Learn how to optimise your health for conception and pregnancy
One in seven couples in the UK and one in six couples in Ireland are affected by infertility, either due to male or female factors.
Diet and lifestyle play a big role in fertility so there is lots you can do to improve your chances of a healthy conception. Small changes can often make a huge difference to your fertility. Learn how health coaching for fertility works and how to optimise your health for conception and pregnancy.
Dietary and lifestyle factors that affect fertility
- Chronic stress negatively impacts reproductive hormones, causing issues with ovulation, a woman’s menstrual cycle and sperm quality. When you get stressed, your body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline to enable your body to deal with stress accordingly. These hormones inhibit the release of sex hormones (luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone in women and testosterone in men) which reduces sperm and ovarian activity.
- A diet that is high in sugar, refined carbohydrates (bread, pastries, pizza, cakes, pasta), fizzy drinks, juices/cordials, junk food, pasteurised dairy and trans fats. Poor dietary habits promote inflammation and rob your body of essential nutrients. Sugar (in all its forms including refined carbohydrates and sweetened drinks) spikes your insulin levels, affecting the production of essential reproductive hormones. A high-sugar diet can also interfere with egg maturation, reducing the chance of fertilisation.
- Nutritional deficiencies especially folic acid, B12, zinc, vitamin D and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both of these substances impact ovulation and sperm production. Caffeine also increases cortisol (the stress hormone) which can decrease testosterone in men and cause an imbalance in oestrogen and progesterone in women.
- Smoking floods the body with toxic chemicals which damages the DNA of eggs and sperm. It also interferes with hormone production and fertilisation. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, a premature delivery and a host of childhood issues including cleft lip/ palate, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disease).
- Drugs and medication can affect fertility in a number of ways including lowering hormone levels, suppressing ovulation and damaging eggs and sperm.
- Lack of sleep and insomnia changes the body’s circadian rhythm which in turn impacts hormone production.
- Being overweight or obese increases your risk of menstrual dysfunction, impaired ovulation, miscarriage and pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (high blood pressure).
- Lack of exercise and physical movement not only affects your overall health, it can also hinder your fertility.
How can a Health Coach help with fertility?
Health Coaches are trained to help their clients overcome dietary, lifestyle and personal challenges by using a range of coaching tools and techniques.
A Health Coach can help you:
- Optimise your diet for preconception and pregnancy by explaining what key nutrients are required for fertility and which foods to eat to improve your chances of conceiving.
- Break negative lifestyle habits such as smoking, drugs, alcohol and caffeine.
- Overcome life challenges and problem-solve difficult situations. Health Coaches help their clients to navigate challenging situations though goal setting and devising achievable action plans.
- Implement a fitness regime that works for you. Moderate exercise can help boost fertility and improve your emotional wellbeing. Finding an exercise routine that is achievable and fits around your lifestyle is key.
- Improve your relationship with your partner so you can effectively communicate with them about your fertility journey and any worries you may be experiencing.
- Reduce your stress levels through relaxation techniques and self-care strategies.
- Adopt a bedtime routine to enhance your sleep. Ensuring you relax before bedtime and limit screen time is essential for a good night’s sleep.
- Lose weight by devising a healthy meal and exercise plan that you can stick to. Health Coaches can provide you with recipes, shopping lists, workout routines and ongoing support so you can achieve your target weight.
- Minimise your exposure to chemicals and toxins by explaining where to find toxins in household items, personal care products and the environment. A Health Coach can advise you on how to detox in a safe way that supports your body.
Boost your fertility
Optimise your fertility health and boost your chances of conception by making the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. Reduce your stress levels, improve your sleep and avoid toxic habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. Make time for self-care, exercise regularly and eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet which is rich in key nutrients.
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