Whether you’ve tried just about everything to get pregnant or are just finding out more about how to improve fertility, the exciting thing is there are many things you can do to boost your natural fertility.
It’s not always about going dairy free or stopping exercise, read our 41 different ways to improve fertility. You can also watch our video which breaks it down into 4 key areas. Make sure you stay tuned for number 4 as I bet it’s one area you’re not doing enough in right now!
Improve Fertility – Area #1 – Body health
All about the health and medical side of things
1. Get checked out by your doctor
The general rule is that you need to have unprotected sex for a year (or 6 months if you’re over 35) before your doctor will diagnose infertility and start any tests. If you have any medical history that could affect your fertility, ask to get checked out earlier.
2. Knowing when you ovulate
Contrary to popular belief, there’s only a small window each month when you can get pregnant – around ovulation. There are many ways you can find out when you’re ovulating and it’s important to take note of your body’s signs such as the all-important cervical mucous and a rise in your basal body temperature.
3. Get checked for common female fertility issues
PCOS, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes or fibroids could be at the root of your fertility issues. These common female factors are worth checking out.
4. Review any medications you’re currently taking
Some medications can interfere with your natural fertility so check with your doctor about any medications you’re on and seek alternatives where available. Always do this with the advice of your doctor.
5. Monitor your thyroid function
Good thyroid function is important for both male and female fertility. Sometimes this isn’t included in the standard fertility tests but if you’re feeling any other symptoms of an under or over-active thyroid, it’s worth investigating this with your doctor.
6. Check your hormone levels
The hormones needed for a healthy conception are a very intricate balance. Even the slightest change can reduce your chances of getting pregnant. If you’ve been monitoring your cycles and feel that hormones are abnormal, it’s worth seeking the advice of a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
7. Give your body some time after birth control
If you’ve recently come off the pill or other hormonal birth control methods, you may need to give your body sometime before you get pregnant. Not always, but some women need a few months for the hormones to stabilise and find their natural balance
Sexually-transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea can affect both male and female fertility even if the infection isn’t present now. If you’ve had an STI in the past, make sure your current doctor is aware so you can be checked for any scarring or damage.
9. Maintain a healthy weight
We know that either being underweight or overweight can affect your natural fertility so make sure you are at your optimum weight when trying to conceive. Even just a small gain or loss has been shown to make a difference.
10. Visit the dentist regularly
Some studies have shown that poor oral hygiene or gum disease can impact fertility. Your dentist can help you get back on track and eliminate this as a possible factor
11. Remember to get him checked out too!
The focus within infertility is often on the female, however, the rates of male and female infertility are about equal. Even though he might not like it, it’s important your husband or partner gets his sperm checked for numbers, morphology and motility or any recurring infections that may be causing an issue.
Improve Fertility Area #2 – Sex
12. Have sex regularly and have fun with it
Have sex at least 2 – 3 times a week and more around ovulation time. When you’re trying to conceive, sometimes it can feel a bit mechanical and like the ‘love’ has been taken out of ‘making love’. Do what you can to keep the love and spice it up where you can. Now when it comes to orgasm, we know he has to but what about you? Some studies show female orgasm can improve chances of conception as the uterine contractions help move the sperm along.
13. Have sex BEFORE ovulation as well as during
Many people wait for ovulation before having sex, but if you know ovulation is imminent start trying earlier as well. Sperm can live for up to 5 days and will also be waiting in the right place (the fallopian tubes) ready for conception to take place
14. Do it in missionary position
Fertility doctors advocate for the missionary position (with him on top) as the best for conception. This is unless you have a tipped uterus, in which case they recommend from behind or doggy style.
15. Don’t use lube
Synthetic lubricants can actually be harmful to sperm so either go without or choose one that is ‘sperm friendly’.
16.Elevate your uterus after sex
After ejaculation, it’s best to elevate your uterus (you could use a pillow beneath your bottom) as this helps the sperm to move with gravity towards the fallopian tubes
Improve Fertility Area #3 – Diet & Lifestyle
This is a huge area that can feel overwhelming at times. Our advice is to focus on one major area at a time e.g. fertility diet and to go easy on yourself. Making lifestyle changes can be hard, so seek support from your doctor, dietician or natural therapist to implement changes
17. Fertility Diet
This is a HUGE area with lots of advice online, some of it conflicting. What everyone agrees on is a healthy, balanced diet rich in whole foods, slowly-digested carbohydrates and organic vegetables and to cut out processed foods, excess sugar and soy.
18. Eat for your cycle
Your period is an indicator of your overall health. In the great book, Womancode by Alisa Vitti, she talks about eating specific foods for where you are in your cycle to optimise your health and fertility.
19. Eat a bigger breakfast
When we eat our food also affects our overall health and hormones. Eating your largest meal at the beginning of the day has been proven to not only reduce weight but also affect insulin resistance and hormone levels. This is particularly important for women suffering from PCOS.
20. Reduce pesticides and herbicides by eating organic
Although it’s important to eat a lot of healthy fruit and vegetables, it’s also important to source them from an organic producer. Pesticide residue has been shown to reduce fertility and key foods to avoid or source organically include strawberries, grapes, spinach, peppers and stone fruits.
21. Cut out smoking, alcohol and caffeine
We all know that smoking and alcohol are bad for our health so eliminating these should be a priority if you’re trying to conceive. There are mixed results on caffeine, but it may be safer to cut this out, for now, to eliminate this as a factor.
22. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is good for our overall health, but also for fertility. For example, reduced water in cervical
23. Exercise, but not too much!
The general advice is to keep active and healthy but not to overdo it. If you were always a runner before and want to continue, it’s ok to do so but not to overdo it. Vigorous exercise where your heart rate is severely elevated is bad for your fertility. Some experts warn against any exercise at all. It’s important to find your balance – exercise releases endorphins and can be a really important part of feeling happy and healthy on your fertility journey
24. Try yoga
Yoga can be a great exercise and I encourage you to try it if you haven’t before. It combines movement and relaxation – two great things to improve fertility.
25. Don’t overheat
This is more for the man in your life, but it’s important to not overheat the genitals as extreme heat from saunas, hot tubs or steam rooms can impair sperm production and reduce sperm count. We also don’t recommend Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) or any extremes like this as it’s all about creating your fertility equilibrium right now.
26. Avoid chemicals in your home
This is a topic that has long been neglected in traditional fertility advice, but one step towards increasing your fertility is to reduce your exposure to specific toxins that can harm fertility. BPA is a known endocrine disrupter and phthalates are also known to impair egg quality and fertility. For more information, we highly recommend the book ‘It starts with the egg’ by Rebecca Fett.
27. Get the recommended amount of sleep
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night gives a whole range of health benefits, including for your fertility. Make some time for relaxation and screen-free time for an hour before bedtime or unwind with a bath, reading or meditation. Some studies have linked shiftwork with reduced fertility, so if you’re able to change your sleep patterns to follow the natural cycle of day and night this may boost your fertility too.
28. Aim for darkness at night
In addition to getting a good night’s sleep, experts recommend having your bedroom as dark as possible. You can take this a step further with Lunaception, where you balance your hormones by controlling the amount of light in your bedroom and mirroring the cycles of the moon – so when the moon is at it’s brightest so is your light in your room. It may sound silly, but it’s based on our primal body response from when we used to sleep outside and be in sync with the moon’s cycles.
29. Don’t douche!
Some women like to douche their vaginas – to clean them out with a mix of water/vinegar or a pre-prepared solution. This practice is widely discouraged, not only as it hinders getting pregnant but it can also cause a number of other health issues and is linked to increased rates of vaginal infections, PID, ectopic pregnancies and even cervical cancer. At ovulation time, you are also washing away the vital cervical
30. Give yourself 3-4 months
3 months is the golden window in fertility. It takes 3-4 months for changes you make to start affecting your egg and sperm health. If you can, allow a 4-month window after dietary and lifestyle changes before any fertility treatments to maximise your chances of conceiving.
31. Try Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
There is a wealth of evidence and anecdotal information that support the use of acupuncture for boosting your natural fertility. It is believed it can increase blood flow, balance hormones and reduce stress. Other Chinese medicine practices such as Chinese herbs are also thought to be beneficial, but make sure you are seeing a licensed and recommended practitioner as some herbs can actually harm your fertility.
32. Take supplements
The general advice is for women to take folic acid (folate) and normally also Vitamin D as many women are deficient in this. You can also take a multivitamin made from whole foods to support your body. There is a lot of advice online about supplements so it’s important to seek advice on what is right for you. Here’s one infertility gal’s advice on supplements.
33. Wear socks
The logic behind this is that poor circulation reduces fertility in both men and women. Keeping your feet warm can help with blood circulation. This also comes from Chinese medicine which believes in warm feet and warm foods and not eating chilled or raw foods.
34. Eat pineapple
The jury is still technically out on this one, but the pineapple has become a symbol within infertility circles. Pineapples are rich in bromelain which is like nature’s aspirin and it is the blood thinning capacities that are thought to benefit fertility by driving blood flow to the uterus.
35. Try fertility massage
Fertility massage can improve fertility by increasing blood circulation (a common theme in many of these tips) and inducing deep relaxation. You can either visit a specialist practitioner or look up self-fertility massage techniques online.
36. Visit the chiropractor
There aren’t many studies in this area, but there are many women who claim adjustments from a chiropractor made all the difference when trying to conceive.
37. Use technology to help you make lifestyle changes
Technology can really support you in making diet and lifestyle changes. For example, reminders to your phone to take supplements or exercise, diet apps that help you keep track of your intake or sleep meditation programs. Use technology wisely to help you on your fertility journey, but beware of fertility overwhelm and disconnect from your screens at the end of the day.
Improve fertility Area #4 – Mind Health
As you can see there’s so much to focus on when it comes to your body health and lifestyle, many people often neglect their emotional wellbeing. But it’s just as important! This is what Your Fertility Hub is all about – supporting you on the emotional side of your journey and giving you specific mind-body tools proven to help you get pregnant.
38. Reduce stress
Everyone says ‘Just relax’, which is not easy to do when you’re trying to conceive. Many studies have shown that high-stress levels are linked to lower natural pregnancy rates and lower treatment success rates. Watch our video here and learn practical stress-reduction strategies.
39. Maintain a healthy mindset
Arguably one of the biggest challenges during infertility is staying positive. Every month is a rollercoaster. Finding a healthy mindset is possible though and can really help you not only feel more positive every day but can also boost your natural fertility by increasing blood flow, balancing your hormones and helping your body be in its optimum state. Learn more about the power of the mind-body connection here.
40. Use fertility meditations/visualisations
Fertility relaxation audios can help you deeply relax and visualisation is a proven technique for helping you see and reach your goals. If you haven’t tried meditation before, don’t be discouraged. Guided audios mean you can sit back and be taken on a journey. You can try our free meditations in Your Fertility Toolbox or try our short online course Your Fertility Meditations for only $27 which goes more in-depth on how this can improve fertility.
41. Tune out well-meaning advice and tune into your instincts
There is so much well-meaning advice online and from friends and family. Try tune out what isn’t relevant to you and listen to what your instinct is telling you to do. Often we already know the answer and just need a bit of stillness to bring forward the answer.
On that note, this article focuses a lot on what you can ‘do’ for your fertility. Often fertility can seem like all ‘doing’ and you can be left feeling overwhelmed, tired or unsure of what to ‘do’ next.
Our advice is to also make some time to ‘be’ during your fertility journey. What makes you tick? What lights you up? What makes you happy? Whatever you answered
YOU are at the heart of your fertility journey and you need to look after YOU, reclaim YOU and just be YOU to help yourself find your way through and out of infertility!
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is…fast asleep! (she just loves it!!)