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Fertility And Foods That Boost The Chances Of Pregnancy

Written by Dr. Jatin Bhide on Wed, 16 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • Fertility issues can sneak up on around 15% of couples trying to conceive.
  • When a female child is born, she is born with all the eggs she is going to have in her lifetime.
  • Male fertility generally starts to reduce around age 40 to 45 years.
  • For couples trying to conceive, it is important to take certain factors into consideration like reproductive health, age, diet, nutrition, sexual wellness, time of intercourse, and so on.
  • Following a balanced diet, not skipping breakfast, including multivitamins, including essential nutrients, and taking care of your body can boost fertility.
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A couple is healthy and in love. The decision to try for pregnancy is made. Conception is however not the easiest thing to happen, and it is important to look into the factors that can improve the chances of conceiving, including foods that improve fertility or simply fertility-boosting foods.

Several factors play a role when it comes to conception and pregnancy. A healthy woman in her 30s has only a 20% chance of getting pregnant every month whereas, fertility issues can sneak up on around 15% of couples trying to conceive.

Certain timings, foods, and supplements can increase or decrease the chances of pregnancy. Let us take a deeper look into the factors that influence male and female fertility, and the fertility-boosting foods one can consume to improve their chances of conceiving.

Fertility in females

When a female child is born, she is born with all the eggs she is going to have in her lifetime. Her eggs age and mature with her as she grows. The quantity of eggs keeps decreasing as she loses one egg every month after getting her first period. In the long run, the quality of these eggs also decreases, as the female ages from her teens to twenties to thirties and latest to her forties.

The age of a woman is the single most important factor affecting a woman's fertility. While good health can boost the chance of getting pregnant and bearing a healthy pregnancy, it does not override the effects of age on a woman's fertility.

A woman in her early to mid-20s has a 25-30% chance of getting pregnant every month. Fertility generally starts to reduce when a woman is in her early 30s, and more so after the age of 35. By age 40, the chance of getting pregnant in any monthly cycle is around 5%.

Fertility in males

While the effects of female age on fertility have been known for a long time, more recent studies have demonstrated that the age of the male partner also plays a major role in the chance of pregnancy and pregnancy health.

Studies have shown that male fertility generally starts to reduce around age 40 to 45 years. The sperm quality starts to decrease along with the sperm count. Several lifestyle factors also play a major role in this. Increasing male age reduces the chances of pregnancy and increases the number of menstrual cycles it takes to become pregnant along with the risk of miscarriage and fetal death.

Later in life, the chances of births with mental illnesses or birth defects also rise.

The basics of pregnancy

We all know by now that every woman's cycle is different. Usually, every month there are a series of hormonal changes in your body that lead to an immature egg growing and maturing in the ovary. This process takes around two weeks on average starting with a woman's menstrual period.

On maturation, the egg is released from the ovary in a process known as ovulation. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. The egg is only viable for 24 hours once it's been released. If fertilization by a sperm cell takes place during this time frame, the fertilized egg will keep traveling down toward the uterus. It will then implant into the uterine lining and pregnancy will commence with the growth of the zygote.

The key is to have sex in the days before and during ovulation. That way the sperm cells and the released egg can get fertilized in the fallopian tube. Sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to four or five days and make fertilization possible.

Factors that influence conception

Various factors can have a say in fertilization and conception. Here are some important ones to note:

  •  The health of the couple
  • The diet and nutrition of the couple
  • The menstrual health of the female
  • Sexual health of the couple
  • The time of sexual intercourse
  • The lifestyle of the couple

Nutrition- A crucial part of the conception

Pre-pregnancy nutrition is a crucial part of a woman's life. Becoming healthy before becoming pregnant is a challenge for most women. Many women don't eat a well-balanced diet before pregnancy. They may miss out on essential nutrients or not have a proper nutritional sound diet required to meet the demands of pregnancy. They can do this by choosing foods that increase fertility in females.

Generally, a pregnant woman needs to add about 300 extra calories daily after the first trimester to meet the needs of her body and the developing fetus. These calories as well as her entire diet need to be healthy, balanced, and nutritious.

Some foods are known to boost fertility and increase the chances of pregnancy in a couple. Read on to find out more about these foods.

Dietary ways to boost fertility

There are several claims of fertility-boosting foods some of which have been backed up by science while some have been consumed for ages as traditional medicines.

Here is a list of 15 ways to align your diet to boost fertility. This way can help couples conceive and have a better chance of being pregnant.

1. Eating a healthier breakfast

PCOS is a major cause of infertility in women. Studies have found that eating a healthy and hearty breakfast can help women evade the risk of PCOS and thus infertility.

Eating a proper breakfast also helps in maintaining a hormonal balance and a regular ovulatory cycle. These factors can improve the chances of pregnancy in a couple trying to conceive.

2. Choosing healthier fats in your diet

Studies have found that a diet higher in trans fats and lower in unsaturated fats is linked to infertility in both men and women. Trans fats are present in most packed and junk foods. These fats cause weight gain and can worsen PCOS.

Choosing healthy fats like olive oil, avocadoes, canola oil, etc. over trans fats can prove to be beneficial in the long run.

3. Saying NO to refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs include sugary and processed foods like bread, pasta, sugary drinks, etc. Consuming these foods can cause a spike in our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone similar to ovarian hormones. It can hamper the production of ovarian hormones and delay ovulation and the maturation of eggs. This can worsen PCOS and even cause a blow to fertility.

4. Including more fiber in your diet

Fiber helps your body get rid of excess hormones and keep blood sugar balanced. Certain types of fiber can eliminate excess estrogen by binding to it in the intestines. This estrogen is then removed from the body as a waste product.

Including more fiber in your diet can help in maintaining a healthy weight, healthy digestion, hormonal balance, and menstrual cycle.

5. Eating more antioxidant-rich foods

The inflammation-causing free radicals in our bodies can cause damage to both the egg and the sperm. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains are packed full of beneficial antioxidants like vitamins C and E, folate, beta carotene, and lutein. Eating more of these healthy foods can help you get ample amounts of antioxidants and maintain good health.

6. Choosing the right diary fats

A study found that women consuming high-fat dairy products in their diet are 27% less likely to be infertile. High intakes of low-fat dairy foods can increase the risk of infertility whereas consuming 1-2 servings of high-fat dairy foods per day may decrease it. The probiotic nature of dairy can improve gut health and help in boosting overall health and fertility.
 

7. Trying out alternative protein sources

Protein sources of animal origin like eggs, red meat, and lean meat are often linked to infertility. A study has shown that when 5% of total calories came from vegetable protein instead of animal protein, the risk of ovulatory infertility decreased by more than 50% Replacing some animal proteins with vegetable protein sources such as beans, nuts, and seeds is linked to a reduced risk of infertility.
 

8. Include Iron-rich foods

Consuming iron supplements and non-heme iron obtained from plant-based sources can decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility. Heme iron obtained from animal sources is not known to be useful in reproductive health. However, non-heme iron obtained from plant sources like spinach, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. can be of great help in women with iron deficiencies.

9. Cut out the alcohol and caffeine

Studies have shown that consuming alcoholic drinks regularly is associated with decreased chances of pregnancy. It was also found that the rate of diagnosed infertility was higher in women who consumed alcohol. Alcohol can also raise the sugar levels in the blood which leads to an insulin spike. It is recommended to avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol in PCOS if one is trying to conceive.

10. Include a multivitamin 

The micronutrients found in multivitamins can be crucial for fertility. Multivitamins containing folate can be beneficial for women's reproductive health. Trace minerals along with vitamins also play a vital role in reproductive health. Taking Multivitamins regularly can diminish the chances of developing any deficiencies. This facilitates good health, and regular menses and thus boosts fertility.

Other than these ways, there are aphrodisiac foods that can improve the chances of conception.

Aphrodisiac Foods

Aphrodisiac foods are known to increase libido and are even associated with more engaging intercourse. These properties can help a couple get intimate and increase the chances of conception.

Here are some libido-boosting aphrodisiac foods to try.

1. Strawberries

Strawberries are bursting with antioxidants and zinc which are both known to boost fertility. Zinc can also help improve testosterone levels in men and even make sexual intercourse easy for women. It is a pleasant fruit that also turns out to be the most preferred aphrodisiac.

2. Watermelon

Watermelon is a light fruit that is known to dilate blood vessels in the body and help one relax. These effects might not be organ-specific but it is a great way to relax without any side effects. Watermelon is high in lycopene, studios have shown that lycopene can improve sperm count by 70%

3. Almonds

Almonds are a great source of good fatty acids which are the foundation of most sex hormones. This can help in increasing the sex drive. The vitamin E and zinc in almond is said to boost fertility in both men and women.

4.  Oysters

A high level of zinc in oysters could increase testosterone production and therefore increase sex drive in men. If low levels of dopamine are responsible for your or your partner's low libido, oysters may be helpful since they contain tyrosine, which helps in dopamine production.
 

5. Fenugreek

Studies have shown that fenugreek improves sex drive in both men and women. It is a seed capable of producing hormones like estrogen and testosterone. This highlights its role in sex drive and sexual wellness.

6.  Pistachios

Pistachios are rich in fats, fiber, and proteins. They are known to help in erectile dysfunction in men. They are also known to improve the circulation of blood throughout the body.
 

7. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for a healthy body and boost fertility. It is known to help in erectile dysfunction and improve blood circulation.

8. Saffron

Saffron is often used to reduce stress and enhance mood. Saffron is known to impart greater arousal and increased lubrication in women. Whereas studies have shown that saffron improved erectile dysfunction in men.

9. Avocadoes

Avocadoes contain vitamin B6 which is essential for vigor and improving sex drive. They are also a great source of folic acid which is known to be essential for women's reproductive health.

10. Chocolate

Eating chocolate increases serotonin and dopamine in your body which in turn reduces stress. It is known for its libido-boosting properties. Chocolate bars containing 80% of cocoa are considered rich.

With these healthy food habits, some exercise, and some specific aphrodisiac foods, you can try to improve your fertility and boost your chances of conception.

Conclusion

Fertility in men and women is an issue of utmost importance and sensitivity. Science has shown that the rate of fertility decreases with age in women more rapidly than in men. For couples trying to conceive it is important to consider certain factors like reproductive health, age, diet, nutrition, sexual wellness, time of intercourse, and so on. Along with this, it is important to consider consuming fertility-boosting foods.

By following a balanced diet, including foods that improve fertility, not skipping breakfast, multivitamins, including essential nutrients, and taking care of your body you can boost fertility. Keeping caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and other harmful substances at bay can increase your chances of a healthy conception.

Including aphrodisiac foods can rejuvenate a spark in the love life of couples and bring them a step closer to conceiving and being pregnant. Take the necessary steps, keep health conditions at bay, and you will see that the joy of parenthood is not far away.




 







 

 


 

 


 

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Dr. Jatin Bhide

Dr Jatin Bhide is an Ayurvedic doctor with over 16 years of enriching experience in Marketing and Strategy across OTC/FMHG, herbal medicine and Nutraceuticals (Europe) industries. He did his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Mumbai University, before moving on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Management.

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