Fertility of woman and man

June is World Infertility Awareness Month

Infertility, or the inability to conceive and maintain a pregnancy, is way more common than you think. Today, it affects 1 in ten couples throughout the world. Contrary to common beliefs, both male and female issues contribute equally. In about a quarter of cases, couples struggling with infertility have more than one factor that impacts fertility.

June is not only the month to talk about infertility, but rather it should also be the occasion to get proactive about your own reproductive health and get aware on a few simple ways to help you maintain and boost your fertility.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep and a healthy diet

Ensuring you both get enough sleep may be important when you are trying to boost your fertility. You should both aim to get at least seven to eight hours sleep a night.

Eat a balanced diet with plenty of good proteins, vegetables and fruits. Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards and chard are full of fertility boosting vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, iron and folic acid. Iron deficiencies have been associated with fertility issues, and folic acid and calcium are both important for pregnancy health. Staying well hydrated is equally important when trying to conceive.

Drinking plenty of water every day will help to flush toxins out of the body, improving your overall health and thereby increasing your chances of successfully conceiving.

Maintain a healthy BMI

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight: Research has shown that one of the greatest factors of infertility is weight – this is true for both under and overweight individuals. In men, weight has been shown to affect sperm quality. If women are not at a healthy weight, it can affect periods, ovulation and cause many other health conditions. Obesity can also lead to the excessive production of certain hormones such as insulin and estrogen, which can prevent the ovary from ovulating an egg. So, if you are obese, you are likely not ovulating. Luckily, losing only 5 to 10% of your overall body weight can lead to a dramatic positive impact on your fertility. Some women can start ovulating by losing just two kilograms; others menstruate by gaining two kilograms (being underweight could mean that you have stopped ovulating entirely). In addition weight related health conditions are often exacerbated during pregnancy and can involve life threatening risks to you and your child.

Avoid harmful influences

Talking about risks: alcohol, drugs and cigarettes are a no-go for couples trying to get pregnant. All affect the quality of eggs, the ability to conceive, as well as decrease sperm viability, motility and concentration. It is also best to avoid caffeinated drinks as well as herbal remedies. Many over-the-counter products that are marketed as fertility boosters have not been tested and approved by the relevant health authorities and can in fact counteract with your specialist prescribed fertility medication.

Manage stress

Trying to get pregnant can be stressful, especially for those of you undergoing fertility treatments. If you can manage your stress, it can lead to an increased chance of getting pregnant. The mind-body connection to your fertility has been studied and researched extensively and many experts agree that engaging in regular stress reduction while trying to conceive may boost your chances of getting pregnant.

Know about your ovulation

Track your periods and understand when in the cycle your fertile period is. Usually, you ovulate around 14 days before the first day of your next period. That means that if your cycle is the classic 28 days (i.e. 28 days from the first day of one period until the first day of the next period) then it is probable that you will ovulate on day 14 (with day one being counted as the first day of your period). If your cycle is longer, your ovulation will probably be more like day 18 (still 14 days before the next period). If your cycle is shorter, then ovulation is more likely to be day 10.

Male health

Many people assume it is the woman who is responsible for not being able to conceive. We know today, that this is true only in about one third of cases. There are many different factors that can affect male fertility, such as poor testosterone levels, physical defects, hormonal imbalance, problems with ejaculation, etc. It is important for couples who are having problems with conception to schedule a medical exam for both the man and the woman.

Healthcare from the very beginning: preconceptional supplements

Take a preconceptional vitamin supplement every day: It is vital for both you, your partner, and the health of your future child to take a quality preconceptional supplement daily. This will supply you with the appropriate amount of folic acid daily to decrease the chances of your baby developing a neural tube defect. A good product tailored to your situation will also support your fertility in a variety of other ways. For men, supplementation can boost semen quality significantly. The Fertilovit® range of preconceptional products offers a smart choice of study-tested preparations tailored to meet the dietetic requirements not only for a “normal” situation of family planning, but also for mature patients, patients with Hashimoto’s, PCOS , endometriosis, and impaired semen quality.

Have sex

This may seem obvious, but sometimes all the stresses of constantly thinking about getting pregnant can cause you to neglect your sex life. Regular sex can be a great stress reliever and it can also help your ovulation cycles to stay regulated. Also chances of conception rise from 15% for couples having sex once a week to 50% for couples having sex three to four times a week. Sex keeps sperm healthy. Its quality decreases if it’s retained in the body for more than a few days.

See an expert

Make an appointment with a fertility specialist if you have been trying for pregnancy for at least one year (or at least six months if you are older than 35). There is always a reason as to why you have not been able to conceive – it’s a matter of finding out what that problem is. Often, only minor interventions are needed to achieve your dream.

About the author

Dr. rer. nat. Birgit Wogatzky

For many years now, biologist and nutritionist Dr Birgit Wogatzky, has been focusing on the special needs of fertility patients. For the readers of this blog, she sums up interesting novel information and developments from current research projects regarding lifestyle and nutrition of fertility patients.

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