1 in 4 couples find it hard to conceive, and 1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage. Ensuring you’re in optimal health before you begin trying to conceive is a very sensible idea.
Infertility is when a couple fails to conceive (get pregnant) despite having regular unprotected sex.
Some women get pregnant very quickly but, for others, it can take longer. About 85% of couples will conceive naturally within one year if they have regular unprotected sex. Women who have not had a baby after two years of trying are diagnosed as infertile. If you have never conceive, this is known as primary infertility; secondary infertility means that you have conceived in the past, but are having difficulty conceiving again.
There are many factors that can influence female fertility. Some key considerations are:
Poor diet: a diet high in saturated fatty acids and refined or sugary foods can disrupt the balance of nutrients in the body by using up certain vitamins and minerals. This can cause nutrient deficiencies, and disrupt hormone balance.
The NutrEval Test gives a comprehensive overview of your overall nutrient status and can be used to target key problem areas that may be exacerbating the condition.
Hormonal imbalance: the female reproductive cycle is run by a delicate balance between the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Changes in the levels of these hormones control the monthly maturation and release of an egg from a woman’s ovaries, a process called ovulation.
Too much or too little of one of the female sex hormones can result in failed ovulation and problems conceiving.
Imbalances in female hormones can be detected by a Female Hormone profile. Using this clear picture of your hormonal status, Smart Nutrition can put together a specific diet and supplement plan to help rebalance your hormones and improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Nutritional deficiencies: deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals can compromise fertility.
A comprehensive overview of your overall nutrient status can give great insight into areas that may benefit from attention and may be hampering your efforts to conceive. Smart Nutrition can also provide diet and supplement recommendations to help you move towards optimum health.
Stress: stress disrupts the hormonal communication between the brain and the ovaries, interfering with egg maturation and the ovulation process.
All hormonal systems are interlinked, and operate within a hierarchy system. The adrenal glands manage stress and take priority – if you’ve used up all the nutrients needed for reproduction managing your stress, then the body knows that it won’t be able to achieve a health pregnancy. This can cause the menstrual cycle to shut down, affecting fertility.
Stress also raises levels of the hormone prolactin, which acts to prevent ovulation. In addition to this, the concentrations of several important chemical messengers involved in reproduction change when our emotional states change.
If you think stress is contributing to your conception difficulties, an Adrenal Stress Test can help pinpoint precise imbalances that can then be targeted thorough a nutrition consultation.
Unhealthy body weight: weight plays a significant role in fertility. The body needs to be the right weight in order to produce the appropriate amounts of hormones to regulate ovulation and menstruation. Being overweight or underweight can cause problems with these natural fertility cycles, impacting your ability to become pregnant.
Alcohol, smoking and caffeine: the more women smoke, the less likely they are to conceive: quitting smoking may enhance fertility. Even moderate alcohol intake is linked to an increased risk of infertility by some research. Caffeine is thought to enhance alcohol’s negative effects.
Therefore, to optimise your chances of getting pregnant, it’s advisable to avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine. As this can be a challenging process for some, Smart Nutrition’s nutritional therapy can provide valuable assistance through this process, using diet and supplements to support your body.
Medical problems: female health problems such as endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, blocked Fallopian tubes plus STDs such as Chlamydia and Mycoplasma can all affect fertility.
Heavy metals: certain heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminium, along with high levels of copper, are known to have a negative impact on fertility. In some cases they can increase the risk of miscarriage.
The Hair Mineral Analysis Test can provide insight into this aspect of your wellbeing, and chances of carrying a baby to term.