Table of Contents
- What Is Natural Fertility?
- Ways to Optimise Your Fertility
- Don't Smoke, Don't Drink Alcohol and Caffeine
- Regular Exercise
- Nutrition & Natural Fertility
- Assess your Vitamin Levels
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
- Assess Your Stress
- Include Your Partner in the Health Boost
- Shift Your Focus
- Having Trouble Conceiving?
- Seek Further Medical Advice Sooner Rather Than Later
- Stay Positive
Bubbaroo is passionate about supporting parents on their journey right from the beginning. Natural fertility is not something people often think about until they intend to have a baby. We hope you find the following information useful as you prepare to conceive a baby.
What Is Natural Fertility?
Natural fertility is boosted when both intending parents are in good health. It’s about getting yourself in the right space mentally and physically to conceive and grow a baby in the best possible environment. The concept of natural fertility is about increasing your chances of getting pregnant without intervention.
According to the Department of Health, around 1 in 6 couples experiences fertility problems. Infertility can affect both men and women. Perhaps it is you? A friend? A relative? Mater Mothers’ Hospital obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Luke McLindon said infertility should be treated as a symptom, not as a medical issue in itself. So treat the symptoms first.
Ways to Optimise Your Fertility
You can improve your fertility chances by looking at some lifestyle factors that play a part in your overall health and your ability to conceive a baby naturally. Some good ways to optimise you and your partner’s health prior to conception are; reducing toxins, getting regular exercise, looking at your nutrition, maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing stress and getting good sleep.
Don’t Smoke, Don’t Drink Alcohol and Caffeine
This may be extremely hard for some but smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine can impact your health and therefore can impact the quality of your sperm and eggs. Smokers are more likely to suffer from a miscarriage or give birth prematurely. It’s a good idea to try to exclude smoking and alcohol several months before conception. If you do drink coffee, consider reducing your intake or opting for decaffeinated options instead. You will certainly feel better for it.
Exercise should be part of a healthy lifestyle in any case, but is particularly important during the conception and pregnancy phase. Regular exercise boosts your mood, blood flow and can set up good habits for your future pregnancy. Exercise also helps you sleep well. Being fit and healthy before pregnancy can help with energy during pregnancy and give you more stamina for labour and delivery.
Nutrition & Natural Fertility
It goes without saying that your health during conception will impact your baby’s development. Try to eat a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limit unhealthy drinks and snacks (such as alcohol and caffeine).
Kristy Manners is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Breastfeeding Counsellor at Growth Spectrum. Kristy recommends that you look at re-evaluating your diet for optimal success around three months before you try to conceive. There are many factors that can have an impact on fertility including age, lifestyle, stress, weight, toxins, disease and more. But Kristy believes that nutrition is one of the most powerful ways to assist conception.
Assess your Vitamin Levels
Some pregnancies happen without planning so it is always important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during your child bearing years. If you are planning a pregnancy, then it is essential that you check your general health and well-being before you start trying to have a baby. Your GP check up can include immunisation status and a check of iron levels.
It is recommended to take folate for at least one month before you plan to start trying for a baby and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folate is a “B Group vitamin” that assists in the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. You can obtain folate through your diet by eating green leafy vegetables. Folate can also be found in products like bread or cereal that have added folic acid. It is a good idea to maximise your folate levels by taking a supplement in conjunction with a healthy diet.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Body weight falls under the same umbrella as diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy body weight benefits a whole lot more than just your fertility. Being overweight can affect ovulation in women and decrease sperm count in men. So tackling weight problems can have a huge impact on your ability to conceive naturally.
Bubbaroo is all about sleep. Sleep affects our overall health regardless of our age. Good sleep = better mood and better health! You need at least 8 hours sleep a night in order to maximise the restorative power of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect your ability to fall pregnant.
Once you have a baby, sleep will become one of your most coveted activities so practise good sleep routines and hygiene now! Think of sleep as a tool to re-energising your body for whatever lies ahead…the next day, next week or next month. You can fill your sleep bank! Read more in our blog “Your Health Is Your Wealth – Prioritising Sleep”.
Assess Your Stress
Stress can impact on your ability to conceive and I know this from first hand experience. First, high stress levels are shown to affect chances of getting pregnant and second, high stress levels can affect your relationships and mood. Try to look at what is causing stress in your life and take steps to manage what you can and reduce your stress levels. It might be work, finances, friends or family that are causing stress. Turn to exercise to improve your coping mechanisms or look at your calendar and address time management issues if this is what is causing your stress. Try restorative, relaxing measures to get on top of your stress such as massage, naps and taking a short holiday wherever is possible.
Include Your Partner in the Health Boost
I might be stating the obvious here, but it takes both sperm and egg to make a baby! That means 50% of the baby’s health comes from the father at conception. Often only the mother looks at her health as she will carry the baby for 9+ months but it is equally important for fathers-to-be to assess their own health, well-being and nutrition. Your baby’s development starts from the moment of conception so both parents need to look at their health.
Shift Your Focus
If you have been trying for a while and the lack of success is wearing you down, try to focus on other things in your life. Maybe start a new project at home, take up a new hobby such as yoga, art, a language, cooking class. Make a gratitude journal for things that are going well in your life. Take up a voluntary position. These are just some ways that you can improve your mental attitude during these trying times. I know this worked for us – we resigned ourselves to the fact that trying month after month after month….was creating stress on top of stress so we had a break obsessing about conceiving. We had started seeing a Chinese Dr and consuming some really disgusting herbs and within a couple of months of relaxing we conceived.
I found out on a Saturday a couple of days before we were due to visit a fertility clinic. The most excited reaction I got was from the receptionist at the fertility clinic when I phoned to cancel my appointment!
Having Trouble Conceiving?
Changes in society have changed the odds of fertility. Many women are having babies later in life after securing their position in the workforce. Fertility can decline with age, affecting egg and sperm quality and the possibility of miscarriage.
Some medical conditions such as endometriosis, thyroid conditions and other issues can contribute to infertility. Thankfully the good news is that many medical issues affecting fertility can be diagnosed and treated. Medical advancements have come a long way in recent years to help those affected by fertility issues.
Seek Further Medical Advice Sooner Rather Than Later
You should discuss any fertility issues with your GP. If you have been trying for a baby for 12 months without any success then you should seek further medical advice to help rule out any other causes that may be preventing you from falling pregnant. If you are over the age of 35 and have been unsuccessfully trying to fall pregnant for more than 6 months, see your doctor.
An improved focus on health and well being in the lead up to pregnancy and parenthood can be beneficial for everyone. We wish you every success in your pregnancy endeavours…
We would love to hear your honest views and experiences about trying to conceive in the comments section below.