You can’t rewind your biological clock, but you can slow it down. Our experts reveal how
If you’re having trouble falling pregnant you’re not alone. Current NHS statistics suggest that as many as one in seven couple experience some difficulty conceiving. Many factors affect fertility, from reproductive conditions such as polycystic ovaries and endometriosis to quality of sperm and age. While a man’s productive lifespan can last for years, a woman’s fertility starts to decline at 27 and then drops sharply after the age of 35. But, don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. A recent study revealed simple lifestyle changes can jump – start fertility by a whopping 80 percent. Want to give it a go? Get your body into baby-making mode with these great conception -boosting tips.
1. ‘Diet plays a key role in preparing for a healthy pregnancy’
- The lowdown: A healthy lifestyle and diet is important if you’re trying to conceive. Nutritional deficiencies during the reproductive process are linked to problems such as an increased risk of birth defects.
- Fertility help: Stress is thought to contribute to fertility problems, but it’s hard to measure. A diet that’s high in alcohol, caffeine and unhealthy fats and sugars, and deficient in nutrients and essential fats, is bad news. Both omega-3 and omega-6 are important in pre-conception stages and DHA, found in oily fish, may play a role in the development of the foetal brain and eyes. Helping the body detoxify is also important and you and your partner should think about taking a zinc supplement, as it’s needed for healthy sperm and proper DNA replication.
2. ‘Your doctor can arrange tests to assess your fertility’
- The lowdown: In couples where the woman is 35 years or younger, 90 per cent will fall pregnant within a year of regular unprotected sex. Smoking and obesity can have a negative impact on fertility, so steps should be taken if needed.
- Fertility help: A GP will look into the causes of infertility after around a year of trying. They’re likely to organise blood tests to heck you’re ovulating. Tests will check levels of the hormone progesterone, which is expected to rise a week before menstruation. An ultrasound of the pelvis may also be useful to rule out fibroids and polycystic ovaries. Your GP may refer you to a fertility clinic to review the results and take further tests. Men will also need to have their semen analysed to check the amount and motility of sperm.
3. ‘Acupuncture can help regulate menstrual cycles.’
- The lowdown: Traditional acupuncture is particularly effective at aiding conception by helping to regulate menstruation and treating reproductive conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, as well as improving sperm parameters.
- Fertility help: The simplest explanation is that acupuncture stimulates communication in the body. The points we choose are unique to every individual, and we use the points to help supplement any deficiencies, to clear areas where there is stagnation, to strengthen areas where there is weakness and to correct areas in which things are not in balance. The course of acupuncture is unique to every person and really depends on their circumstances. It’s usual to have treatment through several menstrual cycles. Your practitioner can recommend the best course for you.