WANTING a baby and waiting to get pregnant is one of the toughest times in a woman's life, and a heartbreaking reality for the one-in-six women in Ireland who experience problems in conceiving.
Dr Marilyn Glenville is an UK expert in nutritional health for women and her book Getting Pregnant Faster: Boost Your Fertility in Just 3 Months -- Naturally, looks at the simple lifestyle changes a woman can make to significantly increase her chances of conceiving. Glenville's tips are aimed at any woman struggling with the empty-cradle syndrome and tired of people asking "Any news?"
1 Change your diet The right food will give you energy, lift your mood, help you think more clearly, and will also boost your health and fertility.
>Drink plenty of water.
>Go for high-fibre whole foods -- this means choosing wholegrain bread, brown rice, and wholegrain cereals and pasta instead of refined white versions.
>Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.
>Eat good-quality protein with every meal -- good sources include oily fish, eggs, pulses, beans, nuts and seeds.
>Eat good amounts of essential oils -- sources include nuts, seeds, flaxseed (linseed) oil and oily fish.
>Always eat breakfast and stop eating after 8pm.
>Keep you blood-sugar levels balanced by eating little and often -- every three hours.
>Eliminate caffeine and sugar.
>Choose organic food where possible.
>Reduce, or ideally eliminate your intake of red meat, saturated fat, convenience foods, refined foods and foods high in additives and preservatives.
2 Change your lifestyle Making small but significant lifestyle changes you can have a huge impact on your fertility. >Encourage your partner to eat healthily and to make positive lifestyle changes with you.
>If you or your partner smokes -- quit. Smoking ages your eggs, and reduces your chances of conceiving and of having successful fertility treatment.
>If either of you drinks alcohol -- stop. Research shows a woman aged over 30 who drinks seven or more alcoholic drinks a week is twice as likely not to conceive as a woman who drinks less than one alcoholic drink.
>Find ways to fit exercise into your life.
>Make quality sleep a priority.
>Have lots of sex -- and make sure you enjoy it.
>Find ways to manage stress and be good to yourself.
>Don't put your life on hold -- an enjoyable life helps you unwind and will help you have a positive attitude towards getting pregnant.
>Support your partner and let your partner and loved ones support you; get help from a professional if needed.
>Use complementary therapies to add to the benefits of what you are doing with the nutritional side, for example yoga or aromatherapy.
3fertility-boosting supplements For you and him: folic acid: 400ug; Zinc: 30mg; selenium: 100ug; vitamin B6: 20mg; vitamin B3: 20mg; vitamin B5: 20mg; vitamin B1: 20mg; vitamin B12: 20ug; vitamin E: 160mg; vitamin C: 1000mg; vitamin D: 2.5ug; beta carotene: up to 5mg; manganese: 5mg; chromium: 20ug; L-arginine: he needs 300mg; L-carnitine: he needs 100mg; either fish oil: 600-700mg EPA and 500mg DHA or linseed oil (if you can't take fish): 1000mg.
4eliminate environmental and occupational hazards No fertility-boosting plan is complete without taking into account the potentially harmful effect of hormonally active agents in the environment -- whether they are swallowed or inhaled, voluntarily or involuntarily.
>Eat only organic food as much as you can.
>Wash all your fruit and vegetables thoroughly before use.
>Filter your water.
>Reduce your intake of fatty animal products.
>Don't wrap or heat food in plastic or cling film.
>Refuse mercury fillings.
>Avoid aluminium kitchenware, foil and wrapped foods.
>Avoid cigarette smoke; don't stand around in heavy traffic and close car windows when going through tunnels.
>Limit computer and mobile phone time or take regular breaks.
>See green: at least once a day, take a stroll in a park or green place. Trees and plants give out energising oxygen. It's also a good idea to have plants in your home and workplace.
5make pregnancy sex work According to experts the positions both you and your partner assume during and right after making love can significantly affect the passage of sperm into your vagina and to your fallopian tube.
>Man-on-top position: This has the best chance of getting a woman pregnant, but there are no studies to prove it. The rationale is that this position allows for deep penetration so the man's sperm can be ejaculated as close to the cervix as possible. This gives sperm cells a flying start on their long journey.
>Woman-on-top position: Logically, any position that goes against gravity, such as woman on top or having sex sitting or standing up, discourages the sperm's journey upward and is thought to deter conception.
>Man entering from behind position: If a man enters a woman from behind, especially if she is kneeling in front of him so she has her bottom higher than her head, it is said to encourage conception.
>In the spoons position: Making love with both partners facing the same way with the man penetrating the woman from behind, is not thought to be such an effective baby-making position because the penetration angle is not so deep. The chances might be maximised if the woman leans the upper half of her body away from her partner, pushing her bottom against him.
Getting Pregnant Faster: Boost Your Fertility in Just 3 Months -- Naturally, by Dr Marilyn Glenville, published by Kyle Books, price €13.20