by Simone Tennison
For lots of couples, conceiving a baby means tossing out their contraceptives and enjoying a fun night of love-making.
For other couples, getting a baby on board can become a roller coaster of emotions, charts, tests and "obligatory" sex.
We're all familiar with the obvious baby-making tips -- figuring out when you ovulate, having sex shortly before ovulation, and giving conceiving a baby time.
If these activities aren't working for you or you've hit the "wall," these natural tips could help you on your journey!
According to Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD, Pregnancy.org expert and creator of "A Plan to LIVE for," specific foods have been known to actually increase fertility. Peruse the list below to find out more information.
Good fats: Use more unsaturated vegetable oils, extra-virgin olive or canola oil.
Protein: Eat more vegetarian protein, such as beans and nuts and consume less animal protein.
Whole grains: Choose whole grain sources of carbohydrates instead of highly refined carbohydrates.
Iron: Get plenty of iron, especially from non-meat sources.
Take a prenatal vitamin or a multivitamin that contains folic acid and other B vitamins. Taking folic acid before conception could reduce the risk of spina bfida.
Refined carbohydrates which include white flour, white rice, white bread, and white pasta can cause a spike in insulin and blood sugar levels. Women with PCOS might find their symptoms improve when food choices focus on vegetables, whole grains and fruits.
Highly processed foods may be low in the nutrients necessary for maintaining fertility and encouraging pregnancy. Many types of processed foods, like fast food, contain chemicals that could affect your fertility.
Sugared or artificially sweetened sodas: Have decaffeinated tea, water or sparkling waters with natural essence of flavor instead.
Coffee: Studies on fertility and coffee drinking suggest that drinking more than one cup a day reduces a woman's fertility. However men hoping to become fathers might have an extra cup. Some studies suggest that caffeine actually boosts the stamina of sperm.
Recently, scientists believe they have discovered a reason to keep your consumption under four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine affects rhythmic activity in cells like the ones that move the egg along the fallopian tube and down to the uterus.1
Couples who adapt five or more diet and lifestyle changes that are fertility-friendly are 80 percent more likely to conceive than couples who don't adapt any.
Changes that can make a difference include the dietary suggestions above and these additional lifestyle changes:
Exercise: Start an exercise program. If you already exercise, keep it up but not too excessive if you are already quite lean.
Stop smoking. Smoking decreases fertility for both men and women. Plus stopping before you're pregnant means your baby has a healthier environment in the womb and beyond.
Avoiding pesticides and herbicides. Studies suggest these chemicals affect fertility. An unexpected source of exposure is your own lawn and garden.
Reduce indoor air pollution. Try to limit your exposure to chemicals like those found in hair dyes, chemical household cleaners, nail polish remover and paint fumes.
Go organic. Try to purchase organically grown, unsprayed produce. Switch to eating additive-free foods, free range eggs, fresh fish and organically reared meat and poultry where possible.
Cook it yourself and toss out the cans to reduce BPAs and other harmful chemicals from your diet.