Dr Larisa Corda is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and is one of the UK’s leading Fertility experts. For more details please visit www.drlarisacorda.com
Whether you’re looking to improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally, or need some help with treatment you may be having for fertility, here are my top tips for boosting your chances of conceiving this year, which also form the foundation of The Conception Plan:
Eat well and focus on eating organically and seasonally as this way you’ll know the produce is far less likely to have been influenced by hormones, pesticides, added preservatives, chemicals and additives. Have a majority plant based diet and get strict about what you’re putting inside of yourself as it literally influences not just your health, but the health of your baby through the process of epigenetics.
Exercise to help boost the circulation to your reproductive organs and also to help you maintain a healthy body and mind. Exercise can also help to reduce stress but too much or being over vigorous can do the opposite, so be mindful and aim for that which is realistic and achievable for you. This will also help you to keep weight within the normal range that is vital for fertility, also reducing the chance of miscarriage.
You absolutely need to stop smoking (even e-cigarettes, though the evidence for this is not yet uncovered) as this can cause damage to the lining of the womb, the eggs and sperm, but also adversely affect the health of your child, and cause all sorts of complications in your pregnancy. You also need to minimise alcohol or ideally avoid it altogether.
Manage your stress and keep caffeine (which is a stress activator) to a minimum. Too much chronic stress, especially if you are struggling with infertility, can lead to an imbalance in your fertility hormones and also problems with sleep and lowered libido. We also tend to adopt unhealthy behaviour if we feel stressed, such as eating too much sugar, drinking alcohol, or smoking, all of which can reduce the chance of getting pregnant. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, being outdoors in nature, having a bath, spending time with close friends, or a hobby can all help reduce stress, as can acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy and reiki.
Sleeping well and ensuring your bedroom becomes a sanctuary that is conducive to sleep. It’s important to get enough rest to support your physical, mental and emotional health. This means clearing out the clutter, not using any electrical devices such as TVs and mobile phones before bed time, and ensuring the room is dark enough to allow you to get the crucial 7-8 hours sleep a night that most of us need for our wellbeing.
Have sex often and throughout your cycle. Most people become too obsessed with the fertile window and only having sex then. As long as you’re having intercourse several times a week throughout your cycle, there will be sperm available to fertilise the egg, as sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for several days and recent studies are suggesting that sperm quality may actually improve with more regular sex, increasing the chance of conception.
Get yourself on a good multivitamin supplement a few months before you start to try but remember that this is not an alternative to a good diet. For men, a supplement rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc and garlic can support healthy sperm. Women should look towards a vitamin supplement that delivers the required dose of folate, iodine and vitamin D and a range of other vitamins and minerals required for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Omega 3 is also important for both men and women as it influences the development of the baby’s brain and IQ. Also consider a regular probiotic supplement, as there is growing evidence that the microbiome may be responsible for creating conditions conducive to pregnancy in the womb.
Be mindful of the toxic elements influencing your environment, from the water you drink, to the toxins found in cleaning products, to the make up you apply, to the plastic used to cover food in. The toxins we absorb can end up being harmful to our hormones that control fertility, as well as the eggs and sperm. Always try and use products in their most natural state especially as some recent studies have also shown toxins influencing sperm DNA which can be passed on to offspring and has been linked to obesity and other health issues in the child.
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