Learn ways of optimizing natural fertility to increase your chances of a baby.
A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy mother. Optimizing natural fertility through a healthy lifestyle along with important supplements can increase your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
With so many different vitamins, supplements, and advertisements out there, knowing what you can do to be the healthiest you can be is overwhelming. Here are a few important steps you can take right away for optimizing natural fertility:
- Limit caffeine intake: Studies show an increase in miscarriage rates with caffeine consumption over 250 mg per day. This is roughly equivalent to two strong cups of coffee. While you don’t need to cut out caffeine entirely, just know that if you have your morning cup, it’s best to skip the afternoon Starbucks.
- Take a daily multivitamin: Once you are pregnant, your baby will require a whole bunch of building blocks from you to grow. So, it’s important to make sure you have adequate stores of all the important vitamins. The big difference between a prenatal vitamin and a daily multivitamin is that prenatals can have a bit more folate, iron, and calcium. This can make them less pleasant on the stomach, so it’s also suitable to take a woman’s daily multivitamin, provided you supplement a bit more folate.
- Don’t forget to take folic acid: Folic acid, which can be purchased over the counter, is an important vitamin in the early weeks of pregnancy to help form critical structures. But how much folic acid is appropriate? General recommendations are for 800 micrograms of folate per day starting one month prior to pregnancy, so it’s a good idea to start taking this dose from day one! Daily multivitamins usually have around 400 micrograms, and some newer research has shown lower miscarriage rates with up to 2000 micrograms per day. In general, we recommend patients who are trying to conceive and not currently taking a prenatal vitamin to add an extra 1-2 milligrams (1000-2000 micrograms) of folic acid.
- Get plenty of Vitamin D: Many studies have shown links to normal vitamin D levels and good pregnancy outcomes, and Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common. Taking 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D per day can be helpful, not only for reproduction, but also for the many other functions Vitamin D has in the body.
- Stop smoking: Smoking increases miscarriage rates by up to 25%, and decreases pregnancy rates by up to 50%. Smoking also reduces ovarian reserve (the number of eggs you have remaining) and hastens time to menopause. So, as almost every doctor will say, do not smoke.
- Exercise regularly: Being physically active is incredibly important for metabolism, sleep, heart health, and general mood. Plus, if you are slightly overweight, exercise along with a healthy diet can help to shed those pesky pounds and significantly decrease the many risks associated with obesity in pregnancy (not to mention help you get pregnant faster too)! A recommended goal is 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.
These are just a few simple measures for optimizing natural fertility that can quickly be implemented into your everyday routine to make a big difference in your health before and during pregnancy.
For more specific recommendations that are tailored to your health history, talk to your doctor for more information. Importantly, if you have been trying to conceive for 6-12 months or more, it may be time to sit down with a Reproductive Endocrinologist who specializes in fertility care to see what else you can do.