For optimum fertility fitness here are five important areas of fertility you can improve upon with the do’s and don’ts to guarantee your best chances of having the healthiest possible baby, at any age.
A healthy body is a fertile body and the health of your baby is in great part decided before a pregnancy is even in sight. You see, by 8 weeks gestation a baby’s health blueprint is already created, as are his or her tiny organs and little fingerprints! At this stage his or her health vulnerabilities and strengths are set by the ‘map’ guiding this miracle of creation. It is fair to say that once a pregnancy is established your child’s health potential becomes the lowest common denominator of you and your partner’s health at the point of conception.
So, how do you give your child, the best possible start in life? It’s simple. Ensure you your partner are in optimum health by beginning the preparation for your most important event yet, at least 120 days prior to a conception attempt.
Here’s why…The quality of the egg and sperm today is the reflection of everything that was happening in your life and immediate environment over the previous 4 months. Your complete health picture during that time including nutrition, stress levels, blood oxygenation, hormone levels, emotions and other factors affect the quality of your fertility in the current month.
Studies show that being fertility fit, where both prospective parents actively prepare for a healthy pregnancy will not only improve your chances of having a healthy baby, it will also reduce the chances of miscarriage, congenital abnormalities, pregnancy complications, prematurity and still births. In addition, British research reveals an 81 percent success rate in conception for previously infertile couples, and for those who require IVF the same approach has been shown to increase the chances of conception through IVF by 47.1 percent.
The initial step in your preparation, just like in any sport is to find out how ‘fertility fit’ you are now, so you can measure and monitor your progress. For men, this includes having a semen analysis at a specialist fertility clinic. This is the most effective way of saving time and potential heartache right upfront—if there are any issues, they can often be very easily addressed naturally during the preconception period with excellent results.
For women, having hormonal levels checked, and sometimes also a pelvic ultrasound that can show fallopian tube clearance, will help to rule out any potential problems that may prevent you from falling pregnant quickly after your preparation. For a head start, you and your partner’s combined preparation should include visiting your GP for a general health check-up as well as a way of ruling out any possible infections (particularly of the genito-urinary tract), which if left untreated can cause infertility and pregnancy complications including miscarriage.
1. Let Go of Lifestyle and Fertility Poisons
Yes it is true… Although caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and recreational substances are common companions in most people’s lifestyles, they are all toxic to your fertility and above all your prospective child. Research concludes that as little as very minimal and sporadic consumption of coffee or alcohol has been shown to dramatically decrease fertility in men and women. Thus, complete avoidance during the preconception preparation period, pregnancy and lactation is definitely in your prospective family’s best interest. In cases of addiction be sure to seek professional assistance to quit unhealthy habits if necessary.
2. The Fertility Diet
The best fertility diet is one based on organic, seasonal, local produce that is as fresh and as unprocessed and closest to their natural state as possible. If you are unsure of what to eat, focus on fresh vegetables and fruits and good quality organics meats. Basing your meals on vegetables and protein and avoiding dairy and gluten containing foods as much as possible can improve your odds of conception. This reduces the chances of allergic reactions and excessive mucus and inflammation, which can hinder reproductive function. Studies also show that gluten can have a negative impact on ovulation and for most people it can decrease the absorption of essential nutrients.
3. Good Quality Supplementation
I am often asked the question: “If I am eating a healthy diet surely I don’t need supplements, right?” Wrong. This may have been true at some point during human existence, but it is not so now. Today our bodies are faced with more toxins, pollution, nutrient deficient foods and soils, stress, radiation and many other physical and emotional conditions which more than ever increase our body’s nutrient requirements. However, be aware that not all supplements are made equal and just because a particular brand may be popular and well marketed it does not mean it is the best product for you. Seek professional advice before starting any new supplementation regime so you don’t short change yourself and compromise your results.
4. Exercise and Rest
Both over-training and under-training will have a negative impact on your fertility, in the same way that being overweight or underweight will also decrease your chances of conception. The key is to strive for balance. Five to six moderate training sessions per week is ideal for maintaining optimum health whilst naturally boosting fertility. Plentiful rest and quality sleep will also be essential for achieving peak fertility fitness. If you are having difficulty falling asleep, your sleep quality is poor, or you are not making the time to get enough sleep, there are plenty of effective, natural solutions to choose from and help is quick at hand. A competent and qualified naturopathic practitioner or medical herbalist will definitely be able to help.
5. Avoid Chemical Exposure
Chemical exposure to environmental toxins, pesticides, household cleaning and pest control all have been shown to disrupt endocrine function, which is responsible for hormonal balance, optimum fertility (in men and women) as well as normal baby development in the womb and during early childhood (when kids are most vulnerable). Such chemicals are capable of damaging general health (and fertility) in the womb and throughout life.
The answer: choose completely safe, chemical-free alternatives for the products you use in your home; buy organic foods wherever possible; avoid plastics and synthetic materials as much as you can and prioritise a natural lifestyle to optimise your health and fertility.
In today’s world we are literally surrounded by toxins and pollutants that can negatively impact our health and fertility. For as many substances we know that have a definite negative effect on our health and fertility, there are hundreds or even thousands that we are not even aware exist and some, which are close to, or simply unavoidable. The great news is that our bodies have amazing self-healing mechanisms and the smallest changes can yield magnificent results despite some unchangeable environmental factors.
So take control. Maximize your fertility fitness and your chances of creating the healthy baby of your dreams by making the changes that count now towards your desired result, irrespective of your age. For more information on implementing these changes join us for the next Fertility Challenge.