Fertility issues affect up to 15% of couples. Lifestyle factors are modifiable habits. They can greatly influence the overall health and well-being, especially when it comes to fertility. Many of these factors, including your eating habits, sleeping habits, the age at which to start a family, exercise, nutrition, occupational and environmental exposures, have profound effects on fertility and .
Infertility is generally diagnosed after a couple has tried to conceive for over one year without success. In women, this can be the result of several problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ovulation disorders, uterine fibroids, or blocked Fallopian tubes. Male infertility is mainly caused due to oligospermia (very few sperm cells are produced) or azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced).
When you are planning to conceive, follow a healthy balanced diet of whole foods that have minimal processing. Try to eat lots and lots of organic food. This will help your body to absorb the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Following a healthy diet can reduce the intake of pesticides, which can have a negative impact on fertility.
Given below are the list of foods that may be beneficial to those wishing to optimize their fertility diet:
- Plant-based foods (Including whole fruits and vegetables)
- Whole grains
- Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Legumes (beans, lentils, etc.)
- Extra virgin olive oil (monounsaturated fat)
- Raw nuts
Women should begin making adjustments to their diet in advance of conception. This may involve supplements such as prenatal vitamin. Sometimes, when a woman undergoes a fertility workup, blood analysis will reveal nutritional deficiencies. This negatively impacts her fertility and her ability to carry a pregnancy to term. Prenatal nutrition. Taking prenatal vitamins can help give you and your baby all the nutrients during pregnancy. Always make sure that your prenatal vitamin includes folic acid, calcium, and iron in it.
Common Causes of infertility – How to Improve
There are many lifestyle practices that increase the risk of infertility. Smoking, consuming too much alcohol, mental stress and poor diet are some of the well-known causes of infertility. Factors such as medical issues that affect the ability to conceive might be beyond your control. But your lifestyle choices can definitely have a major impact on your fertility.
Say no to smoking
Smoking increases your chance for infertility by 13%. With the number of cigarettes smoked daily, the risk of fertility problem increases. Pregnancy complication rates and erectile dysfunction also increases due to smoking. It extends the time you take to conceive.
Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and can also cause birth defects. In the case of women, smoking is known to speed up the death of healthy eggs and also bring on menopause earlier than in non-smoking women. Smoking decreases a man’s sperm count.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being obese increases the risk of infertility and the chance of having a healthy baby.
If a woman is overweight, then the extra body fat present in her body will increase the insulin levels. The ovaries produce too much testosterone when these insulin levels are elevated. A woman’s body won’t ovulate when the amount of testosterone is at a higher rate. If this problem cannot be cured, it’s natural to inquire about the use of IVF to become pregnant. Women who are overweight are often less likely to respond to fertility medications and IVF treatments.
Being obese also be considered as one of the causes of infertility in men. This is mainly due to a combination of factors such as hormonal problems, problems with erection and other health conditions linked to obesity. Weight loss can significantly increase the total sperm count and quality. Reaching a healthier weight at least three months before conception can improve the chances of conception. This is mainly because sperm take about three months to develop and maintaining a healthy weight during this time helps develop healthy sperm.
Depending on the amount of extra weight you are carrying, it is important that you consult a doctor to lose weight in a safe and healthy manner.
– Reduce alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption impacts both male and female fertility. It affects conception as well as implantation. There is no safe dose of alcohol. It increases the time to get pregnant and can affect a developing baby’s health. Consuming alcohol frequently can lower the testosterone level and sperm count. In some cases, this even causes erectile dysfunction.
– Reduce caffeine intake
If a man or woman consumes 3 cups of coffee a day, then the causes of infertility increases dramatically by 74%. Caffeine is associated with sub-optimal or suppressed fertility. It depletes the vital vitamins and minerals needed for ovulation and healthy fertility.
– Reduce stress
Stress can lead to certain behaviours that may impact the ability to conceive or sustain a pregnancy. Sometimes, stress may lead a person to consume alcohol or smoke. A woman might also avoid sex or forget to take the medications on time because of intense stress.
The infertility process can really be stressful at times, but it’s very important to do what you can to relax. Find ways to take off your mind from the things you can’t control- talk to your partner or a friend, take a warm bath, take deep breaths, and laugh often. When you practice this, you will find the stress slowly fading away.
Stress impairs fertility. Try acupuncture, yoga, meditation, breathing and other mind-body therapies.
Read about: Yoga for Anxiety and Stress
– Get quality sleep
Sleep plays an important role in a person’s life. It affects the quality of life, overall health of an individual, especially, fertility. A good night’s sleep can help restore and refresh the brain and organ system. It regulates essential hormones, including fertility-related hormones.
In both the genders, the same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones triggers the daily release of hormones related to reproduction. When you are sleeping, melatonin is naturally produced by the body. Any artificial light, such as device screen light can affect melatonin production. Sleep decreases cortisol levels which can lower testosterone.
Long term lack of sleep in a woman may directly affect the release of luteinizing hormone (LH). This is the hormone that triggers ovulation as part of regulating the menstrual cycle. This menstrual irregularity may mean that it will take longer to conceive.
– Maintain good oral hygiene
Periodontal disease interferes with the success of fertility treatments. It is a chronic bacterial infection, and this infection has been shown to prevent IVF treatments from being successful. Maintaining good oral hygiene will prevent problems like periodontal disease before they arise, which will prevent infection from interfering with your fertility treatments.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking to get pregnant in the future or are already in its process; it is never too late to make changes in your lifestyle. Practising healthy lifestyle habits or getting rid of your bad habits completely can improve your overall health, and these changes can very well boost fertility in both you and your partner.