Whether you’re trying for the first time or for baby number two, there are many things couples don’t know about trying to conceive.
We all know the basics like having regular sex and eating healthily, but there are other things we should be mindful of, such as what cleaning products you use and cutting back on alcohol BEFORE you start trying.
Fertility expert Nicole Tricario, who is a Natural Fertility Counsellor, tells The Healthy Mummy her top tips.
1. Track your menstrual cycle
Get clued up on when you’re actually ovulating, as it is a common myth that all women ovulate on day 14.
“Before starting to try for a baby it can be a helpful process to track your menstrual cycles. You can do this by observing your cervical mucus changes throughout the cycle,” says Nicole.
“The cervix releases different types of mucus during the cycle in response to oestrogen levels, which peak around ovulation time. Each woman has a unique cervical mucus pattern leading up to ovulation (where her egg is released).
“If you’re coming off hormonal contraception it can sometimes take time for your mucus production to return to a normal fertile pattern. Some women can have irregular cycles also, so consider coming off this a few months or more before trying and using another form of contraception while you wait.”
2. Eat healthy fats
You need a healthy egg and a healthy sperm to make a healthy baby, so naturally both you and your partner may have to make good food choices to help achieve this.
“Eat a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean meats and fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, full fat dairy and healthy fats is a great start,” says Nicole.
“Sourcing organic foods where possible is also recommended. Limiting processed foods such as white bread and pasta, processed meats, high sugar foods like biscuits, cakes, lollies and soft drink means you can fill your diet with nutrient dense foods, not empty calories.
“If you suffer with any food sensitivities or intolerances it’s a good idea to avoid these foods before conception and during pregnancy.”
3. Limit the nasties
If you are planning for a baby, it’s recommended that you significantly cut back on your alcohol intake and stop smoking.
“Cigarette smoking can impact health and fertility greatly, so it’s ideal if either of you smoke to consider giving up prior to conceiving,” says Nicole.
“Alcohol can also deplete nutrients and put an extra load on your liver and kidneys. Limiting or avoiding alcohol even before conception can increase your fertility.”
4. Cut back on coffee
Caffeine intake can also affect fertility, says Nicole.
“When consumed close to food it can impact on nutrient absorption, and may also have a diuretic effect,” says Nicole.
“Try to limit your intake to no more than 2-3 cups of tea or 1-2 coffees per day, or ditch them for herbal tea.”
5. Start purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products
Cleaning products contain another source of toxins, that you may be inhaling or absorbing through your skin, which can ultimately hinder conceiving, says Nicole.
“You can consider changing over to more earth and people friendly versions. Skin care, soaps, hair care and make up also often contain nasty chemicals,” she says.
“There are many alternative options that are organic and or steer clear of the worst toxins.”
6. Improve your circulation
We all know that exercise helps keep us fit and healthy, and being in good physical shape can help your overall health and fertility. But blood circulation in pregnancy planning is key!
“One of the things that helps with fertility is having good circulation to the pelvis and reproductive organs, which can be enhanced by regular exercise,” admits Nicole.
“Whether it’s walking, yoga, pilates, gym classes, weights or a sport, having a good exercise regime can help. Extreme or excessive exercise is not recommended, in some cases this can increase inflammation levels in your body and increase oxidative stress which may impact on egg quality, but more particularly sperm quality and quantity.”
7. Manage stress
High levels of stress or prolonged stress can impact your health in many ways.
“It can deplete nutrient levels at a higher rate than normal, and start to impact the balance of stress hormones which can then interfere with reproductive hormones,” adds Nicole.
“You might find that exercise is also a great stress reliever as well as yoga, meditation, visualisation, reading, spending time in nature or doing something that you enjoy.”
When it comes to planning for a baby, be sure to speak with your G.P.
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