As a woman, you must take steps to protect your fertility for as long as possible, regardless of whether you want to have children or not. Being fertile is essential for your health. The simple tips given here will help you stay fertile for the longer term, keep you fit and strong for years and, hopefully, have as many children as you would like to!
While female fertility does decrease the older a woman gets, a combination of the right lifestyle and environment can make a huge difference to your chances of getting pregnant.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to several studies, including one published in the journal Human Reproduction, the more weight a woman gains between pregnancies, the longer it takes for her to conceive. It is not healthy to carry extra pounds; it increases your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Body weight and fertility are related. When you lose weight, it makes a lot of difference to your health and improves your ability to conceive. Your BMI affects your chances of getting pregnant. You should try to maintain a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 – your chances of conceiving are great as long as you stay within this range.
When you are either overweight or underweight, it affects your hormonal balance. In particular, it affects the estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen is the key hormone for ovulation and when your estrogen levels are affected, that lowers your chances of getting pregnant.
Also, obesity leads to complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and prolonged labour. When you carry an unhealthy weight, it makes carrying a baby dangerous, even after you conceive. Similarly, being underweight is dangerous as well as your body may not be able to handle pregnancy in a healthy way or provide the baby the nutrition that it requires for healthy growth.
It is a proven fact that regular exercise can improve your fertility. Exercise can also protect your children from obesity in later life. You should exercise regularly, long before you get pregnant. This ensures that you are already in the habit of exercising even after you conceive. Regular cardio activity during the time you are pregnant helps to reduce leg cramps, water retention, prevents weight and relieves morning sickness. It keeps your energy levels high and helps maintain a high stamina. Something as simple as a brisk 30-minute walk in the morning makes for an excellent exercise.
Take Multivitamin Supplements
You must take a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals. Since you won’t be able to get enough of this from a normal diet, taking multivitamin supplements is an absolute necessity. You need to take all the important vitamins and minerals, especially iron, which is known to boost fertility. Taking iron supplements was found to reduce infertility by 40% in a study that was carried out with 18,000 female participants. So ensure that your multivitamin supplements include a plenty of iron content.
Other vitamins you must take are folic acid and B vitamin. Taking vitamin B ensures that your baby is not affected by neural tube defects, and taking folic acid ensures that all the systems are properly in the fetus. You must take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day for 4 months before getting pregnant.
Taking a good pre-conception multivitamin is the easiest way of ensuring that your are getting enough essential nutrients. We always recommend Sevens Seas Trying for a Baby tablets or Pregnacare Conception for women. Not wanting to leave partners out, we always suggest Wellman Conception tablets for men.
If you smoke – don’t! Women who want to get pregnant should stay away from smoking. Smoking 6 to 10 cigarettes a day has been found to decrease their chances of getting pregnant by 15 percent. Cigarette consists of over 4000 chemicals that are known to lower estrogen levels.
That’s not all – smoking affects both the quality and quantity of a woman’s egg supply. Smoking during pregnancy is believed to have been responsible for 20% to 30% of underweight babies and 10% of infant deaths.
It’s not enough for women not to smoke. You should take steps to minimise your exposure to secondhand smoke as well. Secondhand smoke can lead to low birth weight and abnormal lung function in a developing fetus. Infants should not be exposed to cigarette smoke as that may cause ear infections, upper-respiratory infections and allergies.
Start Today to Improve your Fertility
Following these simple steps will almost certainly improve your fertility. Start today and notice the benefits sooner rather than later!
Photo Credit: Vladimir Pustovit – Flickr CC
This post first appeared in November 2015 and has been updated since.