Did you know that apart from having sex there are a variety of factors that can affect your fertility?
If you would like to have a baby asap, read 10 ways to boost your fertility.
1. Eat a baby-friendly diet
Many doctors now believe a healthy diet as well as supplements like folic acid can help improve your fertility.
- Eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables will add essential fibre to your diet, and help reduce excess oestrogen levels.
- Some experts recommend that women who are trying to conceive, eat less meat. This is because the saturated fat in animal products stimulates oestrogen production reducing your chance of conceiving.
- Some experts believe a diet high in refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta and biscuits, can affect conception. These foods raise blood sugar quickly, causing an insulin surge that can impair fertility.
- Studies have shown that women who drink excessive amounts of caffeine have delayed conception.
- Women trying to conceive should take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin. Research at the Royal Free Hospital, London, showed that taking a daily prenatal vitamin, containing key nutrients for conception like folic acid, vitamin B12 and selenium, could more than double pregnancy chances.
2. Take time to relax
“Stress can have a huge impact on female fertility,” says consultant gynaecologist Michael Dooley. “It can also slow male sperm production and lower libido.”
Studies have shown that stress can affect a man’s sperm count and the quality of his sperm. Stress can also affect a woman’s ability to conceive and even stop her from ovulating.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking cigarettes can impair both a woman’s and a man’s fertility. Infact, cigarette smoke has been shown to decrease fertility levels by as much as 50%.
This is because smoking affects how receptive the woman’s uterus is to the egg. And in men, smoking can reduce sperm production and even damage DNA.
Couples that smoke have high levels of cadmium, a heavy toxic metal that stops zinc (essential for fertility) from being absorbed into the body. Also cigarette smoke has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and placental damage.
4. Know your fertile window
Knowing your “fertile window” can boost your chances of pregnancy. The fertile window is the six-days that end on the day of ovulation.
To conceive successfully, you need to have sex during your most fertile time of the month. In an average 28-day cycle, this usually falls between day 10 and day 17.
Pregnancy will most likely to occur with intercourse within the three days before ovulation.
Richard Paulson, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, says that most couples often wait until the day of ovulation or later to have sex. However if they really want to get pregnant, “Err on the early side,” he says.
Paulson also advises that women keep close track of ovulation – either by the calendar method or by using an ovulation predictor. kit.
5. Try acupuncture
If after a thorough fertility assessment has been done and no specific reasons for your infertility has been found, why not try acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine treatment that relies on a painless but strategic placement of tiny needles into a “grid-like” pattern that spans the body, from head to toe.
Some studies done have shown that acupuncture can improve fertility. For example a study of 160 women, published April 2002 in the reproductive journal Fertility and Sterility, found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success.
Dr. Friday Thompson Udo Essien, a renowned Nigerian acupuncturist, has helped many women with infertility through the use of acupuncture.
Mecure an established Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in Lagos, and Diagnostic Centers in Lagos, Victoria Islands and Kano also offers medical acupuncture treatment.
6. Cut your alcohol intake
If you are trying to conceive, it is a good idea for you and your spouse to drink less alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol has been found to impair ovulation and sperm production.
Swedish researchers have also found that women who drank two alcoholic beverages a day decreased their fertility by nearly 60%.
Alcohol has been shown to poison sperm and damage ovum before conception has even taken place.
7. Lose or gain weight
Being underweight or overweight is thought to delay the time it takes a woman to conceive.
Being overweight lowers fertility as overweight women often have less regular periods than women who weigh less. Being overweight also puts you at a greater risk of gestational diabetes, which is dangerous for your health and that of your unborn baby. Losing just 5% of your body weight, if overweight can boost conception chances by about a fifth.
On the other hand, a low body weight, with low body fat, lowers fertility because ovulation is hindered. Being underweight can affect your body’s ability to reproduce eggs, as it senses there isn’t enough fat to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
The best way to find out whether you weigh too much or not is to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index) here.
8. Get your husband involved
Most Nigerians assume that infertility is a woman’s issue. This is not the case, infertility can also be from the male side. Read more here.
Studies have shown that infertile and sub-fertile men are often deficient in the antioxidant selenium, which helps make healthy sperm. You can correct this by having your husband take a supplement that gives him 100 mcg of selenium a day.
Because sperm develops best in cool surroundings, men are adviced to avoid tight underwear and prolonged sitting as this can raise the temperature of his testicles and so reduce the quality and quantity of sperm.
9. Drink more water
The imbalance of hormones is behind many fertility issues. Making sure you have enough water in your system enables your hormones to travel to the many places they’re needed throughout your body.
Water helps create plump egg follicles and a strong blood supply to the womb lining.
Water also aids the production of cervical mucus or fluid. Cervical mucus helps the sperm to successfully make its trek to the egg. If you’re dehydrated, your cervical mucus will be sluggish.
Fertility expert Zita West says: “If you don’t drink enough water, the reproductive system will lose out as the body ensures that the more vital organs receive what they need first.”
10. Have sex!
You would think this is obvious. But many Nigerian couples who struggle to conceive are not having enough sex.
Chances of conception rise from 15% for couples having sex once a week to 50% for couples having sex three to four times a week. Your probability of conception is also increased when you have intercourse multiple times in your fertile window.
Regular sex keeps sperm healthy and not having sex for more than five days may affect sperm counts adversely.
However note that too much sex can lower a man’s sperm count or make them more weak fertility.