What can I do on my own to improve my fertility?
From making healthy lifestyle choices to supplementing your intake of important nutrients, there are many things you can do outside of the clinic to improve and maintain your chances of becoming pregnant. The following are a few of the most important changes you can make.
- Avoid excessive alcohol use. Excessive alcohol use has been shown to cause birth defects in fetuses. In addition, those patients who drink may show a decrease in fertility rates. Miscarriage rates have been shown to double when 2 or more alcoholic drinks per day are consumed.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been implicated in infertility and premature menopause. Studies comparing smokers to nonsmokers show lower fertilization rates.
- Stop recreational drugs and unnecessary medications. Please stop all medically unnecessary drugs prior to attempting pregnancy. If you are taking other medication prescribed by another physician, please let us know so we can determine if this medication is safe to take during pregnancy. This goes for your partner as well. Recreational drugs such as marijuana are never a good idea, especially when you are trying to conceive.
- Increase physical activity and lose weight if necessary. If you are overweight, it is a good idea to lose weight before trying to conceive. We encourage you to be physically active and to get your body into the best shape you can.
- Increase your intake of natural antioxidants by eating pomegranate, blackberries, blueberries, and lots of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Drinking daily green tea also increases antioxidant intake, however we do not recommend over one cup of caffeinated green tea per day because the caffeine could interfere with fertility treatment.
- Excessive consumption of caffeinated products such as coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate should be avoided. Decrease in fertility rates have been seen in those women who consume excessive amounts of these products (i.e. more than 3 cups of coffee/day).
- Pycnogenol is a potent antioxidant. Recommended intake is 50-120 mg per day. This can be particularly useful for women 40 years of age and older.
- Co Enzyme Q-10 is very important for energy production and mitochondrial nutrition in the cell. In animal studies, it has been shown to reverse the effects of aging on the egg (this has not been proven in humans). The recommended dose is 400 mg twice a day.
- Prenatal vitamins contain all the vitamins and minerals that you need for pregnancy. It is recommended that you have at least 0.4mg of Folic Acid in your diet every day. All prenatal vitamins have this amount or more.
- Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent fetal neural tube defects, and the recommended daily allowance is 400 micrograms. If you are on a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid, you do not need further amounts unless told otherwise by your doctor. Folic acid is also found in many fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA) are healthy essential fats that have been shown in some studies to improve fetal brain development; therefore, prenatal vitamins often contain them. Daily dosing is 500 to 1,000 mg of EPA/DHA.
- L-arginine is a protein we recommend if you are a vegetarian and your protein intake is low. A dose of 1,000 to 2,000 mg will help to bring your intake up to normal levels.