his sperm, as well.
The EWG also suggests not regularly keeping your laptop on your lap for long periods of time, but that is less likely to pose a problem than the cell phone or hot water.
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- Don’t be a couch potato. A 2013 Harvard study showed that men who watched more than 20 hours of TV a week have a whopping 44% lower sperm count than men who watch almost none.
Boost Your Fertility as a Couple
There are even steps you can take together to ensure that you have the best possible chance of conceiving.
- Stop smoking. Smoking may decrease sperm production in men, as well as damage DNA. In women, smoking may make the uterus less receptive to the egg.
- Have more sex. Naturally, having sex every day will increase chances of conception, but a lot of people find that kind of deliberate effort stressful. Fortunately, having it every other day doesn’t change the odds that much. Some couples believe that saving sperm for one or two days a week works best, but going more than 5 days without sex actually lowers the sperm count.
- Pick a lube carefully. Having sex more often may require vaginal lubricants, and that’s okay. Just make sure the one you choose isn’t water based, because that will reduce sperm motility from 60% to 100%. Needless to say, you should also make sure your lube has no spermicidal agents.
You can even use impromptu household products such as peanut or canola oil. Just don’t use soap, because that will kill sperm.
It costs little or nothing to try all of the above suggestions. So if you are having difficulty getting pregnant, they are probably the best place to start.