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9 Lifestyle Changes that Can Improve Fertility

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Infertility, which affects more than 7 million American women, is defined as failure to become pregnant after 12 months of trying. Most women have a desire to conceive at some point during their lifetime and can understandably experience anxiety and frustration when conception evades them.

The goods news is that many women can boost their fertility by making some practical changes. We’ve outlined some tips that are easy to implement in your journey to becoming pregnant.

#1: Lose weight

Carrying excess weight can impact your ability to conceive. Once thought of as an inactive substance that stores energy, we now know that fat is active and secretes certain hormones that influence other areas of the body, including the reproductive system. Studies show that losing even a small amount of weight -- about 5% of your body weight -- can significantly boost your fertility.

#2: Get active

A sedentary lifestyle is linked to a higher risk of infertility. For women who are overweight and inactive, exercise can have a positive impact on fertility. Together with weight loss, a healthy exercise program can go a long way in boosting your chances of becoming pregnant.

#3: Tweak your diet

Overeating, undereating, consuming too much of certain components and too little of others can make your reproductive system irregular and contribute to problems getting pregnant. Cutting back on animal protein and replacing some of it with nutritious vegetable protein sources, like beans and nuts, can help bring your diet into balance. Additionally, limiting refined sugar and emphasizing whole foods is a healthy approach to boosting your fertility through diet.

#4: Reign in your caffeine habit

You may enjoy your coffee habit, but there’s good reason to cut back on your caffeine intake. Excess caffeine consumption is shown to interfere with fertility. If you’re trying to get pregnant, consider cutting back on caffeinated beverages or eliminating them altogether and substituting other drinks like herbal tea. If you must have caffeine while you’re trying to conceive, try to limit your intake to two 8-ounce cups a day.

#5: Visit your dentist

Did you know that gum disease is linked to problems getting pregnant? The same bacteria that can infect your gums can hitch a ride in your bloodstream, travel to other parts of your body, and cause inflammation that can impact your reproductive system. Visit your dentist to ensure that your mouth is in good shape, and get treatment for gum disease if you have it.  

#6: Get a handle on stress

Prolonged stress has a negative impact on many aspects of health, including reproduction. If the rigors of daily life have you living under constant stress, it could be reducing your fertility. Stress reduction activities like meditation, yoga, and acupuncture can lower alpha-amylase – a marker for stress. Women with elevated levels of alpha-amylase have a harder time getting pregnant. This supports the recommendation to lower stress levels to boost fertility.

#7: Quit smoking

Don’t wait until you become pregnant to stop smoking. A nicotine habit can impact both your fertility and your partner’s. Smoking lowers the quality of sperm in men and impacts a woman’s reproductive health as well. It’s wise to quit smoking as soon as you’re considering trying to get pregnant. If you’ve tried to quit before without success, talk to your doctor about medication that can help you quit.

#8: Eliminate alcohol consumption

It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t consume alcohol while you’re pregnant. However, you may want to ditch alcohol when you’re trying to get pregnant. Frequent alcohol consumption can interfere with ovulation, so aim to cut out alcohol when you’re trying to conceive.

#9: Stay hydrated

Everyone knows that not getting enough fluids can drag you down, make you feel sluggish, and impact various systems in your body. Every cell in your body needs water. You may not know that your cervical fluid is sensitive to dehydration as well. Cervical fluid helps sperm reach an egg. Dehydration causes cervical fluid to become stagnant, reducing your fertility.

Our providers at Capital Women’s Care of Arlington and McLean, Virginia, provide the highest quality obstetric and gynecologic care. We can guide you every step of the way with preconception care to pregnancy care and beyond. To schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate obstetricians, call the office nearest you or book your request online.

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