The myth:

“Obesity doesn’t affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.”

The truth:

”Obesity reduces a woman’s chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.”

Over the past twenty years, fertility problems have increased dramatically. One in six couples now find it difficult to conceive and a quarter of all pregnancies can end in a miscarriage and more and more couples are turning to fertility treatments to help them have a family.

What is the cause?

From a medical point of view, infertility is believed to be caused by the following factors, and in these proportions.

Problem                                                                                                    Percentage of cases:

Ovulatory failure (including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) 20
Tubal damage 15
Endometriosis 5
Male problems 26
Unexplained 30

If the mathematics don’t add up, it’s because many couples experience more than one problem when trying to conceive: for example, you may suffer from endometriosis, but your partner may also have a low sperm count.

Interestingly, the most common cause of infertility is ‘unexplained’, which means that following thorough investigations, doctors can find no specific or identifiable medical problem at the root. But this is where a natural approach can come into play. If a couple fails to become pregnant, there is obviously something causing the problem. It’s no good labelling infertility ‘unexplained’. The answer is to look deeper – at lifestyle factors, nutritional deficiencies and even emotional elements.

What are your choices?

The natural approach to fertility is and has been enormously successful, largely because fertility is multi-factorial, meaning that there are many, many elements that can be at the root of your fertility problems. A study conducted by the University of Surrey showed that couples with a previous history of infertility who made changes in their lifestyle, diet and took nutritional supplements had an 80 percent success rate Given that the success rate for IVF is around 25 per cent, it’s worth considering these options.

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Natural treatment plans are, by their nature, extensive and really do need to be adjusted to suit your individual needs. I will, however, go through the most important points below. Remember that it takes at least three months for immature eggs  to mature enough to be released during ovulation. It also takes at least three months for sperm cells to develop, ready to be ejaculated. This means that when you are trying to improve your fertility, you need to have a three-month period before conceiving. This is called ‘pre-conception care’ and it’s as important to take as much care during this period as it is during a pregnancy itself.

If you are going for IVF treatment or another assisted conception procedure, you should follow the recommendations listed below in order to increase the chances that the procedure will work.

You can optimize your chances of getting pregnant in a number of ways.

  • Diet. Both you and your partner should follow a good  dietary recommendations. Although it goes without saying that a healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby, many people are unaware of the fact that diet can help to correct hormone imbalances that may affect your ability to conceive. There are also certain foods and drinks that are known to lower fertility.
  • Exercise moderately. If you are exercising so heavily that your menstrual periods are infrequent or absent, your fertility is likely to be impaired.
  • Avoid extremes of weight. An optimum body mass index (BMI) is at least 20 and below 27 or using the wasit to hips ratio of  < 0.85 for female and < 0.95 for male
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and excesses of caffeine (more than one cup of coffee per day)
  • Review your medicines with your doctor. Drugs such as digoxin (Lanoxin); bodybuilding steroids; some drugs for treatment of thyroid conditions, depression, hypertension, seizure and asthma; and some prescription antacids can affect your ability to conceive or carry a normal pregnancy.
  •  It is extremely important to avoid anything that might cause an imbalance, and one of the main culprits is the xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are essentially environmental oestrogens, coming from pesticides and the plastic industry. One of the best ways to eliminate an excess intake of xenoestrogens is to eat as much organic produce as possible for the pre-conceptual period.
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