Tonic Health Boutique’s 10 tips to improve your chances of conception the natural way

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10 tips on improving your chances of conception before you try IVF

A quarter of couples have problems conceiving, 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and on average it takes three years for women to get pregnant.

These stark statistics sound rather depressing but there are simple steps you and your partner can take to increase your chances of having a baby.

Our increasingly hectic lifestyles, poor diet, lack of exercise, long hours and stressful jobs are taking their toll on our ability to conceive. Alcohol and caffeine consumption and our exposure to toxins in our modern environment are also hampering our ability to fall pregnant.

But help is at hand. Anneliese Setchell, fertility specialist and nutritionist says even changing your lifestyle a little can really improve fertility rates. After all, healthy parents are more likely to bring a healthy baby into the world. Even just doing something relaxing each day can boost your fertility.”

Anneliese’s top ten recommendations:

1.    Stop taking the contraceptive pill about three to six months before you start trying to conceive. Also, have more sex! Ideally you should have sex every two to three days as if a man abstains for three days or more, a high proportion of the sperm will be dead or abnormal.

2.    Maintain blood sugar level to keep hormones in order. This means ensuring that you eat a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This ideally includes 50g of protein a day from items such as quinoa, lean poultry, organic meat, fish, eggs, lentils, pulses, organic dairy, nuts and seeds, and sprouts. Fats should come from sources such as nuts, avocado and oily fish while your diet should be based on a wide variety of complex carbohydrates. Anneliese also recommends drinking a pint of warm water first thing in the morning.

3.    Avoid toxins in the home or at work. As well as occupational hazards, such as for nail bar workers, chemicals lurk around the home in the form of processed foods, cleaning products and cosmetics. Anneliese recommends avoiding deodorants and tin foil, food packaged in plastic, using greaseproof paper instead of film and using natural cleaning products. She also suggests using mobile phones and microwaves less as these give out electromagnetic signals. Occupational hazards to avoid if possible, include heat for firemen or bakers, low sperm count for drivers and high pesticide exposure for farmers, as well as solvents for hairdressers and decorators.

4.    Ensure you’re as relaxed and stress-free as possible as this has a huge impact on fertility, hormones and libido. Aim to have eight hours’ sleep a night.

5.    Give up smoking! According to research, smoking is responsible for impotence in 120,000 men across the UK. The good news is that once you’ve given up smoking, within a year, your chances of conception are the same as that of a non-smoker.

6.    Likewise, women should drink no more than five units of alcohol a week (seven for men) but ideally it should be cut out altogether, particularly around ovulation.

7.    Schedule exercise of at least 30 minutes a day. As well as improving blood flow, hormonal output and nutrition, it also helps the health of your ovaries.

8.    Anneliese recommends getting to your ideal weight and cleansing the body of toxins if appropriate.

9.    It’s worth taking supplements even before pregnancy such as folic acid, probiotics and antioxidants to support health of ovaries and sperm. She also recommends multivitamins to include B2, B6 and B12.

10.     Are there any underlying infections that could hamper your ability to conceive?

She adds: “No one has all the answers, but the logic of creating a healthy body that can sustain a healthy pregnancy goes a long way. If you both eat well and nourish your eggs and sperm, you dramatically improve your chances of conceiving. Good luck!”

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Margaret McDonnell