Zita West's 7 top tips for boosting fertility
I’m asked every day what are my main tips and advice for boosting fertility. So, I’ve decided to sum them up in 7 bite-sized points!
Alongside making all lifestyle tweaks and changes, it’s also important to remember that on average it takes 8 months to conceive. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time.
1. Eat well – Nutrition plays such an important role when it comes to fertility. It’s really important to consume nutritious, nutrient-dense food prior to getting pregnant, because what you need to do is to be able to build healthy eggs and healthy sperm. You should eat a whole range of foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, good fats, yoghurt and beta carotene rich foods such as tomatoes, carrots and red peppers.
2. Get fit – Doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Whether it’s walking, running or something totally different, exercise releases the endorphins needed to maintain a positive state of mind during your fertility journey. However, men do not over-exercise… too much exercise – especially cycling – can divert testosterone away from your testicles and your sperm count will drop.
3. Have more sex – The truth is many couples do not have sex frequently enough, and when you’re trying to conceive, sex is obviously key. Although sex tends to become more stressful than enjoyable for many couples who are trying to conceive, it is absolutely essential that you are having sex at least three times weekly during your fertile period because sperm can live up to a week inside you so regular sex helps you ensure a constant flow of sperm for ovulation.
4. Cut out cigarettes – If you’re trying to get pregnant smoking is a big no-no. Smoking is hugely detrimental to fertility – to eggs and to sperm – not to mention the future health of the unborn child.
5. Reduce alcohol – The fact of the matter is that research shows us that on average, the more alcohol you drink, the longer it will take you to get pregnant and the less likely you are to be successful. For women alcohol may contribute to irregular periods, irregular ovulation and luteal phase defects, reducing chances of conception and for men, alcohol can affect sperm morphology and motility, and cause free-radical damage to the DNA sperm carries.I recommend you cut out or at least cut down on alcohol to boost your chances of successful fertility.
6. Stress less – Trying for a baby, especially when you’ve been trying for a while can be a stressful time – that’s why it is important to actively take steps to reduce stress in your life and find the stress-management techniques that work for you such as; yoga, meditation, swimming, running or just taking a long bath. I recommend acupuncture to my patients as it can help with help with blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries, and beta-endorphin release, which means a greater sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
7. Take supplements – I always advise couples, especially those with busy lives, to consider a multi-vitamin and mineral that contains folic acid, zinc and selenium. Many women we see are depleted in vitamin D to, so make sure you take that as a supplement as well. It’s also important to build omega 3 into the body prior to getting pregnant.