Healthy living and well-being play a crucial role in your fertility journey. Environmental factors, like smoking, drinking to excess, and a poor diet have been linked with low fertility and may undermine your efforts when trying to conceive (TTC).
This is echoed by a meta-analysis published by Fertility and Sterility Reports which found that folks who are “overweight and obese” should be encouraged to participate in exercise to “optimize their chance of conceiving.” Specifically, researchers suggest that those who are TTC engage in resistance training and aerobic exercise to increase insulin resistance.
Improving your health as a couple can reduce your stress and help you navigate the fertility journey with greater awareness and gratitude. This is key, as many couples struggling to conceive have heightened stress, anxiety, and depression.
Physical fitness is a hallmark of healthy, happy couples. Folks who regularly exercise are more likely to conceive, too. That’s because just 30 minutes of exercise decreases the risk of ovary cancer, balances hormones in couples, improves insulin, and reduces stress. This increases your odds of conceiving and may improve the effectiveness of IVF treatment.
However, it’s important to note that vigorous exercise may undermine your ability to get pregnant as a couple. Rather than pursuing a rigorous exercise routine, follow well-established do’s and don’ts of exercise when TTC, including:
Exercise regularly and establish a routine that suits you;
- Avoid overexerting yourself to minimize the risk of injury and help your body adapt to movement;
- Speak to your doctor when undergoing IVF as some exercises may interfere with the treatment;
- Strengthen your core but don’t hyper-focus on toning or weight loss.
These tips will help you form a healthy, mood-boosting exercise habit that increases your odds of conception and helps relieve stress when TTC.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to visit the gym to work up a sweat. Instead, consider setting up a home gym that serves your needs as a couple. Even a small studio space with a mat and some dumbbells will serve you well. You can utilize this time together by undertaking effective garage gym workouts like Yoga for Lifelong Strength, Proper Plyometrics, Total Body Garage Plans, and Full-Body Dumbbell workouts. These workouts will get you in shape, help you manage your weight, and can be completed with your partner.
Trying to conceive can be frustrating for you and your partner. However, excess stress undermines your ability to get pregnant and makes the fertility journey that much more difficult. Rather than fretting about your fertility, try to incorporate stress management techniques into your day-to-day life.
Start by spending more time outdoors. Regular access to green space is proven to naturally destress couples. This can be a catalyst for lifestyle changes that help when TTC. You can further reduce stress as a couple by engaging in activities that boost your self-esteem and confidence. Even small changes, like meditating and journaling, can increase your self-awareness and help you regain a sense of control.
If you’ve been struggling to conceive for some time, it’s worth speaking to a specialist who can lay out your options clearly. Many couples are stressed when TTC due to uncertainty about the process. Fertility experts are trained to address this stress, calm your fears, and help you find an action plan that suits your needs.
Additionally, if chronic stress is having an impact on your life, it’s worth speaking to a therapist. Seeking therapy for stress management is entirely normal and can give you the tools you need to navigate long-term stress. Common therapeutic techniques, like cognitive behavioral treatment, are easy to employ and may help you manage symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety.
Your diet plays a crucial role in your overall well-being and is an important part of healthy living. However, many couples are too busy to cook three healthy meals a day and many turn to fast food and processed goods. This is a major misstep, as health experts say that diet and fertility are linked.
Increase your odds of conceiving by following a whole-food diet with plenty of omega-3s, leafy greens, and lean proteins. Staple foods like salmon, milk, legumes, and whole grains can support your energy and help you feel healthier and happier throughout the day.
Improving your diet can be a good way to bond as a couple, too. Switching fast food to the farmer’s market gives you time to connect and helps you get some steps in on a Saturday morning.
Shopping at the farmer’s market can help you bond over shared values, as farmers’ markets are eco-friendly, enrich the local economy, and promote stewardship and sustainability. These changes will foster a strong connection with your community and inherently promote healthier eating. This will serve you well when you do become pregnant, as you’ll have formed a healthy eating habit already.
Navigating your fertility journey takes time and patience. Increase your odds of conceiving by living a healthier, less stressful lifestyle. Subtle changes, like journaling and walking more regularly, can have a profound impact on your health and help you manage anxiety when TTC. Just remember to connect with your doctor before signing up for an exercise class, as they may have some strategic recommendations to increase your chances of conception.