If you are embarking on a fertility journey, whether it be trying naturally or undergoing assisted conception, it goes without saying that you would want to enhance your fertility and create for yourself the best chances of success. This involves taking a whole body view – lifestyle, stress and nutrition.
Some “what not to do’s”
Firstly, lets look at some of the things you may have tried but which I’d recommend you don’t do when trying to conceive. Don’t:
- think that what worked for “Becky” will work for you
- take lots of low quality supplements
- try one random diet after another
- blame the diets and supplements for not working
- ignore your nutrition altogether
- try to do “Everything”
- blame “Everything” for not working
- try to do it alone
A holistic approach is best
Your fertility is not an isolated aspect of your being. Just as with every other system – digestive, respiratory, circulatory – the reproductive system does not exist on it’s own.
Your nutrition, gut health, hormone balance, lifestyle, stress levels, toxin exposure, physical activity levels (or lack of) to name a few, all play a part in the overall functionality of your reproductive system and the health of your egg and sperm cells.
Fertility is complex and needs to be looked at on an individual level but there are some guidelines that are pretty universal and will benefit most, if not everyone.
Six Actions We Can All Manage:
Cut out the junk – Prioritise your nutrition and take out the junk. Avoid the main culprits – sugar, wheat, processed foods. As a good rule of thumb, anything that you couldn’t make in your own kitchen or that has gone through many steps since it was either growing in the ground or running around is to be avoided.
Avoid hormone disruptors – Plastics, household chemicals, gardening chemicals, artificial preservatives and flavourings are around us all the time. Our bodies aren’t really able to deal with these. Plastics in particular are responsible for having an oestrogenic effect and disrupting our hormone balance. Avoid plastic food containers, plastic drinks bottles, clingfilm. And definitely don’t microwave food in these sorts of materials – transfer to a pot dish if possible.
Check your supplements – There are so many supplements out there that it is easy to get overwhelmed. Make sure you know how much active ingredient you need and in which form it should be in to be best absorbed by your body. For example, make sure your supplement contains “methylfolate” rather than “folic acid” – folic acid is a synthetic form of methylfolate and not as bioavailable. Make sure to include a good Vitamin D supplement too.
Check with your doctor before starting a supplement regime.
Keep your blood sugar steady – When your blood sugar and insulin levels are constantly spiking and falling (don’t we all like a bit of sweet stuff!) there is a knock on effect on other aspects of your body’s chemistry – brain, gut, inflammation levels, immune system, egg/sperm quality. Try to avoid sugar (including refined, smoothies, fruit juices) and include some protein and healthy fats in every meal
Lower your stress levels – the body is better for activity, the mind is better for rest. How often do we get this the wrong way around? Are you running on caffeine to get through the day? Are you so stressed that your stress hormones are through the roof? Are you training too hard at the gym or running too many miles? Or are you sat on your proverbial all day
And, of course, number 6…. try acupuncture
Many people nowadays are becoming increasingly aware of acupuncture as a therapy option and it is becoming more widely acceptable.
Most of us are aware of the benefits of acupuncture with regards to relieving stress and reducing pain but are maybe less familiar with it in the context of fertility support.
Described in terms of Western medicine, there are several ways that acupuncture has been shown to aid natural conception and to boost the effectiveness of fertility treatment:
- stress relief
- improved blood flow
- hormone balancing
Studies show that acupuncture is proven to drive blood flow to the reproductive organs leading to
healthier follicles and sperm, supports healthy ovulation, supports IVF and IUI outcomes,
balances hormones, and reduces rates of miscarriage.
It is generally advised to start having acupuncture 3 months before trying to conceive but, in my opinion, it’s never too late to start!
How I Can Help
I’ve been privileged to help many people along their fertility journeys over the last twelve years.
In that time I’ve developed some great resources and treatments to provide the support you might need.
Are you thinking of trying acupuncture for fertility?
I recommend that you use an acupuncturist that is registered with the BAA. Members of the BAA are guaranteed to have completed full training to degree level and will be covered by most private health insurers. The BAcC is another recommended association.
Get in touch with Eileen here, by phone, by email or by booking a free 15 minute phone consultation:
Call on 07773332553