The worst thing you can do when trying to conceive is panic—stress can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Try these simple steps to improve your fertility, and then get back into the bedroom.
1. Try the fertility diet
What you eat has a huge impact on how easily you conceive. Consuming lots of refined carbohydrates such as white flour, sugar, and sodas decreases your chances of conceiving. Eating whole grains, vegetables, and legumes has the opposite effect. Other foods that studies have found to reduce fertility include trans fats (in margarine, French fries, and donuts), meat, and skimmed or lowfat dairy products. Choose beans, nuts, seeds, and full-fat dairy instead.
Studies have found that women who experience personal or fertility-related stress are less likely to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. They also take longer to conceive than their more serene peers. So take time every day to unwind: Practice yoga, meditate, try acupuncture, or choose another activity that triggers Zen-like calm.
3. Keep fit
Excess body fat can lead to the overproduction of certain hormones that affect ovulation. Maintaining a healthy weight helps to normalize your hormone levels. Just be careful not to become obsessive about exercise, as too much strenuous activity can also lower fertility.
4. Give up or reduce caffeine
Women who consume the amount of caffeine found in two cups of coffee are twice as likely to miscarry as those who don’t drink caffeine, suggests a recent study. While it’s best to give up caffeine altogether, if you can’t do without your morning joe, try keeping your caffeine intake to one small cup.
5. Skip or change your lube
Couples having lots of sex in order to increase their chances of parenthood may reach for lubrication to keep from getting sore. But some kinds of commercial lubricants damage sperm. Water-based lubricants, such as Astroglide and KY Jelly can inhibit sperm motility by 60 to 100 percent within 60 minutes. Canola oil, however, does not have the same effect.
6. Cut out the alcohol
Even moderate drinking can reduce your chances of pregnancy. A recent study found that women who drank socially, consuming one to five drinks per week, were at a greater risk of decreased fertility than women who abstained altogether. One reason is that alcohol disrupts the hormonal balance of the reproductive system.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking cigarettes damages both male and female fertility. Researchers in Portugal found that cigarette smoke can impair the uterus’s receptiveness to an egg. In men, smoking reduces sperm production and damages DNA.