Whether you're just starting to think about growing your family or have been trying to get pregnant with no success yet, it's smart to learn how to increase fertility in both partners. These tips are a great starting point for both women and men to prepare their bodies and optimize their fertility rates.
Best Practices for Improving Fertility in Men and Women
Fertility issues aren't uncommon. In the U.S., approximately 9% of men and 11% of women experience problems achieving pregnancy. But research indicates that there are a number of helpful strategies for increasing fertility in both women and men.
Smoking is associated with a number of health conditions, with infertility being among them.
For women, smoking is one of the leading causes of infertility. Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. These chemicals can damage the eggs and lead to genetic abnormalities. Additionally, smoking can damage the Fallopian tubes, making it difficult for the egg to travel to the uterus. The production of estrogen and other pregnancy-related hormones can also be stunted due to smoking.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to quit smoking to increase both men's fertility and women's fertility.
Maintain a healthy weight
For men, being overweight or underweight can also affect overall health and reproductive health. Overweight men are more likely to have low to no levels of sperm during ejaculation. On the opposite end of the spectrum, being underweight can also negatively impact both sperm count and semen volume.
Similarly, obesity in women has been shown to increase infertility as well. Ovulation issues are more likely, causing a lower conception rate. Underweight women are also more likely to experience ovulation disruption, including hormonal imbalances. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Get regular exercise
Not only can exercise help you maintain a healthy weight, it also can help increase fertility in a number of other ways. Exercise helps to regulate hormones and improve blood circulation, both of which help fertility in men and women. Regular movement has also been shown to reduce stress, which can actually be a contributing factor to infertility as well.
How exactly does stress impact fertility in women and men? For men, it lowers testosterone, sperm count, and sperm motility. Stress can also cause abnormal sperm production, adding to problems in conceiving. Stress similarly disrupts the menstrual cycle in women along with hormone levels.
In addition to exercising to reduce stress, both partners can also incorporate other relaxation techniques into their daily routines, such as yoga or meditation. Additionally, research indicates that yoga can help both women and men with fertility thanks to a better integration of physiological systems.
Eat a healthy diet
Food choices are another major factor when it comes to learning how to increase fertility. Men can boost sperm count with a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. In addition to green leafy vegetables and beans, fish and walnuts are also good for increasing sperm motility.
A healthy diet for women can also help to increase fertility. Foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as dark leafy greens and berries, can help to protect the eggs from damage. Additionally, foods that contain folic acid, such as legumes and fortified cereals, can help to prevent birth defects. Foods containing fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals are also important to include in a fertility diet.
Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol consumption is another factor that can negatively impact fertility in couples. Alcohol reduces sperm count and motility in men, particularly with long-term, heavy use. Women also experience a decreased chance of pregnancy when consuming alcohol on a regular basis. It's shown to lower a woman's ovarian reserve, leading to fewer quality eggs for reproduction. It's best to avoid alcohol altogether if you are trying to conceive.
Reduce Caffeine intake
Reducing or even eliminating caffeine in your daily diet could also help improve fertility. Caffeine consumption can lead to problems with ovulation in women. And if you tend to opt for caffeinated drinks with high sugar content, like soda, you could also increase inflammation in your body, which reduces fertility.
Male fertility is affected less by caffeine, especially if consumed infrequently within a well-balanced diet. Generally, only those who consume high amounts of caffeine on a daily basis should consider an adjustment to your intake if fertility is a concern.
Avoid exposure to toxins
Exposure to certain toxins, such as lead or mercury, can impact fertility in both men and women. If you or your partner works in an industry with toxin exposure, be sure to use proper safety precautions, such as wearing a mask or respirator. Construction, aerospace, welding, nail salons, and hair salons are common workspaces where there may be higher risk.
For men, certain supplements have been shown to improve fertility such as Co-enzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and zinc, etc.
For women, certain supplements have been proven to help with fertility such as vitamin D, folic Acid, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, etc.
Supplements can help contribute to a foundation for conceiving and supporting pregnancy. Women are typically recommends to take:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fertility supplements for men include:
Get a fertility checkup
There are a wide range of issues that can impact fertility in both men and women. It's important to talk to your doctor if you and your partner have been trying to conceive for a while without success. Your doctor can run tests and make recommendations based on your specific fertility needs so you have the best chance of success moving forward.