I just want to begin by saying that I am not a doctor; everything in this post is based on my own research on how to improve fertility naturally and what may have helped me fall pregnant.
A little over a year ago my partner and I decided to try for a baby, we had been together nearly 4 years and lived together for 2, so it felt like the right time – if there is such a thing! I was naively under the impression that I would fall pregnant as soon as we stopped using contraception – this was obviously not the case! I did, however, learn that there are natural things you can do whilst trying that may increase your chances and after 14 months of trying we are now expecting our first baby.
So, here is a list of natural remedies to help improve fertility naturally that you may wish to consider when you are trying to conceive.
This may seem like the most obvious thing in the world but most couples actually don’t have enough sex. Sex can release estrogen which helps to regulate your periods and boost fertility. So have lots of sex, about 3 times a week is what’s recommended, especially if you don’t know when you’re ovulating! Try not to lose the passion by scheduling sex though because that’s not fun for anyone, just let it happen naturally! And, bonus -there is no proof that having an orgasm increases your chances of getting pregnant so don’t let that add any pressure in the bedroom!
In the year leading up to finding out I was pregnant, I had been on a total health trip. I had cut down on how much meat I ate and increased the number of fruits and vegetables I consumed throughout the day. I didn’t actually change my diet to help improve my fertility, I just wanted to be healthier, but here I am – 14 weeks pregnant, so maybe it helped?
Following research, there are actually certain types of food that are said to help improve fertility naturally, such as:
- Salmon can help regulate blood flow to the reproductive organs. Check out my salmon and green veggies recipe here.
- Berries are full of antioxidants that protect your eggs from damage and ageing. Add a handful of raspberries or blueberries to your cereal in the morning, simple!
- Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine and broccoli are all high in folate; a B vitamin that has been shown to improve ovulation. It is also said that leafy greens naturally boost a woman’s libido – bonus!
- Beans and lentils are full of fibre and folate which are both great at balancing your hormones and protein which can help promote healthier ovulation. Try using lentils instead of mince when making a spaghetti bolognese or add beans to your salad instead of meat.
- Full-fat dairy is rich in saturated fat which is beneficial for fertility, a study from 2007 found that women who consumed one, or more, servings of full-fat dairy per day were 27 percent less likely to be infertile. It also contains vitamins A, E, D, K, and K2.
Although there are some great nutrients to be found in foods I did also take folic acid and vitamin D every day as well.
As well as my newfound healthy diet I also became obsessed with exercise, not in a bad way, I just enjoyed it so much! I was doing yoga in the mornings and a cardio or pilates workout in the evenings and I had never felt better plus, my body looked the best it had ever looked! Exercise has been proven to increase the frequency of ovulating which leads to more regular periods which means a higher chance of conceiving. (My periods did actually become much more regular after about 6 – 8 months of regular exercise.) It is also great for your mental health because it releases endorphins, decreases stress and helps you to sleep better, all of which are important while trying for a baby.
I understand that exercise isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, believe me, a year ago it wasn’t mine either. This is why it’s important to find something you enjoy so that you are more likely to stick to it, try it all – swimming, walking, running, join a gym, yoga, pilates, boxing and enjoy finding what you love.
Maintaining, or reaching, a healthy weight when trying to conceive is really important because women who are overweight tend to have hormone imbalances which can cause problems with ovulation. Being a healthy weight can regulate your ovulation, therefore, increasing your chances of conceiving and best of all, gives you a higher chance of having a healthy pregnancy reducing the risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. The ideal BMI before conception is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Things to Avoid
Obviously, lots of women will get pregnant whilst doing all of the following, but if you have been trying for a while and you are starting to get impatient it may be worth avoiding some, or all, of the following to improve fertility:
- Smoking, as well as all of the other health risks, can actually increase the risk of infertility. Give it up, you’re going to have to when you become pregnant anyway!
- Too much alcohol. When trying for a baby it might be worth cutting down on your alcohol consumption as it is believed that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can decrease fertility in both men and women. Much like with smoking, you will have to stop drinking when you are pregnant so you may as well get the practice in early!
- Caffeine. You don’t have to completely give up on that delicious cup of coffee in the morning but if you are a caffeine addict it might be worth cutting down, excessive amounts of caffeine can possibly decrease fertility and increase your chances of miscarriage. Try to keep to one a day.
Perhaps the most important thing of all is to stay positive. I know this can be really tricky, particularly if you have been trying for such a long time, but patience is key. Try not to let stress and worry get you down, talk to your doctor if you have real concerns and they will help come up with the best choices for you.
Good luck to everyone reading this, please feel free to share your stories or any other tips you may have on improving fertility naturally in the comments below.
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