Knowing how to optimize your natural fertility can help you put your best fertility foot forward in your quest to get pregnant.
We get asked every day from patients, “What can I be doing to increase my chances of getting pregnant?” The answer is actually, “Quite a bit!” The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) just updated their guidelines for optimizing natural fertility to help steer patients in a healthy and positive direction towards pregnancy. Based on a consensus of expert opinion in the field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, these guidelines can help patients optimize the likelihood of achieving a natural, non-medically-assisted pregnancy when there is no history of infertility or reason to question their potential fertility.
Here are a few of the highlights from ASRM’s guidelines for optimizing your natural fertility:
- FERTILITY AND AGE – While age can affect the fertility of both men and women, it is most pronounced in women where fertility begins to decline with advancing maternal age. Bottom line is don’t wait to learn more about your fertility potential. A simple blood test using AMH testing can give you a relative idea of how many eggs you have left in reserve. And if you’re not ready to have a family yet, consider elective egg freezing to protect your fertility.
- FERTILITY WINDOW – You are most fertile in the 1-2 days leading up to ovulation. So if you are tracking with ovulation predictor kits, this is the day that the stick turns positive. If you aren’t tracking, this is roughly 14-15 days before your period normally occurs. For example, if your cycles are every 28 days, expect peak fertility around cycle day 12-14, with day 1 being the first day your period starts. Check out the Fertility Answers Podcast Episode 2: How to Have Sex to Get Pregnant – Let’s Get Busy for more info on timing intercourse.
- DIET – There is no one perfect fertility diet, but there are some key points. Healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil are important. Lean protein, especially vegetable and seafood protein is probably better than red meat most days of the week. Minimize simple carbs, processed foods, and sugars where possible. We have a podcast on this topic, too! Check out Episode 8: Diet & Fertility.
- EXERCISE – Some moderate intensity activity most days of the week for 20-30 minutes is a good goal. This doesn’t have to be at the gym, find something you love to do! Yoga, running, biking, hiking, tennis, rock climbing, anything that gets your heart rate up and energized! Listen to Episode 16: Exercise and Eggs.
- ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURES – More information is coming out regarding environmental exposures to certain chemicals and plastics. Try to minimize these exposures by switching to glass, stainless steel, and ceramic when possible. Limit use of plastic containers, bottles, and Teflon nonstick cookware. Looking for more information about how environmental toxins can alter your fertility? Listen to our podcast Episode 7: The Environment and Fertility.
- WHAT DOESN’T MATTER – Sexual position, orgasm, lying down after intercourse. Don’t fret about any of these.
- WHAT DOES MATTER – Smoking, too much caffeine (> 200mg aka over 2 cups of coffee), alcohol (> 3-4 drinks per week, especially all at the same time), and vaping should be avoided, too.
Again, all of this information can be found in more detail on ASRM’s website and on our monthly podcast series, The Fertility Answers Podcast!