Understanding the link between your lifestyle and fertility is essential when you’re looking to conceive. Everything that influences our hormones also touches on ovulation — and without ovulation, pregnancy isn’t going to happen.
It turns out that our day-to-day choices, from the pills we pop to the food on our plates, can have a significant impact on our hormones. Here’s a breakdown of five key lifestyle factors that could be affecting your ovulation.
Nutrition and Caloric Intake
It might not be the first thing on your mind, but not eating enough can lead to anovulation — when ovulation doesn’t occur. It’s logical when you think about it: pregnancy requires a substantial amount of energy.
If your body senses a shortage, it may conserve energy by not ovulating. To boost your chances of conceiving, eating a balanced diet with sufficient calories, including a good amount of healthy fats, is essential.
The right amount of exercise does wonders for our overall health, but its effects on ovulation are nuanced. While moderate exercise can be beneficial for hormone balance, going overboard might not be.
Excessive exercise, especially without adequate nutrition, may actually increase the risk of not ovulating. Keeping your workouts to about 30 to 60 minutes a day is the sweet spot if you’re trying to conceive.
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can significantly alter hormone levels and influence ovulation. Hormonal contraceptives, for example, work by maintaining steady hormone levels that prevent ovulation.
On the flip side, medications like metformin may help stimulate more regular ovulation in those with conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Consult your doctor to understand how your current medications could be affecting your fertility and to explore options that might assist in conception.
Beyond the amount of food you eat, specific nutrients play a role in ovulation and fertility. You’re likely familiar with folate or folic acid, a critical B vitamin for DNA synthesis, which is crucial during the early stages of pregnancy.
Adequate folate intake before and during early pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects. Research also indicates that a multivitamin with folic acid might lower the risk of ovulatory infertility by up to 40%.
Other nutrients, like iron, vitamin D, and marine omega-3 fatty acids, have been linked to better ovulation rates. Always get tailored advice from healthcare professionals before starting any supplements.
Blood Sugar Levels
Diet also affects fertility through the regulation of blood sugar levels. A large-scale study observed that individuals with higher blood sugar took longer to conceive, even if they didn’t have diabetes and their levels were within the normal range.
Insulin, which helps control blood sugar, is closely intertwined with reproductive hormones. A diet high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can disrupt insulin levels and, subsequently, disturb the hormones responsible for ovulation. Keeping blood sugar levels balanced is key, as elevated levels can make conceiving more challenging.
Adopting a lifestyle that supports healthy ovulation is a proactive step towards improving your fertility. It’s about finding balance in your diet, exercise routine, and managing medications and nutrients under the guidance of a healthcare provider. If you’re navigating the journey to parenthood, remember that small changes can make a big difference. For additional resources or support, visit MakeAmom.com.