How to increase fertility is a question we didn’t ask so frequently just a few decades ago.
It’s true that a woman’s age is an important factor that affects female fertility; however, there is much more to our capacity to be fertile than reaching a certain age.
Most women who have regular menstrual cycles and release an egg in each cycle have many opportunities to achieve a successful natural pregnancy, despite their age. A lot depends on taking the right approach and making a few lifestyle changes.
We know a woman’s ovaries age and egg quality decreases as a woman gets older but age-related infertility has much more to do with an unhealthy lifestyle than with the state of a woman’s remaining eggs.
What affects fertility the most
A woman’s reproductive organs start to be fully functional a few months after she has her first menstrual cycle – usually when the cycles start to be regular.
Women’s reproductive function and reproductive system remain about the same as women age, usually all the way up to the perimenopausal years, when fertility declines substantially as the ovarian function decays.
A healthy mindset is of paramount importance when approaching the subject of fertility. This might sound like nonsense but fertility decreases dramatically when we tell ourselves we might have fertility problems.
Most people who are worried about their fertility genuinely want to become parents, but not being in the right frame of mind can negatively affect fertility. Just thinking that your fertility health might not be good enough can be enough to affect fertility.
Improving egg quality after 40 naturally
Egg development and the total egg production happen while we are in our mother’s uterus. That means we start our lives with a set number of eggs. One of them will be released in each menstrual cycle during our fertile years.
A woman’s egg quality depends on her lifestyle and there are several things she can do to make sure the quality of her remaining eggs is optimal and to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Let’s look at several things that can be done to increase fertility naturally.
Increase fertility naturally over 40
If you’re hoping to get pregnant and you’re over 40 you should know that many women have achieved this naturally. There is an age related decline in fertility but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get pregnant.
Different lifestyle factors can have an impact on our fertility.
Change in diet
‘We are what we eat’ means exactly that. Our cells and organs are made out of the food we ingest. Healthy foods are always the way to go, whether we’re talking about fertility or health in general.
We should make sure to increase our intake of fruit and vegetables, especially those we eat raw, such as salads, nuts, and fruit. Decreasing the amount of processed foods, refined sugar and carbohydrates will also be helpful.
We should also increase our intake of omega 3 acids.
Many sugars are ingested by drinking them. Try to drink water, r natural lemonade, or tea.
Caffeine consumption should be reduced to the absolute minimum, as it can negatively affect fertility.
A low carbohydrate diet is not necessary to increase fertility. In fact, wholemeal carbohydrates and seeds can improve fertility, if taken in moderation.
We all know that too much body fat is not good for us. Increasing our physical activity is very important for a healthy lifestyle. This will not only help us maintain a healthy weight but it will help all systems of our bodies to function better – ovaries and brain included. Both produce hormones and have a direct relationship with our fertility status. A good flow of hormones – especially reproductive hormones – will always work in favor of our fertility.
Get the appropriate fertility mindset
A mindset that keeps us as stress-free as possible is key to getting pregnant naturally. Stress is the number one cause of infertility in couples who don’t have any physical impediment to conceive.
Oxytocin is the love hormone. It’s secreted when we are in love, when we are happy and having a good time, when we reach orgasm, when we give birth or breastfeed, and even when we look at photos that bring us happy memories. Oxytocin isn’t released in the presence of adrenaline, however, and adrenaline is the hormone that is secreted when we experience stress.
Some good ways to keep adrenaline levels low are: changing how we take things on; accepting what we cannot change; and making sure we don’t anticipate and worry about problems that might never occur.
A good oxytocin flow will increase your chance of becoming pregnant naturally to its highest possible level. Not only will your body be more sexually receptive, but your ovaries will function better and all the remaining eggs will have a better chance of being viable. The uterine lining will also be more nutritious, which means it will be a more welcoming environment for the fertilized egg.
Practicing meditation or mindfulness will be very beneficial in bringing about the right mindset for achieving a natural pregnancy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been proved to increase the chances of getting pregnant naturally.
Not only does it helps with the flow of oxytocin and energy but it’s also been shown to be beneficial prior to egg extraction, whether they are your own eggs or donor eggs.
Research shows that acupuncture also increases the chances of success in fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. A fertility specialist will be able to give you more information and direct you to an acupuncturist to improve fertility.
Herbs for fertility over 40
Instead of taking fertility medications straight away, you can try herbal preparations.
These herbs might be helpful in increasing fertility:
- Black cohosh
- Red clover.
Make sure you talk to a herbalist or a fertility specialist, who can provide the right medical advice about the best herbs to take. This might vary depending on a couple’s individual circumstances.
Does folic acid improve egg quality?
Folic acid has an important role in improving the environment for the developing egg cells. As we grow older, there are fewer eggs in our ovaries. Taking the right amount of folic acid will improve our chances of conceiving naturally.
You can read more about where to get folic acid from in Folic Acid For Pregnancy-Facts You Must Know.
What vitamins improve egg quality?
As well as folic acid (vitamin B9) other B vitamins also play an important role in egg quality and ovulatory infertility, especially when the cause of infertility is at ovarian level.
Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids are also beneficial and improve egg quality.
Zinc is also well known for its important role in fertility health.
If you have a varied diet and tend to cook your meals from scratch, your fertility vitamins needs should be covered by the foods you eat.
Ask your health care provider about the most appropriate supplement for you and your partner if you think you might need to take it.
What foods improve egg quality?
Here are some of the food sources of the vitamins and elements that will improve the quality of your eggs:
- Fresh fruits
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Wholegrains and seeds
- Salmon (be careful about the amount of big fish you eat; the bigger the fish the higher the amount of heavy metals in its meat)
- Leafy greens, pulses, liver, and seafood.
- Fruit (oranges and strawberries)
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Fatty fish, such as mackerel, sardines, salmon
- Pork, beef, and chicken; organ meats such as liver, heart.
Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids
They can both be found in:
- Fatty fish, such as sardines, swordfish, salmon, mackerel, tuna
- Egg yolks
- Whole grains
- Milk and dairy foods
- Seafood – especially oysters
- Red meat
- Legumes – especially beans
- Nuts and seeds.
How to improve fertility for men
Although age-related fertility declines more in women than in men, after forty, men’s fertility can and should be boosted, to optimize the couple’s chances of achieving pregnancy.
The best vitamins and elements to boost a man’s fertility are mainly involved in sperm production and motility. This can be optimized by an appropriate intake of folic acid, vitamin B group, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, calcium, acetyl L-carnitine, vitamins D and E, selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc.
Ovulation over 40 signs
Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether or not you are ovulating, especially if your menstrual cycles are not regular or you’ve never kept track of your periods.
If you’re not already doing it, starting to write down any changes in your menstrual cycles. It’s a very positive way of understanding your body better and will help you to know when you’re ovulating.
Ovulation usually occurs 14 days before your menstrual period. This information is especially valuable if you don’t have 28-day menstrual cycles.
When you ovulate, your cervix opens up to welcome the sperm. At the same time, your cervical mucus gets a consistency similar to raw egg white. This change in your mucus makes the sperm’s journey much easier.
You will be aroused more easily and also tend to feel more predisposed to having sex, as your oxytocin flow is increased. Your capacity to reach orgasm is also enhanced a few days before and after ovulation takes place.
Your basal temperature changes around the time of conception. You will need to check your temperature every day of the cycle, however, to learn when you ovulate, as the temperature change is very subtle.
You might like to keep a ‘cycle diary’, where you write down these changes. It will help you keep track of ovulation and your fertile days and will also help you understand better how your body works.
You can learn more about ovulation and charting your cycle in;
Even after taking care of all the aspects we’ve mentioned above, an infertility treatment might sometimes be necessary.
It might take a long time to achieve pregnancy the natural way, so treatment can used to maximize your chances of conceiving.
The older a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the greater the risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. Therefore, especially when they reach a certain age, some couples choose to undergo fertility treatment to give their baby the best chance of healthy development.
Depending on the woman’s ovarian reserve, the couple might choose different assisted reproductive technologies. The reproductive medicine team will study each case and provide medical advice about the best treatment for each individual couple.
If the ovarian reserve is very low, the egg quality isn’t optimal or the woman has undergone prior ovarian surgery that could hinder the fertilization of her own eggs, an egg donor might be suggested. This is called donor egg IVF. The donor egg is fertilized outside the woman’s body and then the embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus.
Sometimes, when the problem is with the sperm, donor sperm might be used.
Artificial insemination is the technique used to inseminate the woman, introducing the sperm directly into her vagina with a syringe.
Intrauterine insemination is the technique of choice when sperm mobility is the problem, or if the aim is to increase the chances of the sperm reaching the egg.
You can find more information in Fertility After 40 – What You Need To Know.