The number of individuals and couples facing infertility issues has shown a rise over the past few years. Today, the infertility statistics have increased from 5.4% in 1984 to 16% today (1) – that means almost 1 in 6 couples today are facing fertility issues.
Besides taking measures to monitor your menstrual cycles and ovulation, below are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your fertility.
Diet: Stick to diets rich in whole grains, unsaturated fats and vegetables. The mediterranean diet has been associated with improved fertility in both men and women. Processed foods, saturated fats and sugars have been associated with lower fertility (2). While the results of alcohol, dairy and caffeine are inconclusive, it is recommended that men and women cut down intake while trying to get pregnant (2). Talk to your pharmacist about starting a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid, vitamin B12 and other vitamins important to you and your future baby’s health.
Exercise: Infertility is linked with both high and low BMI (2,3). Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily and mix-up your workouts weekly to include cardio, strength and yoga/flexibility. Be careful not to overdo it, as vigorous exercise can actually reduce your chances. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and improve overall quality of life in both men and women. (4)
Managing Stress: Stress and infertility is a vicious cycle that could add to the issue at hand. Focus on lowering stress by surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, exploring nature, focusing on deep breathing, engaging in mindful meditation and yoga, taking time for yourself, getting 8 hours of sleep daily and drinking plenty of water.
Therapy: Other than regular follow-ups with your doctor, seek out other forms of therapy that could help boost your fertility, including acupuncture, pelvic floor physiotherapy, psychotherapy, osteopathy and naturopathy.
Pelvic Floor & Paediatric Physiotherapist
Sandra graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters degree in Physiotherapy after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology degree with honours from McMaster University. She has worked with a variety of clientele but has developed a true passion in working with both the paediatric and women’s health populations. Sandra has extensive experience assessing and treating a variety of paediatric conditions and most recently has become certified as a pelvic health physiotherapist. She also has additional training in acupuncture and kinesiotaping. Sandra finds great value in guiding each individual through a tailored rehabilitation program to optimize their function and quality of life. In her free time, Sandra enjoys yoga, pilates, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
- Public Health Agency of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/
- Panth, N., Gavarkovs, A., Tamez, M., & Mattei, J. (2018). The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States. Frontiers in Public Health, 6. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.
- Hakimi, O., & Cameron, L.-C. (2016). Effect of Exercise on Ovulation: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine, 47(8), 1555–1567. doi:10.1007/s40279-
- The Fertility Society of Australia – https://www.yourfertility.org.
au/sites/default/files/2018- 08/The_role_of_exercise_in_ improving_fertility.pdf
- Pfeifer, S., Butts, S., Fossum, G., Gracia, C., La Barbera, A., Mersereau, J., … Vernon, M. (2017). Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertility and Sterility, 107(1), 52–58. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.