The current COVID-19 pandemic has bought about a number of significant changes in day to day life for all of us, let alone for those of you focusing on your fertility.
Many people are working from home and may have additional challenges negotiating this new work/life space. Whilst there are certainly pros and cons of being in lockdown, there are many things that you can be doing now to help improve your chances of conceiving.
Whilst there may be an overwhelming feeling of lack of control in the current circumstances, try to focus on what you can control and what factors you can change that may help improve your fertility.
If you are not in the healthy weight range, aim to change your diet and exercise levels to help achieve this.
We know that being overweight or underweight can impact your fertility negatively and can also reduce your chances of success with IVF. Now is the time to address this.
Start with calculating your BMI and your waist measurement. Look online or in our book (Create a Fertile Life) for details around calculating your BMI and waist measurements correctly.
If your BMI is less than 18.5 or greater than 25, or your waist measurement is greater than 94cm (for men) or 80cm (for women), then you may need support in achieving a healthy weight to improve your fertility.
Make a time to speak to your naturopath about what changes are necessary to help you achieve a healthier more fertile weight. They will also be able to assess whether there are likely to be any other contributing factors that may be affecting your ability to maintain and/or achieve a healthy weight.
Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day. Along with benefits to your fertility, exercise helps to improve your mood, blood sugar and hormone balance, circulation, energy and assist in weight management.
It’s probably never been more important than now to be exercising regularly. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to negatively affect our mental health. Impacts can come in the form of financial stress, job insecurity, isolation and less social connections. This may also affect our fertility by increasing our stress and anxiety and exacerbating any previous mental health issues.
Exercising regularly is a wonderful positive change you can make to help improve your body’s ability to manage stress and resilience. Start with doing something and build up from there. Use that extra time in your day that you may have spent travelling to/from work to lock in a daily exercise routine and stick to it. Book it in at a specific time each day. I have been doing Yoga or Pilates classes at 4pm every day which has been a lovely way to wind down and also work out (see below for some free online classes). Try to find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good after completing.
Now is the time to focus on making those changes to your diet that you may not have had time to do so before. Use this time productively to nourish yourself with healthy meals. For example, cook up big batches of healthy soups or broths and freeze these in smaller portions so that they are readily available for a meal when needed.
Treat yourself to a daily nutrient-dense smoothie, make some chia seed puddings or your own wholegrain bread. Now is also the perfect time to cut out the caffeine and alcohol which may be easier due to the lack of social functions. Speak to your naturopath, or look at our website for recipe ideas or to the Chapters in our book, Create a Fertile Life, for more inspiration.
Stress affects all aspects of male and female fertility. Fortunately, stress reduction programs can significantly improve your chances of having a baby. This is now the perfect time to be introducing daily deep breathing techniques, visualisation and/or meditation.
There are many apps e.g. Smiling Minds, Headspace, Stop Breath Think etc that you can use to begin with. There are also specific fertility-related meditations that you can download made by our very own naturopaths Charmaine Dennis and Gina Fox. Give them a go.
Try to make meditation a daily practice. It can create powerful change in your life.
Now is the time to focus on what positive steps you can make during lockdown to help improve your fertility. We know that whilst a woman’s eggs are present from birth, they take 3-4 months to mature in the ovaries before they are ovulated. Sperm are manufactured from scratch over the same time frame. This preconception period of 3-4 months is a wonderful time to focus on supporting the growth and development of both the eggs and sperm so that they are likely to be a lot healthier and thus, improve your chances of conceiving.
Free Yoga class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epsvORtTVk0
Free Pilates class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-750Jo8CUU
B.Nat., Masters of Reproductive Medicine (MRMed), B.A., Cert Nat Fert Mgt.
Member FSA, NHAA, ATMS
Looking for a Naturopath to support you? Book in with Tina here.