Infertility has doubled in the last 20 years and although it may be because women are trying to conceive at an older age, even younger women are having problems. Although each situation is very unique, a healthy lifestyle can improve your chances of conceiving.
A healthy diet plays an important role in preparing your body for pregnancy. Weight, the right food choices, caffeine and alcohol can all factor in. Being overweight or even underweight can affect your reproductive hormones. Researchers have found that it can take four times as long to get pregnant if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is under 19, while having a BMI over 25 can double the time. For those women with a BMI over 25, losing 5 to 10% of body weight improved ovulation and pregnancy rates.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, certain foods can increase fertility and others can actually hinder it. To boost your chances of getting pregnant, eat monounsaturated fats (olive oil), vegetable protein (legumes, soy, beans), high fiber, low glycemic foods (whole grains, vegetables) and moderate amounts of high fat dairy products (organic yogurt, cheese, whole milk). Cut back on the following: trans fats (baked goods, fast foods), animal protein, refined carbohydrates and sugars, and non-fat milk products.
Alcohol and caffeine also factor in. If you have more than two alcoholic drinks per day and are wondering why you can’t get pregnant, a Swedish study reported a 60% reduction in fertility in women who raised their glasses more than once a day. The same goes for caffeine. Cutting back on coffee may improve your eggs’ ability to mature and fertilize. Limit caffeine to 200mg per day from all sources (teas, chocolate, coffee, soda).
You may also want to consider allergy testing. Some women have found that eliminating foods that they are sensitive to, like gluten, helped with conception. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have food allergies or sensitivities.