Fertility is a gift that everybody should cherish. Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide – and has an impact on their families and communities. Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally. Even if you never plan to have kids, fertility is important, because it is an indicator of your overall health.
“It is known that some medical conditions, for example being obese, can have an impact on your fertility, but it is not clear whether your fertility may hold any clues to your future health. Recent studies have suggested that some causes of infertility may be linked with other health issues such as cardiovascular disease,” stated in a report from a workshop where a group of experts from around the world considered whether fertility can tell anything about how healthy a person will be in the future.
Last week SwimCountTM started The Fertility Awareness month, where for 3 weeks you can read and learn about “What boosts men’s and women’s fertility?” and “How to improve your chances of conceiving?”. By following all the suggestions, you can create a “checklist” and tick off the actions you have done in order to boost your reproductive health.
The theme of last week was about the common actions that both men and women can take to improve their fertility:
Eat the rainbow variety of foods for egg-happy and sperm-boosting antioxidants: berries, green vegetables and carrots. You should also include good fat from avocados, nuts (especially walnuts), olive oil and salmon, and complete your diet with lean protein, whole grains and high fat dairy foods.
A good idea is to replace some of the animal proteins with vegetable protein sources, such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Studies have shown that a diet high in trans-fat is linked to infertility in both men and women. So, limit the use of vegetable oils, margarine, processed and fried food.
A large study back in 2007 showed that consumption of high fat dairy foods at least one time a day, decrease the chances of infertility in women by 27%.
Your chances of having a baby are optimised when you are within the normal weight range for your height. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) – a healthy fertile BMI range is between 19 and 25.
A recent study in Denmark found out that male children of mothers who have had BMI 25< during the pregnancy, are around 40% more likely to grow up infertile.
The other side to this, is that body fat plays a significant role in reproduction, this means that also low BMI translates to fertility.
If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. Smoking harms both eggs and sperm, causing havoc on your hormones and damaging DNA. The risk of fertility problems increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Your chances of conception will increase by 40% once you have kicked the habit out and your body will thank you. And so will your family’s health in the long run.
Alcohol during pregnancy is not recommended, and if you are still trying to conceive, alcohol increases the risk of an early pregnancy loss. Studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are significant both before conception as well as after conception as it damages both eggs and sperm.
Caffeine is a drug, and can reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron, a key mineral for healthy conception. It is recommended to lower caffeine intake to 1-2 drinks per day
Stress affects hormone levels that are required for conception. Men who feel more stressed have lower sperm concentration, and the sperm they have is more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility. According to a study, it took women who felt more stressed daily 29% longer to achieve pregnancy. Seek advice of a health care professional if you feel stressed or anxious and need help managing it.
If you are new to exercise, choose lower-impact activities that keep you moving without triggering a stress response. Try Yoga, Pilates and brisk walking. Include 30 min of simple, moderate exercise in your daily life – this will reduce risks of ovulation problems and miscarriages. A more active exercise for men at least 3 times a week is recommended to increases the number of “healthy swimmers”.
Keep it healthy and it will pay off!
 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility - Infertility. World Health Organization
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