Making babies is a fun task, and all that trying is a big part of the fun. But what happens when trying takes too long? More couples struggle with fertility these days than ever before, and stats show that couples procreating later in life are only part of the picture. Today’s world, full of stress and toxins, is hardly conducive to pregnancy. Here’s how to create the right environment—inside and out—for your hotly-anticipated arrival.
Turn off the type A.
Armed with ovulation charts, thermometers, and a strong determination, many couples approach getting pregnant like any other task, but this is one of those times when nature really will take its course. No matter your best efforts, each cycle offers a 25-30% chance of winning the baby roulette. Studies show stress impacts female fertility, but it can also affect sperm production and libido for both partners (this is supposed to be fun, remember).
Act as though you’re already pregnant.
Smoking can cut your chances of conceiving by 50%, so now’s the time to quit. Even one cup of coffee can have the same effect, and alcohol can impair ovulation and sperm production. With any luck, you’ll have some extra endorphins kicking around (all that trying) to boost your mood.
Make sure you’re moving.
Even light housework counts, but 30 minutes a day of walking, swimming, biking, or stretching will improve your reproductive function. Don’t overdo it though—studies also show that vigorous exercise (think an hour and a half workouts five or six days a week) can have a negative impact.
Go on toxin alert.
Get to know the “dirty dozen”—fruits and veggies that are known to have higher levels of toxic pesticides. The dirty dozen includes apples, potatoes, and kale, and if you choose organic versions you can cut your chemical exposure by 80%.
Plastic is full of BPA (Bisphenol A), a chemical that can interfere with uterine implantation, among other nasty side effects. Drink water from glass or stainless steel, and choose fresh or frozen food over canned—the cans are lined with BPA, and the toxin leaches into food and drinks.
Acupuncture and massage may not get you knocked up, but they’ll help put you, and your body, in the right frame of mind. Acupuncture is gaining some deserved credit with fertility specialists, especially for patients receiving IVF. Community acupuncture centres like Poke in Vancouver and Toronto Community Acupuncture offer sliding scale treatments that are affordable and accessible.
And remember—if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again, especially during your fertile period.
Darcy Smith, RNCP