There’s plenty of solid scientific evidence that suggests that your fertility is strongly influenced by your lifestyle (what you eat, what you do, your environment and how you live).
Focusing on your natural fertility doesn’t have to be a stand-alone tactic – it can be done before (or simultaneously with) any medical interventions.
Natural fertility is about taking the toxins out of your food and your environment, adopting healthy habits (in your thoughts, emotions and physical actions) and trying to get in tune with your body’s rhythms.
While low-level toxins can build up from a diet of highly processed food, there are also strong connections between a variety of common environmental chemicals and infertility, with certain household cleaners and plastics linked with fertility problems in numerous studies.
Natural fertility methods are a way to observe the changes that occur in your body during the course of your menstrual cycle so that you can identify what part of your cycle you are presently in and what part of your cycle is likely to come next.
Natural fertility methods encourage you to get in touch with the signs that your body gives you at different stages of the cycle.
Some of the main signs are the changes in cervical mucus, your basal body temperature, physical symptoms (like headaches, cramps or tiredness) and even your emotional state (such as your level of emotional sensitivity, irritability and sexual arousal).
When you are in tune with your body’s usual cycle, you are more likely to identify your most fertile time and plan intercourse accordingly.
In natural fertility, women are encouraged to have a healthy level of exercise; regular physical activity which raises the heartbeat for at least thirty minutes a day will assist your body to maintain good fertility.
However, it’s important to get the balance right.
Lowered fertility has been associate both with very high levels of physical activity (such as several hours of high-intensity training each day) and with very low levels of exercise (long periods of inactivity).
Many couples consult a nutritionist, a dietician or a naturopath to get advice on enhancing their natural fertility and there are plenty of ‘fertility diets’ around which encourage healthy eating.
If you can afford to choose only organically grown foods and chemical-free meats, you’re probably going to give your natural fertility a boost, as these foods tend to be higher in nutritional value and lower in toxins.
In general, most ‘healthy eating’ guidelines also apply to those wanting to enhance their natural fertility.
Your diet should include:
You should limit your intake of:
You should avoid:
Our natural fertility cycle is determined by the actions of a number of hormones which interact with each other in an intricate balance. Hormones themselves are naturally-occurring chemicals which are produced, and used as messengers within, the human endocrine system.
It’s not surprising to find that any substance which affects our hormones can have a negative impact on natural fertility.
Studies from around the world are now identifying that many commonly used chemicals can have a disruptive effect on hormones.
Some of the most common ‘problem’ chemicals which reduce natural fertility include:
There are often low levels throughout our environment of chemicals which disrupt our natural fertility.
And with many of these toxins commonly used in the home, it is possible to lower your exposure to these chemicals by changing the way you clean, the personal care products you buy and the way you cook and store food.
With increasing evidence linking toxins in common cleaning products, food storage and cookware items, natural fertility specialists often recommend that you switch to chemical-free cleaning products and completely natural personal care items to raise your natural fertility levels.
Food should be stored in glass rather than plastic containers, and cooked in copper, stainless steel or cast iron cookware rather than using aluminium or plastic cooking containers or utensils.
For more information see Increase Fertility.
By Fran Molloy, journalist and mum of four