We’ve all heard some crazy stories, and we dismiss them because, well, we’re rational and educated people. Yet, at the back of our minds, there’s always a lingering doubt. Could that absurd rumor I happened to hear have some degree of validity in it? After all, at the end of the day, there’s no smoke without fire, right?
So, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for a new sucker-punch question:
As bizarre as it sounds, could merely being in the same physical presence as a baby give your fertility an instant boost?
And the answer is… No.
According to Oregon Health & Science University’s associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Paula Amato, that’s sort of… ridiculous really. But she was pretty nice about the way she phrased it. “There is zero evidence of this, other than anecdotes”, said Dr. Amato (1).
Well, there goes that.
Conception is a rather tricky business. If you’re a couple who has been actively trying to conceive but happen to be struggling, then it’s best to skip this particular gem of advice from your well-meaning but slightly clueless aunt. There do exist a number of factors that can stack the odds of getting pregnant in your favor, however, simply hanging around your newborn nephew or niece isn’t quite the solution. In fact, we’re just going to go ahead and say it – it rather sounds like a veiled, desperate attempt at getting you to babysit for free.
Now, we won’t deny that being around little tykes can potentially help a woman prepare mentally for imminent motherhood. But, aside from that, there isn’t much else. Sorry.
If you’re looking for some serious fertility boosting advice, don’t waste your time with old wives’ tales. Instead, try your hand at some genuine methods at giving your fertility that extra push. Some of which you just may not have encountered before:
1. Get Your Blood Pumping And Muscles Moving
A higher than normal body fat level can trigger your body into overproducing certain hormones, which can subsequently disrupt the process of ovulation. This could lead you to ovulate less frequently and have an irregular cycle, all of which could hinder your chances of getting pregnant.
According to most doctors, exercising is the best solution for maintaining a healthy weight. Just remember not to go overboard though, because having too little body fat also leads to a lower production of hormones essential for ovulating.
2. Give Your Diet A Fertility Boosting Makeover
A well nourishing diet can actually boost your chances of conceiving – no kidding. Just ensure that you have the recommended amounts of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin C in your daily diet and you’re good to go! Deficiencies of the aforementioned nutrients have been associated with less frequent ovulation in women, as well as a higher risk of suffering a miscarriage. Hence, consult your doctor on whether a multivitamin is for you and always remember to include lots of protein, such as fish, meat beans, and low-fat dairy in your meals.
3. Ditch The Douche
By now it’s well known that douching eradicates the protective, necessary bacteria residing in your vagina, which could inversely increase your risk for vaginal infections, like bacterial vaginosis. If this condition is allowed to proceed untreated, it can increase a woman’s risk for preterm labor, suffering a miscarriage, and also infertility (2). Sorry ladies, but the douche is just more trouble than it’s worth.
4. Make Your Sexual Encounters Count
Get familiar with your menstrual cycle. There are only a few days during the course of your month when you actually have a chance of getting pregnant (read: fertility window). The rest of the days, in terms of conception, are just pointless. So, if you and your partner are actively trying to conceive, start calculating when your fertility window will strike, which is usually the day of ovulation and the 4-5 days preceding it. Track your cycle with a helpful online ovulation calendar or simply download a menstrual cycle tracking app on your smartphone. Not only will this help you in figuring out the actual length of your cycle, but it will also save you the hassle of complicated math and send you awesome ovulation day notifications. Win-win for sure.
5. Don’t Forget To Be Chill
Stress can really put a damper on your fertility. A study conducted by American researchers found that from the 401 couples that were actively trying to conceive, the women who happened to possess the highest levels of salivary alpha-amylase, a well-known stress biomarker, also possessed a 29% lower chance of getting pregnant when compared to women with normal or lower levels of alpha-amylase (3). Hence, get rid of any potential stress through daily relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation. Only positive vibes, please.
When trying to get pregnant, you will receive a lot of well-intentioned, but bizarre advice. Before agreeing to or dismissing any, consult your doctor. You could always strike gold or else you and your physician can have a good laugh. No harm, no foul.