1. Clean Up Your Diet
I would consider this one a pre-conception goal. Your body needs to be in a good place before you get pregnant (ideally). Sure there are many women who conceive and don’t care about what they eat, but keep in mind, I’m talking more about optimizing conception of a healthy pregnancy and baby. Cutting inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol is a good place to start. Tons of organic veggies, clean sources of animal protein, legumes, nuts, seeds, oils, fruit and water should make up the bulk of your diet. Also, prioritizing fats in the diet is a good idea. Avocado, nuts, seeds, healthy oils (coconut, avocado, olive, grapeseed, ghee, grass-fed butter), and yes, even animal fats can be very health promoting. Cholesterol in eggs for example, is needed to make your sex hormones!
2. Take the Right Supplements
Ideally, you want your body to be “stocked up” on the nutrients you will want in your body throughout pregnancy. Folate should already be at adequate levels before you conceive. Folate helps to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. Get on a good quality prenatal multivitamin if you know that babies are in your future. Fish oils, vitamin D and probiotics are the other super important supplements to take (I would argue for general health, but especially for fertility). One fertility specific supplement I’d suggest is CoQ10 which can help to improve egq quality and fertilization rates. CoQ10 is also an antioxidant which helps to deal with free radicals in the body. Other supplements you may consider are vitamin C for immune system support, and magnesium for muscle relaxant effects.
3. Start Tracking Your Cycle
Start on day 1 of your cycle, and take your basal body temperature before you make a move when you wake up. Use an app like fertility friend to track your temperature, so that you can have an idea of when you ovulate every month. If you don’t have the standard 28 day cycle and ovulate on day 14, you may be trying to conceive at the wrong time, thinking it’s not working! Another thing to keep track of is cervical mucous. When you’re ovulating, you should have some discharge that looks and feels like egg whites. When you see this discharge, it’s the perfect time to call up your partner for a rendez-vous 😉
4. Look Into Potential Problems
If you have been trying to conceive, doing all of the above and it’s just not happening, you may have to start digging a bit and looking into potential problems. Some common problems that will keep you from conceiving are PCOS, ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, scar tissue from an IUD or abortion, or maybe it’s the motility of your partners sperm. Work with your doctor to get the right testing done to determine if you have any of these issues and then work with a naturopath to help to rectify the problem in natural ways, so that you can continue working to conceive.
5. Regular Exercise
When it comes to exercise, I always recommend anything that motivates you to get moving. Walking, dancing, lifting, yoga, pilates, spinning.. whatever! But that being said, I also believe it is super important to incorporate something that promotes strength building like strength training, complimented with something that will improve your mobility like yoga. Exercise is the best way to get fresh, oxygen rich blood around to all of your systems, including your reproductive system. Also, building muscle properly will allow you to have a strong body so that when you do conceive, you can manage the extra weight with your strength and body awareness. Here are some exercise tips if you want to workout at home.
6. Managing Sleep & Stress
This one is the hardest for many, because as much as we would love a full 8 hour sleep and a stress-free work day, our life is not set up for this to be possible. There are a few steps we can take here to make this better. The first one is to get a meditation app like insight timer, and try 3-5 minutes of guided meditation daily, either in the morning or before bed. This will help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest). For sleep, if you can’t get 8 hours, optimize your sleep quality by sleeping in pitch darkness, a little cold, and avoid technology for at least an hour before going to bed. All in all, give yourself a break, because trying to get pregnant can be super stressful. I know it’s easier said than done, but when you’re doing all you can do, the rest is out of your hands, and whatever is meant to be, will be. If you’re reading this and trying to get pregnant, I’m sending you all the positive vibes and wishing you the best of luck!
What fertility tips do you have? Leave your best tips in the comments below!