Trouble Getting Pregnant? 12 Ways You Can Optimize Your (And Your Partner’s) Fertility
If you have been having trouble getting pregnant, you may be wondering if you are infertile. It’s a common concern when couples have been trying for over a year with no results. The good news is that there is no reason to worry just yet. It’s likely that you are not completely infertile at all.
“Infertility” refers to when couples can’t get pregnant after one year of frequent unprotected sex. Personally, we feel that this is a slightly misleading term because most fertility issues are not permanent. We prefer to describe couples as “subfertile,” until proven otherwise. By definition, subfertile couples are not 100% infertile, but they can indeed conceive — they’re just not able to do so as quickly as the average couple.
Fortunately, in many cases, this delay isn’t due to anything serious, such as a major health problem. Instead, it’s often just caused by the effects that a bad habit or two has had on the couple’s overall health. This means that most couples experiencing problems can easily take control of any fertility issues they’re having right at home. So if you’re experiencing long-term trouble getting pregnant, we recommend considering whether these common sources of such a delay apply to you.
12 Ways You Can Optimize Your Fertility When You’re Having Trouble Getting Pregnant
Weighing too much – or too little – can affect fertility in both men and women. If your BMI is too low (i.e. below 20) or too high (i.e. above 25), it can affect estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men. Studies have shown that this can lead to a lower sperm count in men and an irregular menstrual cycle in women. This doesn’t mean that you need to panic if your weight isn’t in the optimal zone, especially since the BMI system isn’t perfect. However, it is worth reviewing this possibility with your doctor.
Diet and weight tend to go hand-in-hand. If you have a habit of overeating or binge eating, you’re more likely to gain weight, which can cause the problems we mentioned above. Fertility experts also believe that the extreme spikes in blood sugar caused by overeating could have an effect on your overall fertility. So instead of reaching for junk food or highly processed foods, we recommend investing in a diet that will support not just your overall health, but also help nurture a growing fetus.
(Too Much) Exercise
It’s no secret that regular exercise is healthy, but too much can be a problem, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. Excessive or strenuous exercise can impact both men and women by putting unneeded strain on the body. Stress can shut down the reproductive hormones in both men and women, which can then disrupt a woman’s ovulation cycle and lower a man’s sperm count. To ensure your workouts aren’t making it harder to get pregnant, try following the Royal College of Obsetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guidelines for recreational exercise during pregnancy.
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Early Signs Of Infertility
Infertility might feel like it snuck up on you but typically, there are warning signs of this potential issue. If you know what to look for, it is possible to catch them early and manage the symptoms before they become serious problems. Not everyone shows obvious signs of infertility, but being aware of the symptoms could help put you on the road to conception.
Any irregularity in your menstrual cycle could be a red flag for infertility. Missing your period - a phenomenon known as amenorrhea- is one of the most prominent signs. Women who miss three or more consecutive periods, as well as those who haven’t started menstruating by the age of 15, are said to have amenorrhea. Another sign is periods that last too long (more than 35 days) or not long enough (fewer than 21 days).
Other early signs of infertility relating to your menstrual cycle include:
Bring these symptoms up with your doctor immediately so they can be addressed as soon as possible. With a change in diet and exercise, it is possible for the irregularity to cease. However, if the issues continue, you may want to ask your doctor about ovarian cysts.
A hormonal imbalance will show its own symptoms that on their own may not necessarily mean infertility, but when compounded could result in impaired fertility. Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance in women include:
Irregular menstrual cycle
Drastic weight gain or loss
Skin issues/Adult acne
Hair loss/Unusual hair growth
Separately, these symptoms may not hold much meaning, but when considered together, they could add up to fertility problems. Talk to your doctor if a combination of these symptoms begin to develop.
Have you had a pelvic infection? Scar tissue left behind by a pelvic infection could cause a blockage in your fallopian tubes, resulting in problems conceiving. The scar tissue can be removed via laparoscopic surgery.
While not necessarily a symptom, women over the age of 35 experience a serious drop in their chance of conceiving during any one cycle. The average woman aged 30 has approximately 20% chance of conceiving during her cycle. By comparison, women aged 40 have around a 5% chance of conceiving during a cycle.
Issues with sexual function
Men with fertility issues often experience a decrease in sexual function. This could include everything from a decline in sexual desire, a decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated, or difficulty retaining an erection.
Pain in testicle region
Any pain, lumps, or swelling of the area around the testicles could be considered a symptom of infertility. Consult with your doctor for a second opinion.
It’s easy for a couple to feel overwhelmed when trying to conceive, especially if it takes longer than expected to successfully start a family. And there are so many questions that couples tend to ask as they wait and wait for that positive pregnancy test: Can we actually conceive on our own?Where would we even start to look for help? How much will that help cost?
Fortunately for couples contemplating getting help, assistance does not need to be financially challenging. One affordable method, called cervical cap insemination, has been around since the 1970s. And there’s a reason this method became a popular one among couples: because it helped. One study, completed in 1985, even deemed that cervical cap insemination done at home was just as effective as intracervical insemination (ICI).
Today, Rinovum has taken the cervical cap method and developed it for home use with The Stork kit for conception – a cervical cap insemination tool that makes the process of getting the cap to the cervix smoother, by adding an applicator. But how does the success of our device compare to the success of natural intercourse at getting more sperm to the cervix?
We performed a study to find out if our cervical cap actually helped to create a higher sperm concentration in a woman’s cervical mucus after intercourse. We did this using a very simple method.
First, we recruited a collection of couples willing to participate in the study and asked them to engage in two types of intercourse over a period of time: natural intercourse and intercourse that used the Stork. Then, once they completed each act, they came into our labs for testing.
The post-coital test we performed on the women in each couple was designed to examine their cervical mucus after sex to determine the sperm score. The sperm score is evaluated by identifying how many sperm are present, and what their various motility levels are. Typically, the higher the concentration of sperm in the cervical mucus, the more likely a woman is to conceive, but knowing how active those sperm are helps as well.
The results? The study found that 85% of the subjects had a higher sperm concentration after using The Stork, it delivered an average of 3.23 times the sperm score value compared to natural intercourse!
For couples who are not ready for costly, in-clinic treatment options, the Stork product might be just the boost they need to help them start their family. With the chance of increasing their sperm score value over 3 times the amount of natural intercourse, the Stork cervical cap gives couples a chance to easily - and naturally- optimise their chances of getting pregnant, all within the comfort of home.
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Nutritional Recommendations for Couples Trying To Conceive
When we think about nutrition and its impact on fertility, we tend to think about the many recommendations that are given to women who want to conceive. Here at the Stork we have a few of our own for ladies but don’t think that you’re off the hook, gentlemen! Both men and women can suffer from diet related fertility issues, and both can optimize their chances of conceiving simply by eating more of the right foods, and fewer unhealthy ones. We’ve already taken a look at how the right diet can help optimize chances of conceiving. Now it’s time for any hopeful parents-to-be to consider if they’re meeting these nutritional recommendations:
TIPS FOR THE COUPLE
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce isn’t just good for your overall health – it’s also full of nutrients and antioxidants. For men that helps to keep sperm healthy with many antioxidants helping to protect sperm from potential cellular damage and chromosomal defects, whilst also promoting good motility; this helps increase the chances of the sperm successfully reaching a woman’s fallopian tubes, and also means the sperm will likely contribute to a healthier pregnancy overall. For women, some find that failing to eat enough produce impact their ability to ovulate or in some cases increased chances of damage to the ova before ovulation. The best way to take advantage of the benefits of fruit and vegetables is to eat a wide variety aiming to eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables a day, if not more.
Add a multivitamin tablet/supplements to your day. Multivitamins can help ensure that couples who are trying to conceive are getting all of the nutrients they need. Keep in mind, however, that a multivitamin alone will never replace the benefits of eating a balanced, healthy diet. It can, however, give you what might be an extra dose of any vitamins or minerals that you need during the day, and can work alongside your dieting efforts to meet your nutritional needs – and address diet-related fertility issues. For women, it also helps you build up reserves that you will need to support a growing child such as iron and calcium which are easily depleted during pregnancy.
TIPS FOR MEN
Actively include foods with folic acid in your diet. While folic acid is a B-vitamin and could fall under the “eat fruits and vegetables” category, it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning separately. Folic acid is best known for helping to reduce the risk of certain birth defects when it’s taken by women. Now research also suggests that it’s important for the production of healthy sperm. In fact, one study found that folic acid can actually lower the risk of sperm abnormalities by 20 to 30 percent. To be safe and to take full advantage of folic acid’s benefits, we recommend that men eat or drink 400 micrograms of it each day. Fortified breakfast cereals, leafy greens, legumes, and orange juice should be enough to help you do this – and if [...]