When you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, it can seem like everything is working against you. And to some extent, this can be true.
Causes of Infertility: While a lot of factors contribute to infertility, your diet is a big part of your ability to get pregnant. In fact, diet is such an important component of fertility that Harvard University performed a huge, long-term study on the link between diet and fertility and released a list of dietary recommendations for men and women who are trying to conceive. Diet plays a critical role in both ovulation in women and sperm quality in men. Other factors that contribute to infertility include stress, excessive weight gain or loss, and vigorous exercise, which can make difficult or even impossible for the body to ovulate.
Symptoms of Infertility: Most symptoms of infertility are actually symptoms of an underlying condition linked to infertility, like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), hormone imbalance, low sperm count, and damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries. Because of this, it can be hard to identify the cause of your infertility without the help of a doctor. The best way to determine that you and your partner are struggling with infertility is to take notice of how long you have been trying to get pregnant. If you have been unsuccessful for at least 6 months (or 1 year if you’re over 35), then you are experiencing infertility.
Treatment: By changing your diet and eating more fertility-boosting foods, you can take more control of your fertility journey and improve your chances of getting pregnant both naturally and with IVF. If you’re preparing for IVF, here are some changes you can make to your IVF diet and lifestyle:
- Avoid trans fats like those found in margarine, fried foods, and processed foods.
- Cut out sugar – except for the kind found naturally in fruit.
- Switch from butter to extra virgin olive oil to get more healthy fats in your IVF diet.
- Go vegetarian or vegan (aka: get more of your protein from plants).
- Choose whole grains instead of simple carbohydrates like white rice and white bread.
- Eat whole-fat dairy products. The previously mentioned Harvard study found that the more low-fat dairy products a woman ate, the more trouble she had getting pregnant.
- Keep your BMI in the “fertility zone” of 18.5-24.
- Take a multivitamin that contains folic acid and other B vitamins.
- Get plenty of iron from fruits and vegetables (but not from red meat).
- Avoid sugary sodas, alcohol, and excessive caffeine, as they can interfere with your hormone levels.
- Switch from high-intensity workouts to low-intensity activities like walking, swimming, and yoga.
- Get your stress levels in check by journaling, acupuncture treatment, getting a massage, and getting enough sleep every night.
Optimizing your diet for fertility can seem challenging at first, but even small changes can make a big difference over time.
To learn more about how to maximize your chances of a successful pregnancy or to learn about our holistic approach to fertility and IVF treatment, contact us at (713) 467-4488.
Your Friends at Advanced Fertility Center of Texas