Tips to boost your fertility

Here are 12 tips to help boost your fertility and help you get pregnant.

1. Eat nutritious food Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients. Include leafy greens, heart healthy beans, grains, seeds and whole milk products. Reduce your consumption of sugar, highly processed foods and trans fats.

2. Stop smoking The more you smoke, the more you risk negatively impacting your ability to get pregnant. Smoking affects your oestrogen levels and ovulation. Smokers are more likely to experience early menopause and smoking can impair the quality of a woman’s eggs.

3. Avoid illegal drug use Illegal drugs are considered to be unsafe in pregnancy and most will pass through the placenta to your baby in the womb. Some may affect the healthy development of your baby. If drugs are an issue for you, get help. Being informed about the risks to a pregnancy will help you to make better choices.

4. No alcohol A 2009 study done at Harvard University of couples undergoing IVF showed that women who drank more than six units per week were 18% less likely to conceive, while men were 14% less likely.

5. Have sex Regular intercourse 2-3 times per week ensures that you don’t miss the fertile window. Some couples confine their sexual activity specifically to the time when the woman is ovulating. Try instead, to ensure that you have sex regularly through the month. Keeping sex spontaneous, relaxing and fun is the ideal.

6. Exercise regularly Regular moderate exercise is good for your body, your weight and your stress levels. That means that exercise may help you to get pregnant. Avoid hard-core exercise that may, if over done, impact your menstrual cycle.

7. Take Folic Acid Women should take a daily dose of 500ug folic acid three months before you plan to conceive, right up to and including the first trimester of your pregnancy. Folic acid is crucial because it helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

8. Get blood tests Ask your GP to check for rubella and chicken pox status, blood group Rh factor, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

9. Prescription medications If you are on any medications, review their implications for pregnancy and indeed fertility with your GP.

10. Understand your pregnancy window Make sure that you understand your menstrual cycle – the most fertile time is between days 8-14 of a regular monthly cycle. However, many women have irregular periods and it is important to track and monitor those cycles so that you can work with your fertility doctor to know when ovulation is likely. Try our online ovulation calculator >

11. Manage your BMI You can work out your appropriate weight, for your height using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Evidence suggests that fertility improves dramatically if people with a high BMI can achieve a 5% reduction in weight. In fact, the ideal weight is a BMI below 30.

12. Check your Ovarian Reserve A blood test to measure a woman’s level of Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) – a hormone secreted by cells in developing egg sacs – is a good indicator of her ovarian reserve.