How can you Boost your Fertility?
More and more couples are being affected by fertility issues, 1 in 7 couples suffer from difficulties conceiving.
During Fertility Awareness week I would like to give you some tips on how you can help your fertility, even if you are not yet actively trying it’s wise to have good health habits anyway. Also it takes around 100 days for your body to make new follicles and new sperm, change of lifestyle, good diet and treatments like Acupuncture or Abdominal Sacral massage can help however you need to give your body enough time.
Where should you start?
Firstly make sure you understand your body and your monthly cycle. Most women are not sure what a healthy period should look like how much you should be bleeding? Did you know is not normal to be in pain during your period?
What should a healthy period look like?
- No Pain
- No PMT
- No Clots
- Bleeding for 4-5 days
- Cycle between 26-32 days
- Colour Fresh Red
- No pre or post period spotting
- You should loose in total over the days 50ml of blood= 3 tablespoons of blood. Fully soaked regular tampon or pad=5ml, super size tampon 10ml. So 50ml=10 regular tampons/pads.
- More then 80ml is heavy flow.
- You shouldn’t soak through.
- You should on ovulation have discharge of clear sticky mucus.
If your period is different than described above you should try to track your cycle and observe your body, as diet and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. If you’re not sure where to start make an appointment with your GP, but remember going on the pill is not solving the root issue, the pill will shutdown your hormones and if you think you would like to be a mum one day, going on the pill might not be the best decision.
Having a healthy and well balanced diet will help, try to eat locally and with the seasons and eat more warm foods in the winter, bare in mind if you are trying for a baby your body is working like an incubator, and embryos like to be in a warm environment. If you are not sure what you should be eating speak to Nutritionist that is specialising in treating fertility or to an Acupuncturist.
Look into taking supplements like Vitamin D
- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with lower sperm count.
- Adequate Vitamin D levels improve embryo quality also pregnancy rates in women diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistant going through IVF. Preconception levels of Vitamin D are associated with higher pregnancy and live birth rates.
- High dose Vitamin D (50,000iu fortnightly or 3,570iu daily) for 8 weeks improves AMH, insulin resistance and lipids in women with PCOS
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes mainly from exposure to sunlight and certain foods like: fish-liver oil, oily fish, egg yolks, mushrooms (is good to dry mushrooms In the sun before Cooking) Unfortunately we can’t get enough Vitamin D from our diet so supplements are the way to go.
Other supplements that are recommended while trying for a baby is a Vitamin B complex, Folate is better then Folic Acid as it’s a more natural form of the vitamin and the body does not have to break it down, to absorb Folate better you should be eating eggs or taking a Choline supplement.
Moderate gentle exercise about 3-4 times a week will also help, you want to nourish your follicles and your endometrium lining and too much exercise might prevent that, however inactivity is not good for you either. Some women are depleted and the body cannot support pregnancy and physical training so please bare this in mind. Obviously we are all different, there are exceptions to this rule and there are women who have conceived while training for marathons or while lifting heavy weights.
When it comes to men and exercising, cycling is not recommended, as testicles are not being in the most favourable position, which may affect the sperm quality.
If you are in the active phase of trying, mental health is also very important. I have noticed over the years that many women do not talk to anyone about their fertility journey, potential miscarriages or difficulties while conceiving. Try to speak to your friends or your partner, having the support of your loved ones can make a difference, you may want to conceder talking therapy also.
Life can be very stressful, especially recently. Unfortunately stress can play a massive role in your fertility.
Some Facts about Stress and how is effecting our body:
- When we are under stress our body can prevent us from getting pregnant; Adrenal gland that produces adrenaline stops our body from utilising progesterone.
- Adrenal gland also produces cortisol (stress hormone), to produce cortisol adrenal gland needs progesterone, so it steals the progesterone that women need for healthy menstrual cycle and to support pregnancy.
- During stress GnRH is also inhibited and this will suppress ovulation and Sperm Count.
- Adrenaline will cause the pituitary gland to produce higher level of prolactin and high levels of prolactin can influence lack of ovulation.
- Stress can cause some spasms in fallopian tubes and uterus, which can interrupt fertilised egg during implantation process.
- Sperm motility can be affected by stress.
- Stress reduces production of oestrogen from the follicle that reduces the thickness of the endometrium.
- Stress affects a large part of our immune system, which is responsible for preventing miscarriage in early pregnancy.
Avoiding stress completely is impossible but you can try to help minimise the effects on your body and cope with it better. Through meditation, listening to calming music, or light exercise like dancing, or yoga, also having a massage or reflexology therapy can be beneficial in dealing with stress.
Holistic therapies can help with your fertility you can try reflexology which is a very calming, relaxing treatment, can help with hormonal imbalances caused by stress.
Abdominal Sacral massage for fertility helps with circulation of blood in the lower abdomen and that helps with bringing more oxygen and hormones to the reproductive organs.
As an Acupuncturist I would also recommend having regular acupuncture. Acupuncture for fertility has many benefits like:
- Increases blood flow to the reproductive system, very helpful in natural conception and IVF.
- Regulates periods.
- Can help with ovulation and menstrual issues in patients with PCOS.
- Can ease pain during menstrual cycle, very helpful in patients with Endometriosis.
- Acupuncture can help lowering stress levels, some studies has shown that during treatment brain is producing more endorphins, happy hormones.
This quote explains very well how Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine works:
‘The body is one integrated system, not a collection of organs divided up by medical specialties. The medicine of the future connects everything.’
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
There is so much you can do to help your fertility and remember it takes two to make a baby, diet and lifestyle is also so important for having healthy sperm.
Working together to change your lifestyle so you can conceive can be a beautiful dedication to each other and create a stronger bond in your joint efforts to have a family.