Insights from Sharon Shmueli, MD, Family Physician and Chief Medical Officer of Fruitful Way.
Has the time arrived for you to plan on starting a family? Then, this is an exciting yet daunting time. You may be getting tips from so many sources – friends, family and the Internet. Some tips may be confusing and some conflicting.
Here is sound advice from a physician – five essential science-based tips to get pregnant. These his-and-her tips are for both of you, since you both have a part in baby-making. While we know that women have a lot to consider before and during their nine months of pregnancy, more than ever, male infertility studies show that men’s preparedness is key to conception.
1. Keep lovemaking fun
Make love often throughout the month, sharing romantic intimacy with your partner and keeping it a positive experience.
Some couples don't have sex often enough or at the right times to maximize their chances of conceiving. Understanding the woman partner’s monthly menstrual cycle is important. Have sex at least twice a week; during your fertile window, make love every other day if at all possible. The fertile window is your most fertile and important time, when the egg leaves the ovary and is ready to “meet” the sperm. To calculate this window, which falls around mid-cycle, count 10-14 days from the end of your last period (if your cycle is 28 days long, then your window would fall between days 10-14). For a fertile window tracker, download the Fruitful Way app.
Sperm can live for up to seven days inside a woman’s body under the right conditions. So, if you have had sex during the days before ovulation, the sperm will have had time to travel up the fallopian tubes to “wait” for the egg to be released. Without ongoing monitoring, it is hard to know the precise time when ovulation happens, which is why it is recommended to have sex regularly around ovulation to maximize your chances.
2. Prepare your bodies in the months prior to for conceiving
Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake. Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it; too much or extreme exercise is not good either.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fertility-boosting micronutrients. Your diet should be varied, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, pasta and potatoes, as well as lean meat and poultry. If you eat fish, avoid fish containing high levels of mercury (such as tuna) and other potential toxins (tank-raised sea bass is a good option). Try to avoid processed foods, especially those that contain excessive amounts of fat. Cut down on junk food (you likely know that this includes cookies, cakes, chips and candy). Replace them with healthier alternatives like fresh and dried fruit, nuts/seeds and vegetables. Here are clever recipes for fertility-promoting snacks for when hunger sets in:
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Keep your weight in check, getting as close as possible to the ideal for your height and build. For women, if you are overweight, losing 5-10% of your body weight may help promote ovulation. If you are underweight, risking irregular ovulation, add pounds the healthy way. For men, a healthy weight could improve your sperm quality.
4. Quit or cut back on smoking
Smoking reduces sperm motility and sperm count and reduces the sperm’s ability to bind to the egg. It negatively affects the sperm’s genetic material and causes infertility. Scientific studies show a distinct improvement in sperm quality in as little as three months after stopping tobacco use. For women, reducing smoking can also help improve egg fertilization and ovulation.
5. Start taking his-and-her vitamins recommended for fertility
Prenatal vitamins, minerals and other key nutritional supplements for both women and men have been shown to enhance fertility.
Supplements, such as Fruitful Way, can help counter-balance your natural nutrient deficiencies to boost your chances of getting pregnant. Here are just a few examples of the vitamins you need to keep your body in top shape for conception:
Vitamin D helps make sure that you can produce the hormones that support fertilized egg implantation.
Zinc plays a role in ovulation and your menstrual cycle, protecting DNA from damage. Low zinc levels have shown to disrupt egg maturation, fertilization and implantation. Zinc is also vital to male fertility and sperm production.
Vitamin B6 is required for blood vessel production, which makes it essential for normal placenta function and implantation. Low vitamin B6 is associated with reduced fertility levels.
Folic acid is needed to help normal nervous system development, especially early on in fetal development.
Iron is important for both male and female fertility and general health. For women, it is critical to egg implantation and throughout the entire pregnancy.
Vitamin A is one of the best natural fertility boosters. It is key to embryo development, specifically the brain and nervous system (but excessive vitamin A poses risks, so take only the prescribed amount).
Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone production and essential for fetal brain development. Thyroid production increases by 50% during pregnancy, so, keep iodine intake in pace. Iodine deficiency can lead to an increased risk of sub-fertility, infertility and miscarriage.
Read more on other critical fertility micronutrients, such as omega 3, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin B12, on the Fruitful Way website.
For a limited-time, get a free 30-day Fruitful Way supplement subscription.