Unable to Conceive – Lifestyle Modifications to Help You

Unable to Conceive – Lifestyle Modifications to Help You

Infertility, the inability of a couple to conceive in a reasonable time is becoming an increasingly common problem with an estimated incidence of almost 3.9% – 16.8 % in India. The modern lifestyle of less physical activity, increasing stress, and consumption of processed foods has led scientists to believe that this increase in infertility is probably because of many social, psychological and emotional factors. That is why in the last few years there has been a lot of research to find out modifiable lifestyle factors which can affect fertility in both men and women.

In this article, we will explain how modifications in diet, exercise, counseling along with specific medical treatment can increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Chaitanya IVF

 

DIET:

Healthy diets which contain whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, oils with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats (MUFA/ PUFA) reduce the time to get pregnant whether trying naturally or with fertility treatments.

When trying to conceive, women should:

  • Take a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, nuts, multigrain.
  • Take Folic acid and vitamin B 12 supplements.
  • Maintain Vitamin D levels in normal range.
  • Intake of dairy foods generally doesn’t affect fertility.
  • Avoid intake of red meat and fish with high levels of environmental contamination.
  • Take isoflavone supplements.
  • Take Caffeine (1-2 cups coffee per day/100 200 mg/Day of caffeine) and alcohol (<2 drinks/day) in Moderation or avoid.
  • Low carbohydrate diet in overweight women with PCOS.

Similarly, the male partner should:

  • Take a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, nuts, multigrain.
  • Reduce saturated fats in the diet.
  • Take antioxidant supplements.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take alcohol in moderation.

In a recent study published in 2018, research midwives in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland asked 5598 women about their diet. Compared to women who ate fruit 3 or more times a day in the month before conception, women who ate fruit less than 1-3 times a month took half a month longer to become pregnant. Similarly, compared to women who never or rarely ate fast food, women who consumed fast food 4 or more times a week took nearly a month longer to become pregnant.

EXERCISE /PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BEFORE IVF TREATMENT:

Physical activity is generally considered to be a health-promoting behaviour as it is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers.

Physical activity during pregnancy has been shown to improve reproductive outcome. Most of the studies in women trying to conceive have reported beneficial effects of moderate physical activity whereas high intensity, vigorous physical activity delays time to natural pregnancy.

The effect of exercise on fertility in women undergoing IVF has been recently studied in a large study of around 4000 couples. The study has found that rates of pregnancy and live births in physically active women were almost twice than those in physically inactive woman undergoing IVF treatment. And there was no effect on miscarriage rate.

Though the exact type and duration of physical activity per week has not been defined, up to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week doesn’t appear to be associated with any adverse effects but has beneficial effects on IVF results.

COUNSELING

Personalized and compassionate counselling customised according to peculiar social factors of a couple has positive impact in increasing chances of conception. This is because of reduction in stress and anxiety, improved sexual behaviour and better sperm quality.

To summarize, infertility is much more than a simple medical disease. So, in addition to the necessary medical procedures, the treating team should also focus on the patients’ psychosocial and emotional needs by understanding childlessness, giving information and ensuring it is processed, and providing appropriate counselling. The couple should practice some form of relaxation therapy like yoga, meditation, take part in counselling sessions.

Each patient needs individualized care and counseling to get best results in treatment.

 

Dr. Rakhi Goyal, IVF Specialist,
Chaitanya Hospital, Chandigarh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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