Couples with problems conceiving naturally may require the assistance of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant. The decision to undergo IVF is not an easy one and often causes financial, emotional, and physical stress. While IVF may end up being your best option for successful conception, here are a few things to try first before you make the investment in time and money.
Preparing your body for conception should involve cleaning up your diet and detoxing your body of toxins and chemicals. Eliminate processed foods, which tend to have a lot of saturated fats, salt, and sugars, and add lots of whole fresh fruits and vegetables. Swap out white bread and rice for whole grain products. Avoid harmful toxins found in pesticides by choosing organic produce. It’s also a good idea to Fertility Cleanse. Build-up of toxins in the reproductive organs is the main reason for polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS), painful periods, bloating, and infertility. Flushing out toxins and stagnant blood from your reproductive organs will create the best potential home for an embryo and eventual baby.
Stick to a Plant-Based Diet
Animal products like dairy and meat can affect fertility in a few ways. Animal protein is high in saturated fats, which can increase insulin resistance. Too much insulin can affect hormones that regulate ovulation, and insulin resistance is one part of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. Dairy consumption has also been associated with male and female infertility, PCOS, and endometriosis. One study found that women who consumed animal protein, including chicken and red meats, were at increased risk of infertility, whereas consuming protein from vegetable sources appeared to improve fertility. There are many plant-based dairy and protein alternatives. Try to incorporate more nut or soy-based products, tofu, dark leafy greens, and legumes into your diet.
It is very important to supply your body with adequate levels of essential nutrients when you are trying to conceive. Make sure to include the following:
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin-D synthesis is triggered endogenously (in your body) when sunlight hits your skin. It is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a supplement. Vitamin-D is important for calcium absorption, proper bone growth, and reproduction. Low levels of vitamin-D are associated with decreased sperm count, motility, and semen quality. In women, low vitamin-D has been associated with PCOS and endometriosis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential during pregnancy for your baby’s eye, heart, and brain development and are important in preventing complications such as pre-eclampsia. For women, omega-3s can help regulate hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, and normalize the menstrual cycle. For men, omega-3s can improve circulation to the genitals, reduce blood pressure, and promote sperm production. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body, so they must be obtained through food or supplements. Include two servings of oily fish (like salmon or mackerel) twice a week and take supplements to improve fertility.
Women’s Health Probiotics
Probiotics can improve the balance your microbiome – the bacterial strains that make up your gut and vagina. For vaginal microbiome balance, the probiotic should include the primary bacterial strain that is specific for the vagina called Lactobacillus Crispatus found in Biomegil..
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Stress can start a vicious cycle when it comes to infertility; the more stressed you are, the harder it is to conceive, and the more trouble you have conceiving, the more stressed you become. Chronic stress can lead to decreased sperm quality, reproductive hormone disruption, relationship deterioration, and decreased mood and libido. To combat stress, make sure that you take time to take care of yourself. Exercise daily, eat well, try acupuncture, or Enroll in our Fertile Mind Body Program. get enough quality sleep, and have sex with your partner just for fun and connection.
Track your Cycle
If you’ve been trying to conceive, you’ve likely done some research into how your menstrual cycle impacts your chance of pregnancy. Keep track of your cycle either manually or with an app so you know when you’re ovulating. Day 1 is the first day of your menstrual period and ovulation happens two weeks before your next expected period. For a typical 28-day cycle, you will ovulate around day 14 (but beware that ovulation might not happen on exactly that day!) Have sex during the “fertile window” (4 or 5 days before ovulation). Once the egg is released, it survives for only 24 hours. Sperm, on the other hand, survives for around 5 days. You should also monitor your cervical mucus (the color and consistency changes throughout your cycle). You will be most fertile when you have an egg-white cervical mucus (EWCM), meaning it will be clear and stretchy and optimal for protecting sperm. You can also consult a functional medicine expert to determine the best way to track your cycle.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol (and Limit Caffeine)
Cigarette toxins are associated with infertility; they’ve been linked with ovarian failure, decreased sperm count and quality, and decreased implantation rate. Alcohol should also be avoided since it can damage sperm and eggs. Caffeine should be limited to two beverages per day since too much can increase the time it takes to get pregnant and can be detrimental to fetal health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
It is important for both partners to maintain a healthy weight to optimize fertility. Overweight men are more likely to have erectile dysfunction, lower quality and quantity of sperm, and disrupted hormone levels. Overweight women are also more likely to have hormonal imbalances, which disrupts or prevents ovulation. If both partners are overweight, the risk of infertility further increases.
If you’re trying to get pregnant and having trouble, we are here to help you. We can help you design a customized Fertility Wellness program to maximize fertility, assist with stress reduction. Call us anytime at 713-461-WELL (9355).