Trying to get pregnant? For some, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Infertility touches every part of your life. It affects the way you feel about yourself, the relationship with your partner, your perspective on life and growing a family…infertility finds a way to creep into your mind, planting seeds of doubt and shame.
Here’s the good news: healthy diet and lifestyle changes can improve fertility up to 69% . That’s a pretty dramatic increase! So, whether you have been struggling with infertility or have just begun trying to conceive, here are 10 natural ways to boost fertility and increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
1. Achieve your ideal BMI.
It is no surprise that body weight impacts fertility. BMI, or body mass index, is a measure of body fat based on your weight. To optimize fertility, you should lose weight if you’re over your ideal BMI. Fat cells contain estrogen, and too much of this hormone will reduce your chances of getting pregnant. If you’re under your ideal BMI, then you’ll need to pack on a few pounds. Being underweight can actually stop menstruation as your body does not feel equipped to grow a baby.
2. Cut the caffeine.
Caffeine is known to negatively affect fertility. One study suggests that women who consume over 500 mg of caffeine each day take up to 9.5 months longer to get pregnant ! High caffeine intake is also related to increased risk of miscarriage. Cut the caffeine and switch to a decaf tea or hot water with lemon.
3. Increase your iron intake.
Consuming iron-rich vegetables or iron supplements may actually improve ovulation. An observational study of 438 women found that routinely taking iron supplements was linked to a 40% decrease in infertility related to abnormal ovulation . Make sure you’re consuming non-heme iron → this type of iron comes from plant-based food sources, not animal sources.
4. Avoid alcohol.
Although we don’t know the extent of alcohol’s negative impact on fertility, we do know that drinking more than 8 drinks per week is associated with a longer time to get pregnant . What’s the bottom line? Excess alcohol can reduce fertility, and if you’re trying to improve your chances of getting pregnant, consider cutting out alcohol all together.
5. Quit Smoking.
Here are the hard facts: women who smoke, or are regularly exposed to other people’s smoke, have an increased risk of infertility – they are 60% more likely to be infertile than nonsmokers! Not only are smokers less fertile, but they tend to have a delay in conception of just over 1 year. And, to add insult to injury, smoking is also associated with increased spontaneous miscarriage.
6. Take a prenatal vitamin.
Taking a prenatal vitamin may help reduce infertility by up to 41%. An estimated 20% of ovulatory infertility may be avoided if women consume 3 or more multivitamins a week . If you’re not getting all the nutrients you need from your diet, adding a prenatal vitamin may dramatically improve your fertility and potentially reduce the risk of premature birth.
7. Try yoga.
Fertility yoga may help to balance your reproductive system and improve your chances of conception. It helps to realign your pelvis and improve circulation, stimulating hormone-producing glands and releasing muscle tension. Click here to see fertility-boosting yoga poses.
8. Choose high-fat dairy.
If you’re a huge fan of low-fat dairy, then this one is for you. High intakes of low-fat diary foods may actually increase infertility, whereas high-fat dairy foods may decrease it . Women who consume at least one serving of high-fat dairy each day are 27% less likely to be infertile. Replacing one or two low-fat dairy products with high-fat versions may increase your chances of getting pregnant.
9. Supplement with probiotics.
Emerging research is showing us that supplementation with probiotics helps to decrease widespread inflammation, a common cause of infertility and reproductive health issues. Pop a probiotic every day and aim to eat more probiotic foods, like yogurt, kimchi, kefir and kombucha. And, be sure to cut out refined sugars, the number one cause of a leaky gut. Sugar feeds the bad gut bacteria, resulting in an unbalanced gut and overcompensated immune response. Click here to read more about gut health and infertility.
10. Take time to unwind.
Too much stress will reduce your chances of getting pregnant. High stress and anxiety results in hormonal changes that actually decrease your chances of conception. In fact, stress, anxiety and depression affect around 30% of women who attend fertility clinics . Take care of yourself. Setting aside time to relax may improve your chances of becoming pregnant.