Body + Soul: What you and your partner need to do if you want to have a baby in 2020
According to a fertility expert.
New Year, new you… and the possibility of a new baby? 2020 might mark an important milestone for couples wanting to take the plunge into parenthood. But where to start?
Fertility expert Dr Marc Cohen says that preparation is key for couples wanting to get themselves ready for trying for a baby. This involves a combination of making healthy dietary and lifestyle changes, so that our bodies are in the best shape possible to create and nurture new life.
According to Dr Marc Cohen, the first place to start is to get in tip top shape physically and mentally. “Our body is a temple, and even though we may not have treated it as such over the years, we need to create an oasis for the best possible chance of conceiving.”
With this in mind, here is a breakdown of what Dr Marc Cohen recommends for both ladies and gentlemen to kickstart their ‘fertility resolutions’ this year.
Besides tracking your cycle to determine ovulation and best chances for conception, here are things you can start doing now to help with your odds.
Reduce stress and quit smoking
While easier said than done, it’s important to get your stress levels in check. Studies have found that women with higher levels of stress – as indicated by higher levels of salivary alpha-amylase – may have a lower chance of conceiving naturally.
Another consideration for women is smoking. As a number of studies show, it can disrupt hormone levels, leading to early onset menopause. This is an important consideration for women who are trying to have a baby later in life.
Eat fertility rich foods
In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and staying active, there are certain foods that women can start incorporating to boost fertility. This includes foods that are rich in folic acid (leafy greens, citrus and beans), vitamin B12 (milk, eggs and chicken), and omega 3 fatty acids (salmon and walnuts). These foods are recommended for women who are both looking to conceive and who are pregnant, as these nutrients are linked to better embryo quality and have been shown to improve chances of conception.
When it comes to male fertility, taking care of your general health is important, but so is looking after your male parts.
Taking care of your reproductive organs
While this may go without saying, avoiding injury to your testicles is important as testicular damage from work-related or sporting injuries can cause of infertility in men trying to conceive. Therefore it is advisable to wear protective gear such as a box or a cup during contact sports and avoid activities such as mountain biking that may cause physical trauma.
Another consideration when it comes to taking care of your testicles is avoiding heat as heat can suppress testicular function and decrease fertility. Try for underwear that has good ventilation and avoid frequent saunas, hot baths and placing hot objects such as laptops on the groin area.
Ramp up antioxidants
While antioxidants are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, Ubiquinol – the active form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – is a potent antioxidant found naturally in our bodies that begins to decline from the age of 20. It is found in foods such as chicken, spinach, peanuts and sardines. Research has found that Ubiquinol is present at high levels in healthy sperm, protects sperm cells from damage and plays an important role in sperm cell energy production and mobility.
Many health and lifestyle changes apply to both men and women when it comes to things like eating well, exercising frequently, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, there are some things that are often overlooked that could be helping to increase your chances for conception.
Besides cutting out toxic habits like smoking, it’s important to consider how daily toxins may have an impact on fertility. Metals and chemicals in air, water and food can severely reduce chances for conception.
To cut down on these potentially harmful toxins, it is worthwhile to get a water filter to reduce exposure to heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, disinfection by-products and radioactive elements. An air purifier is also worth considering if you live in the city or near heavy traffic.
Opting for certified organic produce and animal products can limit exposure to herbicides and pesticides, while limiting your tuna or large fish intake, can reduce exposure to heavy metals such as mercury.
It is also important to cut down on your use of plastics and personal care products containing ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ as these contain endocrine disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates that can play havoc with your reproductive system.
Remember, it’s a team work
Each couple goes through a different journey to conception. While it’s easier to fall pregnant for some, it can be a more difficult process for others. With statistics showing that 1 in 6 Australians will have problems conceiving, it’s important to remain positive and open-minded. Keeping your emotional health in check, making an effort to spend quality time with your partner, as well as have strong social support is a winning formula for anyone trying to conceive and for those who successfully fall pregnant.
Individual requirements may differ. Always speak to your healthcare professional about what is right for you.
As appeared on Body + Soul.