There are many things you can do on your own to naturally increase your chance for conception. Here are a few of top methods I tell my patients to follow:
Don’t put it off
Over the past decade, females are progressively taking more time focus on their professional lives before building a family. Due to this, many are not trying to conceive until well into their thirties. As females we are born with a certain number of eggs and then lose them as we age; and we lose them more rapidly after turning 35 years old. The quality changes drastically too. If you are under 35 then take a year to try; however if you’re 35 or older you’ll want to seek help after trying to conceive for 6 months. Your fertility may be in great shape, but a few simple tests will give you information about how aggressive to be.
How important is it to be a healthy weight? A BMI of 19-24 is normal. A BMI of less than 19 or greater than 30 can cause irregular cycles and irregular ovulation. With obesity, pregnancy rates and success rates with IVF are both decreased. Miscarriages, risk for gestational diabetes and hypertension (pre-eclampsia) are also increased. See your health care provider to determine the healthiest, most effective way for you to attain a healthy weight for conception.
Focus on foods high in antioxidants. A “Mediterranean diet” is a good example. Increase seafood, fruits and vegetables. Limit your intake of red meat and saturated fats. Avoid foods that are overcooked, charred grilled, BBQ. Avoid overheating foods by boiling and microwaving. These foods can induce oxidative stress. Caffeine is okay to consume, however limit to two (8 oz) drinks a day.
DHEA- 25 mg 2 times a day (better absorption if taken with a meal containing some fat). Start 3-4 weeks prior to treatment cycle and discontinue when pregnant. DHEA may improve hormonal balance to achieve greater ovarian/uterine function.
COQ10- 600mg daily. Has shown in recent studies to reduce oocyte aneuploidy (chromosomally abnormal egg).
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACID- 1800 mg daily. May improve fertility outcome through an antioxidant effect.
MELATONIN- Recommended dose per brand. Has shown to enhance egg and embryo quality by reducing oxidative stress on the ovaries.
Smoking- Causes severe oxidative stress in both males and females. Increased rates of miscarriage (16%) and infertility (reduces pregnancy rates in ½) with menopause 4 years earlier than non-smokers. It is recommend to stop smoking ASAP, however at least 3-6 months prior to fertility treatments.
Caffeine- too much can cause an increase in miscarriage/infertility. Two 8 oz servings a day is a safe.
Chemical Exposure- minimize the best you can although we are naturally exposed to chemicals out of our control. Avoid overly processed/canned foods, limit microwaving which causes increase BPA exposure, and charred/grilled foods. Avoid pre-prepared foods/meal prepping in plastic containers and definitely avoid heating in those containers and/or styrofoam. Remove food and heat on glass plate.
Stress: Geesh how do we avoid this one??? Any woman experiencing infertility feels extremely stressed. Find YOUR way to mange stress… Do you enjoy exercising? Do you enjoy reading? Have you tried acupuncture? All of these and many more can help alleviate your stress. The way you alleviate your stress is not necessarily going to be the same as someone else.
As a side note… I’ve been here… I know what it is like to struggle with infertility. Remember you are not alone and that there are great things we can do for you. I tell my patients to let me stress for them. Once seeing us it is our job to get you where you want to be. Your job is to take care of yourself! Truly taking care of yourself can make a huge impact on your ability to conceive.
Looking for more ways to boost your fertility? Check out Dr. Wells' take on how to naturally increase your fertility below: