Unsuccessful attempts to conceive can be stressful and frustrating. While a lack of success can indicate underlying medical conditions, it can sometimes be attributed to diet, stress, timing of intercourse, and other factors that can be easily changed and improved. We can provide you with recommended lifestyle changes to improve fertility during a consultation at our San Antonio, TX, practice. Contact us today to take the first step toward growing your family.
Factors to Consider When Conceiving
There are a number of factors that affect a couple’s fertility. Some you cannot change, but others can be easily adjusted. In general, taking care to maintain your health vastly improves your chances of successfully conceiving.
When trying to conceive, timing intercourse is important. In general, the chances of becoming pregnant are greatest in the days leading up to ovulation. It is recommended that intercourse occurs three to five times a week when trying to become pregnant, with daily intercourse taking place during the days immediately preceding ovulation. Women should mark the days their menstrual cycles begin each month, knowing that ovulation usually occurs around the 14th day of the cycle. Monitoring your basal temperature (your body temperature when you are at rest) can help. Each month, basal temperature temporarily increases by just under a degree, indicating that ovulation is occurring. Changes in cervical mucus (becoming slippery and clear) can also precede ovulation, signaling a time to engage more frequently in intercourse.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI is a measure of weight relative to height. A healthy BMI can indicate more receptive hormonal levels and increased reproductive health. The amount of one hormone is always kept in balance with numerous others. Being underweight or overweight can consequently reduce or flood many hormones at once – especially estrogen and progesterone, which play important roles in reproductive health. Irregular hormone levels lead to irregular menstrual cycles, which can make conceiving considerably more difficult.
As a result, a healthy diet and regular, moderate exercise can improve your chances of conceiving. Balancing your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a variety of protein sources is important. Patients should meanwhile be aware that although moderate exercise is helpful, too much can have the opposite effect. Specialists at the Fertility Center of San Antonio can recommend the best balance of exercise and foods to boost fertility.
Fertility usually peaks in your 20s. If you wish to have children one day, but your career, education, or other pursuits make your most fertile years a difficult time to grow your family, you should speak with our doctors about treatments such as cryogenic egg freezing.
Many other lifestyle factors can affect your ability to conceive, as well, including:
- Stress: While frustration and anxiety do not prevent pregnancy, they do affect hormone levels. When trying to conceive, it is important to learn how to minimize and manage stress in healthy ways.
- Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption: Even light smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, or more than a drink a day for either parent can disrupt hormone levels. Reducing or eliminating smoking and drinking can increase your chances of success.
- Exposure to occupational or environmental hazards: High temperatures, chemicals, radiation, and heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions can all permanently affect fertility.
- Health history: Many health conditions and their associated medications can temporarily or permanently affect fertility. It is important to discuss your medical history with your doctors so that they can make the most appropriate recommendations for you.