Lifestyle & fertility
Healthy sperm and egg have higher chances of fusion to form an embryo. Certain lifestyle factors affect the health of sperm and egg, consequently influencing your chances of success for fertility. All you need to do is to pay attention to these simple lifestyle changes from the beginning.
Dos and Don’ts…
1. Adopt a healthy diet
You are more likely to have a pregnancy if you follow a proper diet while undergoing treatments for infertility. Foods which are good sources of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals should be your choice.
- Antioxidants improve sperm quality and motility along with the volume of the semen. In females, inadequate antioxidants reduce the ability of the surrounding cells in protecting the egg. Almost all the fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants.
Include blackberries, beetroot, soy, pomegranates which are rich in antioxidants as a part of your food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids improve blood flow to the egg, improving its quality. Improved blood flow to the testicles increases the sperm production and quality. Salmon fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Trans fat damages the sperms. So prevent this danger by avoiding foods like French fries, doughnuts, and pastries, etc.
2. A regular exercise for fertility
Both men and women should do regular exercise to improve their chances of having a baby.
A moderate exercise such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes most of the days in a week is effective for women. However, do not overdo! Performing physical activity for more than 3-4 hours a week can have a negative effect on your fertility.
Erectile functioning can be improved with a moderate to high exercise in males. Males should be cautious if they are biking for more than 5 hours a week. Overheating of testicles can occur if you are excessively biking or doing marathon running.
3. Beware of environmental hazards
High temperature and radiations can affect the quality of the sperm and its motility. Men should not place laptops on their laps. Also, keeping a cell phone in front pockets can be quite dangerous for males. Exposure to certain chemicals like pesticides, lead, cadmium, can adversely affect your sperms. Polycarbonates present in the cans and plastic bottles (especially those with recycling numbered-7) release Bisphenol-A, which reduces your sperm count and motility along with a reduced ovarian response to sperms.
4. Snub that stub!
Smoking can have diverse effects to cause infertility. Both eggs and sperms are affected by nicotine.
Active smoking by females can reduce their chances of pregnancy by 50% and an increased chance of miscarriages. However, passive smoking is equally dangerous if you are to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). To your surprise, smoking can be equally harmful even if you are an egg recipient, trying to get pregnant.
In males, smoking enhances sperm DNA fragmentation, leading to miscarriages. This is one reason, why a decrease in IVF success is seen even when the sperm is directly inserted into the egg.
5. Drinking is prohibited
Pregnancy rate is decreased, and miscarriages are more likely with alcohol consumption. Neither you nor your partner should drink alcohol, especially during IVF treatment. During your first attempt to conceive, even if you drink 5-6 glasses of wine a week, you are putting your pregnancy at stake!
6. No caffeine for ladies
Coffee, chocolates (about 20 mg per serving) and sodas (about 80 mg per serving) are the sources of caffeine.
Males may not be at risk by consuming up to 3 cups of coffee a day (each cup contains around 150 mg) as the sperms are not very sensitive to caffeine. Beyond this, caffeine can lead to sperm DNA fragmentation.
Females should be more cautious about their caffeine content. It is preferably better to avoid more than a cup of decaf coffee (not more than 5mg per day). Significant intake can make IVF unsuccessful. If you are already pregnant, you are more prone to miscarriages with caffeine.
7. Keep away from stress, just relax!
The time to achieve pregnancy is shortened, and the rates of pregnancy are increased by cutting down on your stress. Reduced blood flow during stress can be an underlying reason. So, you can start relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation for about 10-20 minutes a day, which can be beneficial for relieving your stress.
8. Choose the right days
If you are not sure of which days would be more effective and are not able to participate regularly in sex, then choosing the right days would be helpful. Most of the women with a 24-30 day cycle ovulate on the 14th day of their cycle, which can vary from 10th to 16th day. So, your chances for pregnancy are high, if you participate in sex during these 5-6 days before ovulation.
9. Watch on your weight
Women, who are overweight or underweight, need to lose or gain a few pounds respectively, in a healthy way to improve their chances of pregnancy. If you are overweight, your androgen levels get increased which prevents the regular release of the egg, or affect its quality. On the other hand, if you are thin, your brain understands it as low-fat levels for reproduction, halting ovulation.
Right weight is equally important for men to maintain their sperm quality.
Additional points to remember…
1. Assume a proper position
You should assume a position which keeps the sperm in your vagina for a longer time.. Missionary style of having sex (man on top) may help the sperm to access the ovum more readily. Keeping a pillow under your hips or raising your knees is a useful technique.
2. Artificial lubricants are not a boon for few
Most of the non-contraceptive artificial lubricants have toxic effects on sperm. Instead, you can use canola oil for a little help which is safe for sperms.
Being attentive to the above-outlined factors along with persistence can increase your success rates for having a pregnancy. Also, your sexual relationship can be much better than any time earlier in the past.