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When you’re yearning for a child, getting pregnant can’t come quickly enough. But for both men and women, there are a few steps to increase your ability to conceive.
According to a Harvard University study of 17,544 nurses without a history of infertility, making 5 or more diet and exercise lifestyle changes reduced the risk of infertility by 80-percent.
“When a patient comes to see me, the first thing we do is review what they eat and how often they exercise,” said Dr. Sandy Goodman of The Reproductive Medicine Group. “The benefits of living a healthy lifestyle are enormous and long lasting. Many times, a few simple changes are enough to improve a couple’s chances of getting pregnant without medical assistance. If IVF or a similar treatment is still needed, those healthy improvements provide long-term benefits towards having a successful and healthy pregnancy.”
Dr. Goodman offers these 10 lifestyle improvements, for both women and men, to naturally improve their chances of conception.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight – The American diet is full of sugary drinks and snacks, trans fat, and processed foods, which all combine to increase insulin resistance. The number one thing you can do to get pregnant is loose the extra pounds most of us are carrying. Stick to a diet of lean meats, ample protein from plants, whole grains, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid sugar. When it comes to dairy, it’s best to enjoy full fat milk and yogurt over low fat or fat free versions. When the fat is removed, male hormones are left behind, which can impair ovulation. Exercise is also important to maintaining a healthy weight, so be sure to get your body moving every day for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Stop Smoking – The second biggest impact you can make to improve your chances of conceiving is to ditch the cigarettes. Smoking adds 10 years to your fertility age, making a 25-year-old have the fertility age of a 35-year-old.
- Limit Alcohol – Drinking can increase your chances of miscarriage and effect quality sperm, so while you’re trying to get pregnant, be sure to drink in moderation.
- Cut Back on Caffeine – The recommended dose of caffeine is 200mg a day. A tall, 12 ounce brewed coffee at Starbucks has 260mg. Try to cut back to only a cup or two a day, and remember that filling a large coffee mug is probably your daily allotment. Also steer clear of energy drinks, as they are most likely high in caffeine.
- Reduce Toxins – Most of us don’t realize the number of chemicals that we are exposed to each day. If you’re trying to get pregnant, avoid toxins by eating organic fruits and vegetables, reading product labels and staying clear of known pesticides.
- Reduce Stress – Trying to get pregnant can be stressful on its own, so do your best to limit other stressors in your life. Take time for yourself each day to relax, whether that’s going for a walk, taking a long bath, or incorporating yoga or meditation into your daily routine.
- Avoid Lubricants – Recent research shows that using most over the counter lubricants to combat dryness during sex can affect the quality of sperm, so it’s best to avoid. Warm water can be used instead, or look for fertility-friendly lubricants.
- Check Medications and Supplements – Be sure to talk with your doctor about any prescriptions you’re taking, including over the counter medications and supplements. You and your doctor may decide that avoiding them while trying to conceive is in your best interests.
- Take Folic Acid – Folic Acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects. It also assists the body to produce and maintain new cells. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas. Taking an additional folic acid supplement three months prior to conceiving and during the first few months of your pregnancy is recommended.
- Consider Complementary Treatments – Holistic treatments such as acupuncture, or classes in mindfulness can help you relax and improve your ability to cope with the difficulty of trying to get pregnant. It can also help you feel more in control, which can have a positive effect on conception.
With just a few lifestyle improvements, you and your partner can make it easier for your body to conceive and welcome a new baby into your world.
To learn more about The Reproductive Medicine Group, or to schedule an interview, please click here to submit our online form. You may also follow us on Facebook at “The Reproductive Medicine Group” or Twitter at @ReproMedGroup.