Preconception

Preconception is when couples start planning on having a baby, and preparing with what they think will improve their chance of conceiving. This period can be filled with stress and expectation - on yourself and your partner. This expectation can be counter productive, and in some cases, cause quite a bit of tension. Know that you may not conceive the first time you try - and that is completely normal! Medically speaking, it's not considered infertility until you have tried for over 1 year - that being said, it wouldn't be considered infertility if you have only tried a handful of times within that 1 year.

Preconception is the perfect time to address diet and lifestyle changes with both partners. Lifestyle can heavily impact rates of fertility (to find out how you can improve your Foundation of Health, check our my series about it here). Being overweight, has a tendency to increase risk of malformation in the developing baby, and poses a greater risk for complications later on in pregnancy for Mama and babe (Zeynep), while decreasing sperm count, quality, and mobility in men (Ramaraju). The good news, is this is modifiable! Which means you have the power to change this factor! And what makes it even better, is the weight loss doesn't have to be dramatic - losing 5-10% can improve ovulation and fertility! Another lifestyle change that can have a huge impact of your fertility is quitting smoking. Smoking causes can increase infertility by 60%,  increase miscarriage, and risk of malformation in developing baby. 

Stress can be another influencing factor on fertility. If your mind and body is stressed, it isn't going to think you are safe to have a baby, and as a result, will suppress those functions until it thinks you are safe. Check out my other blog for tips and tricks to manage your stress. There's a high chance you may know someone, who wanted to have a baby, couldn't, and decided to adopt - just to conceive on their own shortly after. Yes, there can be a number of reasons why this happened; however, they also weren't putting that much pressure on themselves or their partners to conceive. 

It's nice to give your body 100 days to reboot from all of these changes. It takes at least 3 cycles for a woman to improve fertility and decrease risks, this is because the ova (eggs) are susceptible to damage 100 days before ovulation. As for men, it takes 72-116 days for sperm to mature, and during that time, they are also susceptible to damage. Rebooting your body during these 100 days is an amazing way to give your body the time it needs to optimize your fertility. During this time, be gentle with yourself, practice self care via taking care of your body via healthy diet and activity, and any additional lifestyle changes you want to implement. You have enough pressures in your life, you don't have to add the stress about fertility on it as well. Practice this for 100 days, with no expectations, and be gentle with yourself.

There are also supplements and vitamins that you can take to improve fertility (eg. CoenzymeQ 10, and omega-3s); however, these basics are much more important, and in some cases, this is all couples need to conceive. If you have been working on this already, and are still having a difficult time. Book in with someone to help guid you, and who can make specific recommendations for you and your partner - because after all, it takes two to tango. Fertility isn't isolated to a single gender. 

Warmly, 

~ Dr. Charmagne