(Natural News) Infertility – defined as the inability to get pregnant after actively trying to do so for 12 months while not using any contraceptives during that period – is a common problem. Around 15 percent of couples struggle to have a baby, with about a third of these issues attributable to the woman, a third to the man, and the other third to a combination of problems or to an unknown issue.
Although there are some fertility problems that cannot be overcome, the good news is that there are a few simple lifestyle changes that can boost fertility by a whopping 69 percent, giving couples who have all but given up on falling pregnant new hope of having a baby of their own.
Basic lifestyle changes
There are some commonsense lifestyle changes that require a little bit of effort but will not only increase fertility but improve your health in every way.
A sedentary lifestyle has been conclusively linked to infertility, and the Nurses’ Health Study II found that for every hour spent exercising each week the risk of infertility dropped by 5 percent.
The key is consistent, regular, moderate exercise. Studies have found that a high intensity exercise program, besides being harder to maintain in the long-term, can actually decrease fertility in women.
Lose (or gain) weight
Studies have found that being overweight impacts a whole range of processes involved in healthy fertility, and that for some people, losing weight makes all the difference in getting pregnant.
Being underweight also reduces fertility, however, and a moderate, healthy weight is the optimal goal.
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What you eat and how you maintain that healthy weight is also very important.
For example, eating a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner has been found to increase fertility, particularly among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Studies have also found that foods high in antioxidants like zinc and folate increase fertility in both men and women.
A low carbohydrate diet, which includes only unrefined, unprocessed carbohydrates in limited quantities, can increase fat loss, reduce insulin levels and help regulate the menstrual cycle, all of which improve fertility.
Fresh fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which studies have found help the body eliminate excess estrogen by binding it to the intestines. One study found that increasing fiber intake by just 10 grams a day lowered the risk of ovulatory infertility in women over the age of 32 by 44 percent.
Since pesticides have been linked to fertility issues, it would also be best to switch to eating organic, non-GMO fresh produce. (Related: Learn more at Pesticides.news.)
Most of us are highly stressed and the hormones released by stress have a direct impact on fertility.
Studies have found that around 30 percent of women who visit fertility clinics are stressed, depressed or anxious, which, of course, is only exacerbated by the process of trying to get pregnant.
It is important to make time to consciously relax, perhaps by listening to quiet music, reading a book or some gentle stretching exercises.
Counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy may also be necessary to reduce anxiety and depression, thereby improving fertility.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake
One study found that consuming 500mg of caffeine daily would increase the time it takes a woman to fall pregnant by over nine months. High caffeine intake can also lead to miscarriage.
Studies have also found that a moderate amount of caffeine can actually increase fertility but be sure to limit intake to one or two cups a day.
Alcohol is another drink that needs to be consumed in moderation. One large observational study found that consuming more than eight drinks a week causes delays in pregnancy. Another study found that drinking even five or fewer drinks a week was enough to impair fertility.
Minimize cell phone use
Of course, these devices are more-or-less a necessary evil in modern society, but it is wise to take steps to reduce exposure by limiting their use, keeping them in airplane mode as often as possible, not keeping them on your body (in a pocket, for example) and switching them off at night when you are sleeping.
A few simple lifestyle changes might be just what’s needed to help you get pregnant. Who knows? Perhaps this time next year you will be holding a baby of your own in your arms.