Trying for a baby? How to boost your fertility

Caroline Cassidy

More and more women are putting off having a family, whether because of career, lifestyle or money. If you've reached the stage where you dream of having a baby or are just considering starting a family, give yourself the best chance of pregnancy success by boosting your fertility.

Boost your fertility
Boost your fertility

Pic: Getty

Eat well
Anyone hoping to get pregnant will more than likely start looking after themselves, but you might be surprised at the food and drink that could impair your fertility. For instance, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, just three cups of coffee a day can lower your chances of getting pregnant by 27 per cent.

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Soy has also been found to harm your chances of pregnancy, as a study by Harvard University discovered that isoflavones found in soy-based foods can interfere with the production of sex hormones. You'll need to check your labels carefully to avoid this one, as it's present in the likes of peanut butter and tinned tuna.

Needless to say, too much alcohol is not a good idea - Swedish researchers found that women who drank two boozy beverages a day reduced their fertility by nearly 60 per cent. Instead, treat yourself to an oestrogen-boosting glass of full fat milk.

Weight control
Being either underweight or overweight can seriously delay conception, so it's important to keep your body mass index at a healthy level. But while a healthy weight and a good general level of fitness will undoubtedly do you a favour during pregnancy, too much exercise could affect your breeding potential.

Researchers at Boston University found that vigorous exercise like running can cause physiological stress that could interrupt ovulation, so ease up at the gym and opt for a more moderate power walk.

Stress relief
Stress levels affect everything from your mental health to your physical health, fertility included. In an Oxford University study, women with high levels of alpha-amylase, a biomarker for stress, experienced a 12 per cent reduction in their chances of conception. On the flip side of the coin, Women's Health magazine reports that a separate study found that women who enjoyed a little laughter boost after fertility treatment improved their chances of success by 16 per cent.

Have more sex
Okay, so it might sound blindingly obvious, but regular, frequent sex is key to improving your chances of conception. If you're only having sex once a week, his sperm motility will decrease, and more than five days without any bedroom action could even affect his sperm count. Try for a little love-making every other day to optimise his swimmers' mobility.
Track your fertility
Timing is important for boosting your chances of falling pregnant, but there are lots of helpful gadgets to let you know when is the best time to get between the sheets. Have sex two or three days before ovulation - which occurs 14 days before your period - and you're more likely to find yourself expecting. Ovulation kits that advise you when this magical moment might be are available, but a less pricey option is to download the Woman Calendar app from the iTunes store for just £6.99.

Are you desperate to get pregnant? What have you done to boost your fertility? Leave your comments below...