Summary

Here is a chapter summary that highlights the key concepts of this chapter.

Overview

• Most people prefer to try a natural approach to fertility, at least initially, before embarking on lots of uncomfortable and expensive procedures.

Diet and Nutrition

• A well-balanced diet helps to regulate your hormones and nourish your reproductive system.

• According to ACOG, the average woman needs about 2,200 calories per day and, once pregnant, needs about 300 additional calories daily.

• Choose your foods wisely to ensure that you receive the best possible vitamins and minerals from natural whole foods. The food guide pyramid serves as a guide for both men and women.

• Avoid these foods: raw or undercooked fish, meat and poultry, as well as fruits and vegetables that have been treated with potentially toxic chemical pesticides.

Healthy Weight

• Being at a healthy weight makes it easier for you to conceive because your metabolism and hormones are more likely to be in the proper balance.

• Doctors use the BMI as a reliable indicator of body fat. The BMI is a way of correlating your body weight to your height.

• Women that are either extremely thin or too heavy may experience difficulties becoming pregnant.

• To have the best chance of conceiving, aim for a BMI in the healthy midrange of about 19 to 25.

Keeping Fit

• Moderate exercise is a good way to naturally boost your fertility.

• Exercise helps to burn off excess body fat and allows hormones to reach their proper balance.

Reduce Your Stress

• Stress can be the cause of many common physical ailments, including causing your menstrual cycle and ovulation to become irregular.

• Although it's easier said than done, you need to figure out a way to reduce the stress in your life for your overall health and well-being.

• Consider joining a support group, learn stress-management techniques, try yoga or meditation, or explore other ways to release your burdens.

Vitamins and Nutrients

• Take a prenatal vitamin pill every day, even when you are just thinking about becoming pregnant. It provides you with a great source of vitamins and nutrients.

• Certain vitamins and nutrients have been studied and shown to help boost fertility, including these:

• Vitamin A in the vegetable form (beta-carotene) is healthy for women.

• Vitamin B may boost fertility in both men and women.

• Vitamin C may boost fertility in both men and women.

• Vitamin E may boost fertility in both men and women.

• Zinc may boost fertility in both men and women.

• Selenium may boost fertility in both men and women.

• Essential fatty acids may boost fertility in both men and women.

• L-arginine may boost fertility in men.

• L-carnitine may boost fertility in men.

Lifestyle: Things to Avoid

• Xenoestrogens

• Certain prescription medications

• Chemical toxins and radiation

Natural Ways to Monitor Your Own Fertility

• One of the best ways of naturally boosting your fertility is to pinpoint exactly when you are ovulating—that's when you're the most fertile.

• Several natural family-planning methods can help you figure out when you are ovulating, including rhythm, basal body temperature, and cervical mucus methods.

• You may decide that you want to try a slightly more sophisticated test called the home ovulation predictor test.

Other Natural Ways to Maximize Your Fertility

• Avoid artificial lubricants.

• Try the missionary position to maximize deep sperm penetration.

• Be sure to have sex during your most fertile time of the month.

• Make sure your male partner keeps his testicles slightly cooler than the rest of his body.

Alternative Medicine: Exploring Nonconventional Treatments

• In the United States, alternative medicine is a system of treatments that are not typically recognized by the traditional medical community.

• You may find that some therapies benefit you and boost your fertility, but you should understand the limitations of the various treatments.

• In all cases, you should be under the care of a qualified practitioner.

• Aromatherapy may help reduce emotional stress.

Acupuncture has been shown in some studies to benefit both female and male fertility.

Certain herbal remedies may be associated with fertility.

Integrative medicine combines the best of both worlds—the high tech of conventional medicine with the high touch of alternative medicine.

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