Looking out for your future fertility
The lifestyle choices you make can not only impact your general health, but they can also play a crucial role in protecting your fertility. There are lots of evidence-based studies that show how diet and lifestyle can directly impact fertility health, not only supporting conception and preparation for egg or embryo preservation and IVF, but also for your baby’s development.
Chances are you may not want a baby right now, but someday you might.
There are lots of ways you can take care of your general health which can also improve your endometriosis symptoms and your chances of conception, but you can also seek help from your GP and medical team.
Keep on top of your sexual health
One of the most important things you can do to protect your future fertility is to practise safe sex and attend regular screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Anything left untreated can cause issues with fertility health. The good news is most STI’s can be managed with antibiotics and other forms of medications, so be sure to test regularly and stay safe to catch things early.
Get familiar with your menstrual cycle
Understanding your menstrual cycle can help you recognise where your most fertile days fall. When you’re aware of the signs of ovulation (such as changes in cervical mucus) it can help you identify the right time to engage in sexual intercourse. Some people might find tracking their periods using a menstrual tracking app helpful in monitoring for changes in their cycles and timing sexual intercourse.
If you are experiencing irregular periods or bleeding for long periods of time, it may be difficult to understand where your most fertile days fall. If you experience painful intercourse, it may not always be possible to engage in sexual intercourse regularly. It’s a good idea to seek advice from your GP in conjunction with a fertility specialist and your endometriosis specialist.
Consider your future fertility
If you are worried about the effects endometriosis may have on your ability to conceive, it is important to tell your GP and medical team. Fertility testing can give you an idea of your ovarian reserve along with your hormone levels. Your GP and medical team can work with you by putting a treatment plan in place if you need it. You may be advised to consider starting a family sooner than you had planned or to preserve your fertility. This is to avoid the possibilities of endometriosis progressing and increasing risk of experiencing difficulties later on.
Following a healthy anti-inflammatory or Mediterranean diet may not only help reduce symptoms of endometriosis, but it can also play a crucial role in fertility health. Ensuring you are at your healthiest whilst trying to get pregnant is important, but it’s just as important to remain healthy before embarking on your journey to motherhood. Nutrition can have a huge impact on fertility and being underweight or overweight and overindulging in foods such as trans fats, has been proven to disrupt ovulation, therefore a good balance diet consisting of protein, healthy fats and slow releasing carbs will ensure your body has everything it needs to remain healthy, ready for when you decide the time is right.
Maintain a healthy weight
Your main priority should be to ensure your daily nutritional needs, and calorie intake are met to remain at a healthy weight in the normal range (BMI 18 to 24.9) and keep yourself feeling well. Carrying our regular, moderate exercise can not only help to keep you active and stay in shape, but exercise can also benefit by lowering stress levels, which is great for fertility health.
You should aim to consume a minimum of 2 litres of water per day to really ensure your body is doing its job to flush the toxins and cleanse your systems. Why not try adding ingredients like mint leaves, a slice of lemon, lime, berries, or oranges to keep your water interesting.
Inspect your medication
Some medications used to target pain may interfere with fertility, especially when taken for long periods of time or around the time of ovulation. Take time to talk with your GP and medical team about the effects these medications can have on your future fertility and carefully review the medications you’re taking to be sure.
Seek medical advice
Before you officially start trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to seek advice from your GP, in conjunction with a fertility specialist along with your endometriosis specialist. It’s also important to discuss prenatal vitamins such as Folic acid, which helps protect against birth defects such as Spina Bifida. Other prenatal vitamins such as, B12, zinc and vitamin D can also play crucial roles in your pregnancy journey.
Keep stress to a minimum
Stress can influence not only your mind, but it can also have a negative effect on your body. When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases a hormone called Cortisol and adrenaline. These are known for hindering the release of hormones, in particular a hormone called luteinising (LH) along with the follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) which can lead to suppressing ovulation by reducing ovarian activity. Try to reduce tension and anxiety. There are lots of relaxation techniques you can try to help you find your calm place. You can find these throughout our website in our ‘support for you’ section.
Express your feelings
Talking honestly about your worries and concerns is important for everyone. If you are finding it difficult opening up and telling those closest what is bothering you, why not join an online or a local support group where you can connect with others going through similar experiences, helping you feel less alone.
Say no to smoking and vaping
Smoking is widely known for flooding the body with toxic chemicals which can not only damage the DNA of your eggs, but it can also interfere with hormone production and fertilisation. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to several defects, from low birth weight, premature delivery, cleft lip/palate, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and ADD (attention deficit disorder).
Smoking has also been linked to ectopic pregnancies (when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, most commonly inside one of the fallopian tubes), and miscarriage.
A high caffeine intake has been linked to interfering with conception, caffeine is also known for increasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Try limiting caffeine as much as you possibly can. Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, fizzy and energy drinks.
Listening to your body and knowing when to rest is important, particularly around the time of your period and ovulation. Try avoiding staying up late and ensuring you’re getting enough rest.