Preparing for pregnancy

March 18, 2020 3 min read

There are natural steps you can both take to improve the chances of pregnancy

As the average age of first- time mothers continues to climb in Australia, so too do the number of couples facing difficulty getting pregnant.

According to Bloom Family Health fertility naturopath Vanessa Glenn, at least one couple in six have difficulty conceiving, with roughly an equal number due to male and female fertility issues.

“We see many couples and help them correct their fertility problems by following natural treatments, which can include diet and lifestyle recommendations, increased nutritional requirements and herbal and homeopathic medications as well as helping couples understand their fertile phases and get conception timing right,” she says.

Ms Glenn says a preparation time of three to four months before conception is best because it takes 90 to 100 days for new sperm to be generated and 120 days for a woman’s egg to mature in preparation for ovulation.

“Therefore any improvements to diet, lifestyle and nutrient levels will only begin to be reflected in the health of the egg and sperm after this length of time,” Ms Glenn says.

City Beach Naturopathic Centre fertility naturopath Anna Sangster says because many modern couples are preparing to have their first child later in life, it is especially important to have thorough pathology and physiology tests before starting.

“There is no sense concentrating on getting a couple healthy and letting them try for 12 months only to discover she has blocked fallopian tubes or he has compromised semen parameters,” Ms Sangster explains.

“A good fertility check will prevent a couple having an unnecessarily long journey to parenthood.”

Perth Natural Medical Clinic naturopath and natural fertility specialist Natalie Pickering suggests natural fertility support for men and women over 35 who have been trying to conceive for six months and for couples who have experienced miscarriage.

“Conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, irregular or absent periods, history of pelvic inflammatory disease and sexually transmitted infection may all lower fertility and warrant investigation and support early in conception preparation,” she says.

Ms Sangster says it is essential couples trying to conceive lower their stress levels, ensure their weight is adequate and get enough exercise and sleep. Improving diet and lifestyle factors — particularly those of the woman — are vital.

“Stopping alcohol consumption and smoking is extremely beneficial to fertility in males and females,” she says.

Ms Sangster says many couples are unsure of when to have sex, so the advice of an expert can help with getting the timing right.

“We teach women to identify their fertile window to boost their chances of conception by having intercourse on the right days," she says.

“Having intercourse before ovulation is important because it can take a while for the sperm to swim to the egg and we don’t want the process to take even longer by simply having intercourse on the wrong days.”

CHECKLIST

  • See your GP for a thorough medical check-up.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Give up smoking.
  • Consume a diet rich in fresh (organic if possible) fruit, vegetables and protein. Reduce or eliminate foods high in sugar and trans fats.
  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Get adequate sleep, aim for 7-8 hours a night.
  • Get enough but not too much exercise. 30-40 minutes of moderate exercise, 3-4 times a week.
  • Take supplements (don’t forget folate) to address any nutritional deficiencies as directed by your GP or naturopath.
First published in Mind&Body, The West Australian. Written by Georgina Sweeting


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