If you are in your mid-20s to mid-30s, you are sure to have heard the phrase “don’t leave it too late” when people are talking fertility. And it’s true. The stats are frightening. As women our fertility peaks around 25 years old. In our mid-30s the chance of conceiving is 20%, and at 40 it’s only 5%.
So what do you do if you are not ready to start a family? The answer is simple: stay healthy. Don’t worry, we’re not talking the super obsessive I-eat-kale-for-breakfast-lunch-and-dinner kind of way. More the stay healthy in an everything-in-moderation, I-like-to-look-after-myself kind of way.
To preserve your natural fertility follow these guidelines. It will help make starting a family in your 30s so much easier, here are our 7 Ways to Preserve Your Fertility:
- Maintain a healthy BMI.
Being underweight is as detrimental to fertility as being overweight. We need a little girl fat to make oestrogen in order to ovulate, while being overweight brings with it its own host of reproductive problems. A healthy BMI is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9
- Cut out the crap.
Reduce the oxidative stress on your body. Processed foods, soft drinks and energy drinks, coffee, alcohol, smoking, drugs (recreational and medical) all place a huge amount of oxidative stress on your system accelerating the ageing process, damaging DNA and reproductive capacity.
Whole foods are the way to go. If you buy something in a packet please read the ingredients. It’s amazing what gets put in there. Eating a diet of fresh organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats and environmentally responsible seafood will reduce the oxidative stress on the body, keeping you healthy and vital.
Swap the soft/energy drinks and coffee for water, fresh juice or herbal tea. Caffeine is not your friend when it comes to conception; it’s too stimulating.
Limit your alcohol consumption to five drinks per week. Binge drinking will increase that oxidative stress causing damage to eggs and sperm alike.Ditch the cigarettes and recreational drugs. Research clearly shows a correlation between smoking and increased risk of miscarriage, sub-optimal sperm, poor endometrial receptivity and poor fallopian tube function.
- Get in touch with your menstrual health.
It’s important to get to know your natural cycle when trying to conceive. This means you should stop taking the oral contraceptive pill well in advance of trying to start a family.
While some women stop taking the pill and conceive immediately, many more take months to see their normal menstrual cycle return. Taking the pill long term can cause complications with cervical mucus and mask menstrual disorders. If you have known menstrual complications, or want to know more about your cycle, get in touch with your local natural health care practitioner for guidance.
- Stress. Evaluate your work-life balance.
There are only so many hours in the day, and we have only so much reproductive potential. Each time you burn the candle at both ends you tap into your reproductive energy reserves. If you are feeling burnt out and over committed chances are conceiving will be a challenge. Start scheduling regular time off. See if you can drop an afternoon of work or work from home occasionally. Plan your ideal weekly schedule and brainstorm ways to achieve it. Then book a holiday!
- Sleep. In bed by 10pm.
Yes, 10pm. Melatonin is your body’s natural sleep hormone and a super antioxidant. By sleeping between 10pm and 2am you reap the rewards of naturally higher melatonin levels.
If getting into bed by 10pm seems impossible, try bringing back your normal bed time by 15 minutes over the space over a couple of weeks. You’ll soon notice the difference.
- Exercise. All in moderation
Both over-exercising and under-exercising have negative impacts on fertility potential. Regular moderate exercise is the key to improving moods, maintaining a healthy weight and encouraging healthy blood circulation.
- Environmental toxins. Raise your awareness
We are unwittingly exposed to a high level of environmental toxins through the most seemingly harmless of things. Bisphenol A (BPA) for example, is an endocrine disruptor associated with poor sperm quality, chromosomal abnormalities and recurrent miscarriage. It’s found in everyday plastics. Some cleaning products contain harsh chemicals, non-organic food potentially carries pesticides or fertilizer residue, the air we breathe and the water we drink can carry pollutants. It gets rather overwhelming when you think about it. So what can you do? Buy organic where possible. Avoid plastic. Use glass containers or paper bags and environmentally friendly cleaning products and put a water filter on your tap.
Hopefully this isn’t rocket science. Please share these guidelines with your girlfriends. Stay healthy and vital. Prolong your ability to conceive.
For more info head to our Fertility Preservation Page of the Website