In June we all respond to the prompting of blue skies and fresh new foliage, bursting buds and a riot of flowers; finally, we can welcome summer and celebrate the month of fertility. The summer solstice is the ancient traditional time for sowing seeds, planting crops and celebrating midsummer marriages in homage to the earth’s fertility cycle.
Sadly, life is sometimes not so idyllic for all of us. As June is the month of World Infertility Awareness, let’s take time to celebrate the good things that come from the fertility cycle and to think of those who are not able to conceive. If you’re among the one in seven couples suffering from infertility in the UK, now could be the time to take action. But before you dash off for a fertility blood test, here there are some suggestions for a fertility-friendly lifestyle.
Celebrating June in a fertility-friendly way
There are plenty of ways to celebrate fertility in this magical month. Whether you dance around a maypole, salute the sunrise at the summer solstice or simply enjoy long lazy summer evenings, June is full of promise. But if your aim is to improve your chances of conception, you’re going to need something more practical than a dance or a fervent wish. The most obvious manifestation of the fertility for women is the monthly period. A normal cycle consists of a regular bleeding every 28 days (on average). Having a slightly longer or shorter cycle does not make a difference, as long as it happens regularly and having a monthly period is the best indicator that you are ovulating. Irregular cycles, in contrast, are an indicator of ovulation disorders that can lead to infertility.
Ovulation disorders can be reduced by 69%
Studies have shown that by combining five or more low-risk lifestyle factors you can reduce your risk of suffering from an ovulatory disorder by 69% . Moreover, the great majority of ovulation disorders can be prevented or solved by introducing small changes in your diet and lifestyle, so here you have some tips to give yourself the best chance:
Diet and weight management
According to the NHS, women with a BMI of 30 or more could have problems conceiving. The same would apply for men, who are likely to have reduced fertility. A weight loss plan with the aim to reduce weight gradually (by around 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lbs) each week) is recommended to have a healthy BMI (this is below 25 kg/m2).
Exercising regularly not only will help you to maintain a healthy weight, but it will also have multiple health benefits, such as reducing by 50% your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes. On the top of that, normalising or reducing your weight could restore your menstrual cycle and ovulation. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes/week of moderate activity such as brisk walking or 75 minutes/week of more vigorous activity like jogging.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Smoking clearly has a negative impact in the quality of the sperm and the eggs and so does alcohol. Both men and women, should reduce the alcohol intake when trying to get pregnant. The NHS recommends not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
Reduce stress levels
This isn’t just about feeling good or being relaxed. High levels of stress can impair your libido, with obvious knock-on effects on your chances of pregnancy. Likewise, it can actually lead to ovulation disorders or problems with the sperm production. In terms of fertility treatments, we know from our clinical experience that women with high anxiety levels ovulate 20% less and their oocytes are 30% less likely to be fertilised.
Have lots of sex
It may seem like stating the obvious, but couples hoping for pregnancy can start to focus on the best time to conceive based on the ovulation cycle and almost forget that it’s meant to be fun! By all means be aware of your ovulation cycle and that in most cases the most fertile time is around two weeks from the start of your last period. But don’t get too hung up on those dates. If you want to get pregnant, your best chance is to have sex every two or three days throughout your cycle. Having unplanned and regular sex will also help to boost your libido and to connect with your partner!
The best time for fertility help
Whether it’s June or September or any time at all, if a fertility-aware way of life is not bearing fruit with the desired outcome for you, it’s time to take positive action. The best time to seek help with infertility is sooner rather than later. So it may be time to seek out that fertility blood test after all! If you suspect you may have a fertility problem, you can find out more about the causes of infertility on our website.
Remember that infertility is very common and most cases can be treated successfully. So this is definitely a reason to stay optimistic! The sooner you start, the sooner you can be on the path of fulfilling your family dreams.
Celebrating success with IVI
At IVI 9 out of 10 couples who contact us seeking fertility advice achieve their parenting objective. As a result, every one of many thousands of children that have been born have become part of a family that delights in their presence not only in June, but every day of their lives.