At any given point, millions of women all over the world are dreaming of becoming a mommy-to-be. Some women get pregnant in the blink of an eye; for others, it's a little harder. For others still, it's really hard. Luckily, there are a number of unexpected things that can make you more fertile; and when you're itching to grow your family and be with child, every little bit counts, right?
Much of this comes down to a simple idea: in order to create the ideal environment for a wee one to grow, you yourself have to make your own health a top priority. Certain things you can do to increase your likelihood of pregnancy are also just good for your health, period. It's a win-win, and you might end up pregnant in the end. Hooray! But with so much information available on the internet and in books, it can be tricky to know where to start.
Most of these tips for increasing fertility are fairly simple — things you can start incorporating into your lifestyle today. They may seem small and inconsequential, but your future baby can notice them. If you want to become a healthier you than you've ever been and improve your fertility, here are 10 ways you can do it.
1. Remove These Toxins From Your Diet
There are a number of ingredients that can curb your fertility efforts, and you might be consuming them without even knowing. Some of these include artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, as well as high-fructose corn syrup. The consequences have been documented. In one study, scientists looked at the eating and drinking habits of 524 people going through IVF treatment. Regularly consuming artificial sweeteners was linked to lower fertility rates. Even "regular" sugar was associated with a poorer quality of eggs and embryos. The takeaway? Be careful of unhealthy sugars.
Some other ingredients to steer clear of include vegetable oil, margarine, partially hydrogenated oils, shortening, and cottonseed oil.
2. Check Your Cosmetics
Make-up and skincare products can also affect fertility. Do any of your products contain methyl parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulphate, paraffin, isopropyl alcohol, or propyl parabens? Many common ingredients have been linked to hormonal disruption, infertility in both men and women, and reproductive disruption in adults, developing embryos, and children. You may want to consider swapping them out for something more pure.
3. Incorporate Herbs
People have been using Chinese herbs to treat all kinds of health problems for around 2,500 years; and this is an excellent, all-natural way to try to boost your fertility. Herbs can help regulate your cycle, increase ovulation, and balance your hormones. Think herbs like donq quai, wild yam, false unicorn (best. name. ever.), licorice, red raspberry leaf, black cohosh, and chaste tree. Also, remember that while herbs are safe, there are still some that you shouldn't take if you're trying to get pregnant. It's important to do your homework and talk to your doctor.
4. Stay Hydrated
You already know that not drinking enough water isn't good for your bod — nothing surprising there. But did you know that being dehydrated can affect your fertility? When you don't consume enough water, your cervical fluid (which helps sperm find an egg) slows down. Drinking adequate water could also be important to stimulate circulation and improve egg health. Plus, your blood volume expands once your pregnant, meaning you'll need more water to keep things flowing.
An easy way to determine your hydration level is by the color of your urine: If it isn't a light yellow, you might need to be drinking more.
5. Cut Back On Caffeine
Many women are already aware to ease up caffeine while pregnant; but you may also want to talk to your doctor about limiting caffeine while trying to get pregnant. Studies are inconclusive and experts haven't totally agreed on the matter; but as with many other matters, it's better to be safe than sorry, and best to cut back if you aren't sure. Some research has indeed found that too much caffeine can indeed disrupt your conception efforts. Decaf is fine, but limit or cut out caffeinated coffees, tea, and pops.
6. Stay Active, But Don't Go To Extremes
Only under unique circumstances will a health care professional tell you to stop exercising; so, while you're trying to get pregnant, it's a great idea to keep your body moving and stay healthy! But, any exercise that's too extreme, vigorous, or strenuous could negatively impact your fertility. Don't become a couch potato, but don't go overboard, either.
7. Reconsider Lube
Lubricant can be our best friend; but did you know that certain kinds can shorten the lifespan of sperm so much that they'll die before they can reach an egg? Good as a (very odd) kind of birth control, bad if you're trying to conceive. Check the label and look for something sperm-friendly. These types of lube will help with sperm viability and motility, and encourage the little swimmers to make their way toward your uterus.
8. Be Mindful Of Your Body Temp Post-Sex
After you've hit the sheets, stay away from saunas, hot tubs, or anything else that could seriously raise your body temperature. Even though some people consider this a myth, there's still some concern around the connection between extreme heat and fertility.
Although the research is a bit shaky, if you want to be extra careful, your man should be mindful of hot temperatures as well. Some studies have suggested that daily trips to the hot tub and healthy sperm don't really mix, when it comes to fertility and conceiving. Research has found a significant reduction in sperm count with repeated exposure to heat; and it can take four to six months for sperm count to return to normal.
9. Cut Way Back On Alcohol
An occasional glass of vino isn't going to do much; but if you enjoy an adult beverage every day, you might want to rethink this. More research is pointing to a connection between alcohol consumption and difficulty getting pregnant. Alcohol messes with our estrogen levels, and this could disrupt egg implantation. Plus, once you're preggo, you're going to need to knock it off anyway.
How do you know when to put the glass down? Research has found that women who consume five alcoholic beverages a week took longer to conceive. While there probably isn't one magic number, less is better.
10. Have Tons Of Sex
This isn't just because increasing the frequency means more opportunities to get preggo. There's more to it than that. The myth that "saving up" a man's sperm can help increase the chance of pregnancy is just that: a myth. Actually, skipping sex for more than five days at a time can have a negative affect on sperm count. You should be OK taking breaks of up to two days — this period of time has been found to have no effect on sperm density. While getting it on every day obviously vastly improves your chances of getting pregnant, that's a bit stressful for many couples. Every other day has shown to be just as effective.