1. Eat a balanced diet: staying well-nourished is key to fertility success! Make sure to include enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D in your diet, because deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to lengthened menstrual cycles (and therefore less frequent ovulation) and a higher risk of early miscarriage.1 Ask your doctor if you should take a daily multivitamin supplement, such as Biocare methyl pregnancy multinutrient.2 Ensure you are eating protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and beans.
2. Limit alcohol intake: I know there can be a strong habitual relationship between a Friday ‘wind-down-from-the-working-week-wine habit’ and relaxation, it may have even helped you to conceive! However, there is a body of research to link alcohol consumption with a decreased ability to get pregnant (it can also harm a developing foetus). Alcohol alters oestrogen levels, which may interfere with egg implantation, although pouring an occasional glass of Pinot with your dinner is unlikely to harm fertility. You should also consider cutting back on caffeine while you try to conceive and during your pregnancy. Although study results have been mixed, research suggests that caffeine affects female hormone levels and may affect how long it takes to get pregnant.3 The bottom line: If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, stop drinking alcohol and limit your daily java fix to 200 mg of caffeine per day (that’s about one to two cups or 12 ounces of coffee).
3. Maintain a healthy weight: Unfortunately, the ‘eat for two’ myth really is a myth, in fact around the world many cultures hold different views with the French particularly keen to maintain a normal body weight and image during pregnancy. Exercising throughout pregnancy (to the same level you participated pre-pregnancy) can also help to maintain normal weight gain.4
4. Live a clean lifestyle: Avoid pesticides and toxins within the body. Chemicals used to kill insects and weeds that threaten crops can decrease male fertility5 and may affect female fertility by inhibiting ovarian function and disrupting the menstrual cycle. Practically this may mean cleaning out your make-up and toiletry bag, cancelling that shellac pedicure and moving towards natural skincare brands such as Ren6 and Dr Hauschka.7
5. Kick your nicotine habit: stop smoking. Not only is this good health advice in general but is so important when trying to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, Numerous studies have linked smoking to low birth weight babies.8 Cigarette toxins not only damage a woman’s eggs, interfering with the fertilization and implantation process, but also cause the ovaries to age.9
- Marí-Sanchis A, e. (2017). Association between pre-pregnancy consumption of meat, iron intake, and the risk of gestational diabetes: the SUN project. – PubMed – NCBI . (online) Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28285431 (Accessed 26 Mar. 2017).
- Cendrowska-Pinkosz M, e. (2017). [Caffeine and adaptive changes in the circulatory system during pregnancy]. – PubMed – NCBI . [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28134232 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
- Perales M, e. (2017). Exercise During Pregnancy. – PubMed – NCBI . [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28324098 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
- Cremonese C, e. (2017). Occupational exposure to pesticides, reproductive hormone levels and sperm quality in young Brazilian men. – PubMed – NCBI . [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28077271 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
- Dass Singh M, e. (2017). Infant birth outcomes are associated with DNA damage biomarkers as measured by the cytokinesis block micronucleus cytome assay: the DADHI study. – PubMed – NCBI . [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28340039 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].
- Singh RB, e. (2017). Tobacco consumption in relation to causes of death in an urban population of north India. – PubMed – NCBI . [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18044690 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].