In order to conceive, you need an egg, a sperm and a uterus where implantation can occur. There are a number of lifestyle factors within your control that have the potential to positively impact your general health and fertility. These areas include exercise, optimising your sleep and looking after your dietary health. They can contribute to healthy egg and sperm production, and a healthy environment for the embryo to grow. While the effect of any changes may not be quantifiable, research has shown that these factors are important to consider when trying to conceive.
Daily exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, increase blood circulation and improve blood sugar regulation. While it may not directly improve your fertility, it can help increase your energy levels and release serotonin and dopamine which can help combat stress levels.
Sleep deprivation can have consequences on your physical health. Getting more than 7 hours of sleep per night can help with your immune system, your mental well being and your fertility. Disruptions in your sleeping pattern can have an impact on your reproductive hormones.
A Mediterranean diet is considered fertility friendly as it includes a lot of fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood and dairy. It’s rich in nutrients that are vital for healthy hormones, egg maturation and sperm production. A well balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight while providing an appropriate intake of vitamins, fibre and protein.
Taking folic acid when trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can help prevent certain birth defects. You can also try to increase your intake of folate, the natural form of folic acid, which can be found in dark, leafy greens.
Understand your cycle
The menstrual cycle is a good indicator of female fertility. Irregular cycles, painful periods or spotting before your period, can be signs that there’s an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. These things can also be investigated by your GP without having a full panel of infertility tests.
Tracking your cycle and understanding when you ovulate are key steps in trying to conceive. When you’re ovulating – you’re in your fertile window and having sex during this time increases chances of conceiving.
Smoking and excessive drinking are known links to decreased fertility. Try to reduce alcohol consumption, eliminate smoking and limit exposure to environmental toxins.
If you are aiming to make adjustments to your lifestyle, try to find a balance within the areas you are making changes to. Any type of self care you enjoy can be beneficial in stress reduction and overall well being. If it instead becomes all consuming and gives you more stress – let it go. Your mental health is important too.