If you’ve finally decided that it’s the right time to start your family but you’re struggling to get pregnant, you may be experiencing infertility. It can be frustrating and upsetting if getting pregnant is taking longer than you expected. If you’re concerned, but aren’t at the point where you’re ready to take the big (and expensive) step of medical intervention, there are some simple lifestyle changes that can improve your chances to conceive.
5 All-Natural Ways to Boost Your Fertility
1. Get Enough Sleep
Research suggests a link between sleep and fertility. The same part of the brain that regulates the hormones responsible for our sleep-wake cycle also triggers the release of reproductive hormones. This is true for both men and women, so a lack of sleep could interfere with the hormones tied to ovulation in women and sperm production in men, affecting fertility in both. If you’re like most Americans, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep, which can be bad for fertility. The team of doctors at the Texas Fertility Center here in Austin have some suggestions for getting more sleep:
- Stick to a regular bedtime and practice good sleep hygiene – go to bed in a comfortable, dark room, avoid screens before bedtime, and use relaxation techniques like reading or meditation.
- Get enough sunlight during the day to help you regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Aim to get at least one hour each day.
- Try to avoid caffeine or alcohol within five hours of bedtime.
2. Lower Your Stress Levels
Dr. Fadi Yahya, OB-GYN, says that:
“While it’s unlikely that stress alone can cause infertility, stress interferes with a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Research has shown that women with a history of depression are twice as likely to experience infertility. Anxiety also can prolong the time needed to achieve pregnancy.”
Dr. Yahya also points out that infertility itself can cause more stress, creating a vicious cycle for women trying to conceive. If you’re struggling to get pregnant and are feeling stressed out because of it, Dr. Yahya recommends a few ways to manage your stress levels:
- Learn about infertility
- Communicate with your partner about your feelings and needs
- Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation
- Take care of your health
One study found that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.
Robert Brzyski, MD, PHD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, says that women who are trying to get pregnant who don’t exercise at all should be encouraged to do so. On the link between exercise and fertility, he says, “We’ve known that weight is an important factor in fertility, but considering the role of exercise is a recent phenomenon in Western medicine.” However, Dr. Brzyski warns hopeful mothers to be wary when it comes to counting on exercise to impact fertility, as there still hasn’t been a lot of research done on the topic:
“Unless a woman’s periods are absent or irregular, exercise is usually the last variable we look at, because it’s the one we know the least about and one whose effect varies from woman to woman…but research is beginning to suggest it’s more important than we realize.”
4. Watch Your Nutrition
What you put into your body matters when it comes to your fertility. You should, as always, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that meets your daily needs in terms of protein, healthy fats, carbs, fiber, and essential nutrients, but it’s not just enough to eat what you should. There are also things you should avoid consuming when trying to conceive.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding or at least limiting your consumption of:
- Caffeine – Caffeine reduces the amount of calcium you absorb, and some research shows that it lowers your fertility by approximately 27%
- Processed Foods – Processed foods contain pesticides, artificial hormones, and preservatives, which collectively have a negative impact on your overall health and wellness
- Red Meat – Eating a lot of red meat can lead to endometriosis, which can interfere with conception
- Soy Products – Soy consumption by men has been linked to lower sperm counts
Eleni Ottalagana, Registered Dietician Nutritionist and owner of Women’s Nutrition Clinic in Austin, notes that many of the foods and drinks that are a common part of the everyday diet of most Americans can impact fertility:
“We live in a world with a lot of fertility offenders. What I mean by this is that every day we come across certain foods or lifestyle choices that can negatively impact our fertility. So it is up to us to make the right choices!”
Like the American Pregnancy Association, Ottalagana recommends avoiding caffeine, particularly soft drinks, and offers a fertility tip you might not have considered – reducing the amount of animal protein you consume. She says that you don’t have to cut meat out completely, but limiting the amount of meat you eat to “2-3 ounces of high quality grass fed protein at every meal (the size of your fist)” can positively impact your health, including your fertility.
5. Try a Natural Fertility Treatment
Sometimes, when a woman is struggling to get pregnant, she may not actually be infertile. There may be an underlying cause behind an inability to conceive, and it can often be addressed with lifestyle changes or other all-natural solutions.
According to the Texas Center for Reproductive Acupuncture, “conditions like short menstrual cycles, long menstrual cycles, cramping, excessive clotting, and length of bleeding have all been shown to affect your chances of getting and staying pregnant.”
After nearly 20 years of clinical practice working with thousands of infertile couples, Kirsten Karchmer, founder and clinical director of The Texas Center for Reproductive Acupuncture, (TCRA) has pioneered new strategies, which integrate the best of conventional reproductive medicine and natural fertility care, to help couples improve their chances of conceiving.
The services offered by the TCRA include help with creating and sticking to plans for nutrition and lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, and, of course, acupuncture. Their holistic fertility acupuncture service begins with a brief consult with the acupuncturist, followed by essential oils and white noise. You do need to have already had your initial consultation to schedule a fertility acupuncture session.
Increase Your Chance of Getting Pregnant with All-Natural Lifestyle Changes
Our knowledge of reproductive health has come very far, and while there are many options out there for couples struggling to conceive, sometimes improving your chances of getting pregnant is as simple as making lifestyle changes. Treating our minds and bodies right can do wonders when it comes to our fertility and our overall wellness.
If trying to get pregnant has had a negative impact on your mental health, know that you’re not alone! Many people feel majorly impacted by infertility. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, consider mental health counseling. You can even receive specialized fertility counseling services.
Stress can interfere with your ability to get pregnant, so be sure to manage your stress levels! One way you can manage stress is through massage. Regular massage therapy effectively reduces anxiety, improves emotional resilience and enhances feelings of general well-being. It does this by decreasing our levels of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) and increasing the activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts to calm our bodies and brain during stress.
Massage, especially a massage every month, helps you feel calmer, more at ease, and well…Better!
Ready to feel better? Book your massage today.
This blog post and all content and media on www.sageblossommassage.com is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.