Nutrition and Fertility

Factors that may affect conception.

A healthy couple, in which both partners are younger than age 30 and have regular intercourse with no contraceptive, have a 25-to-30-percent chance of conceiving each month. Infertility is always in the back of a person's mind when trying to conceive without success. Before seeking help from a doctor, couples and individuals commonly look to improve their lifestyle choices.

Research has found that a healthy diet and exercise can promote ovulation in some women and sperm count in men. According to the National Infertility Association in the United States, 30 percent of infertility is due to being either overweight or underweight. Reducing extra weight by even 5 percent can improve fertility. Women who are overweight and/or obese can be affected by infertility. They can experience complications during pregnancy, too. Adversely, being underweight can impair the menstrual cycle and cause complications while trying to conceive. And excessive workouts can cause a low sperm count or disrupt menstrual cycles.

Knowing that weight and infertility are commonly linked, healthy lifestyle choices are encouraged for men and women looking to start families. The building blocks for hormones are found in foods like those that contain antioxidants, which help to protect the egg and sperm from free radicals. Consider organic, grass-fed, whole fat, raw dairy for diets, as well as grass-fed and organic meat, grains in whole and natural form, and high-fiber foods. Additionally, drink lots of water.

Cutting out smoking and too much alcohol is also helpful. Smoking may cause infertility in both men and women as nicotine has been shown to block the production of sperm and decrease the size of a man's testicles. In women, tobacco changes how cervical mucus affects sperm reaching the egg. There is also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Marijuana may disrupt a woman's ovulation cycle, and men who use it may experience decreased sperm count and quality. Alcoholism is related to disorders in ovulation and causes complications during pregnancy.

Positive changes in diet in exercise may help you and your partner set the best potential groundwork for fertility. Speak with your doctor and/or a nutritionist to delve deeper into how these specific factors may directly affect you.

Resources