As more information is discovered about infertility, the more we realize how lifestyle factors can affect the likelihood of conceiving with or without fertility treatment. Many of these lifestyle factors will also influence your chance of having the healthiest pregnancy. This is part of the process that you do have control of. We encourage you to take these factors into consideration and adjust your lifestyle if needed to optimize your fertility treatment success rate. Idaho Fertility Center wants you to have the best chance of conceiving, whether you are trying to do so spontaneously or with help.
Weight and BMI
We assess body weight in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI). A normal BMI falls in the range of 19 – 25. A BMI that is either significantly below or above the normal range can lead to ovulatory dysfunction, which significantly affects fertility; however, it seems that ovulation problems are not the only factor making it more difficult for women with a high BMI to conceive. Even if ovulation is taking place, a high BMI is associated with decreased pregnancy rates and an increased miscarriage rate. This affect is most evident in women with a BMI over 35. Sometimes, improvement in ovulation and fertility can be achieved with a drop of just 5% of your bodyweight. Although we consider all factors, we do encourage you to optimize your bodyweight, prior to even starting fertility treatment.
Newer studies have shown that moderate amounts of exercise for both men and women are beneficial for fertility. This hardly comes as a huge surprise, since exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, increases blood flow, and reduces stress, to name just a few of the benefits. The optimal amount of exercise appears to be moderate cardiovascular exercise for 20 – 40 minutes, several days a week. If the exercise is too strenuous, which is considered to be more than 5 hours a week or over an hour a day, this can actually have a negative impact on your fertility.
Nutritional health to optimize fertility can be summed up as the ‘Mediterranean diet.’ Try to take in a balance of various vegetables and proteins, including fish, which are an amazing source of omega 3 fatty acids. A large amount (more than one serving a week) of the deep-water fish types, like tuna and swordfish, should be avoided, however, because of their mercury content. Try to consume whole grains and complex carbohydrates in place of processed and refined ‘white’ foods, like white bread and white rice. Decrease the amount of simple sugars in your diet, although fruit in moderation is healthy. Darker-colored fruits, like blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranates, are especially high in antioxidants, which have been shown to be good for egg and sperm quality.
For more information on how your lifestyle choices can affect ovulation and fertility, please give Idaho Fertility Center a call at (208) 529-2019 and request an appointment with one of our Reproductive Endocrinologists in Idaho Falls, Idaho.