So you and your partner have decided you want to try to conceive but don’t know how to prepare, or you have started trying and haven’t had any success. Whether you are starting out or already trying, preconception care can make a huge impact on naturally conceiving. We all know infertility is on the rise, but why is this the case? Some of the contributing factors to the rise of infertility among Canadians include age, environmental factors, genetics etc. Luckily there are some naturally proven ways to prepare your body for conceiving. Below is a list of what I believe are the key steps, both you and your partner should consider:
Before trying consider a Detox
Our bodies are exposed to many toxins daily, which may have the potential to act as hormone disrupters and impact sperm and egg quality. Some of the common toxins we are exposed to are BPA in plastics, parabens in hygiene products, cigarettes, etc. Completing a simple detox before trying to conceive can be very beneficial for couples. A simple and gentle way to detoxify the body is by drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning. This will gently stimulate the liver’s natural detoxification pathways and remove any unwanted toxins.
1. Whole foods diet
What you put into your body can have a substantial impact on sperm and egg quality. Ensuring you are getting adequate nutrition is crucial to conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. A diet rich in colorful vegetables, fruits, lean protein, legumes, and whole grains can help to boost your fertility!
2. Labs and Supplements
A thorough investigation of your blood work can be key to determining what is really going on. Working with a health care professional can be advantageous as they can determine the root cause of any issues and provide focused recommendations.
Making sure you are taking a quality prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid is important! Another great supplement to improve sperm and egg quality is Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10. It is known for helping fertility, as it is a powerful antioxidant. Set your body up for success with the right supplements because this can make a difference!
**NOTE: consult with your health care provider before taking any of the supplements suggested.
A healthy amount of exercise can be beneficial for fertility outcomes. Did you know only a 10% reduction in weight can increase fertility outcomes in women who are considered “overweight” on their BMI score? Additionally, it has been shown that men who exercise for 1 hour three times a week scored higher in almost all sperm parameters 1. However, be careful how hard you go! It has been shown that excessive exercise can negatively impact the energy balance of your body and specifically in the reproductive system1.
I suggest if you are already working out continue your regular exercise routine. Yoga and walking are good exercises if you are just starting out!
4. Cycle Monitoring
Monitoring your cycle to determine the exact days you are ovulating is key to successfully knowing when to try. This involves checking basal body temperature as soon as you wake up in the morning as well as tracking cervical mucous around the time of ovulation. For more information on tracking your cycle, check out the book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.
5. Stress Management
Lastly, but MOST importantly is stress management. Too much stress on the body can affect your chances of conceiving. Creating a mindset with positive affirmations can change your outlook. Examples of affirmations include “I trust my body” or “My fertility is improving everyday.” Whenever you feel like you are getting into a negative mindset pull out your affirmations, write them down in a place you will see everyday like the fridge or your mirror.
Give yourself time each day for self care. Find an activity you enjoy such as taking a bath, walking, meditating or coloring. All of these will help you better manage your stress!
(Article originally posted on Fertility Matters Canada)
- Sharma R, Biedenharn K, Fedor J, Agarwal A. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013;11(1):66.