Fertility is a touchy subject for some, as certain couples struggle to become pregnant. It can feel overly frustrating, as if you’re fighting an uphill battle. Of course, individual factors play a key role, as well as age and overall health. The truth is, women do have a biological clock and in many ways, it’s all about timing.
Based on a UK study, published in Human Reproduction, it was found that there’s a disconnect in terms of the reality surrounding fertility. Among university-aged adults, it was found that 67 percent of women and 81 percent of men inaccurately believed that female fertility declines after age 40.
The reality is, women experience a decline in fertility from the age of around 35-39. Although this decline is gradual, it is most certainly significant. Once you throw lifestyle factors into the mix, some couples can really struggle to naturally become pregnant — can you relate?
3 Ways to Become More Fertile
If this sounds like you and your partner, a couple who has been trying for what seems like forever, have you really tried to change your lifestyle? Have you discussed options with your doctor? Perhaps you’re focusing on medical fertility procedures, even though there are things you can try before such an invasive and expensive treatment.
If you are trying to become pregnant without much luck, take the following 3 steps:
Step #1: Focus on your weight
Of course, no one wants to be over or under weight, especially in terms of the potential health consequences. With that being said, obesity is an epidemic that is sweeping the globe. Generally based on low activity and an unhealthy intake of food, weight has long been recognized as a key contributing factor to infertility.
It all comes down to your hormones, as both your ovaries and fat cells regulate estrogen levels, which in turn influence ovulation. For those who are underweight, you may not be producing enough estrogen, whereas those of you who are overweight, may be producing too much.
This is the first and one of the most important steps — achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This will ensure greater balance in terms of your reproductive cycle. Which leads us into our next step, nutrition — as foods can actually improve ovulation and your chances of becoming pregnant.
Step #2: Improve ovulation with food
If you maintain a healthy weight, perhaps changing your diet will make a significant difference. Just because someone maintains a healthy weight, does not mean they’re consuming the nutrients their body needs. Within one study, over 18,000 women were followed over the course of 8 years, to see if their diet influenced pregnancy.
It was found that those who ate higher amounts of trans fats, carbs, and animal proteins, were more likely to suffer from an ovulatory disorder — leading to around 20 percent of infertility cases. So, switch your protein intake to sources such as beans, nuts, fish, and seeds; take a multivitamin supplement; consume more ‘healthy’ fat; as well as whole grains.
Step #3: Stop smoking and watch what you drink
Toxins from cigarettes severely affect the health of a woman’s egg, significantly interfering with fertilization. If you’re a 35-year old smoker, for instance, your eggs may be functioning as though they belonged to a woman 10 years older than you. Although some permanent damage may occur, quitting will help you gain beneficial ovarian function back.
No surprise here — alcohol can reduce your risk of becoming pregnant. Technically, if you’re trying to conceive, you shouldn’t be drinking at all. Alcohol alters estrogen levels and if you have already become pregnant with your knowledge, you’ll want to maintain abstinence.
Before you decide on fertility treatments, take a good look at your current lifestyle. Could you improve? If so, make your body a more hospitable environment. This will improve ovulation and the possibility of implantation. Keep a journal, tracking your lifestyle habits, diet, and ovulation — this will be useful when it’s time to review your options in 6 months or so.