Planning for a new child can be both exciting and scary, but if you and your spouse are ready to begin trying for a baby, you want to ensure your body is as prepared and healthy as possible. Modern medicine has proven that both mother and father need to be physically healthy and sound in order for fertilization to occur. If one partner is fertile and the other has infertility issues, you're less likley to successfully form and implant a healthy embryo.
One of the most important things you’ll hear when trying for a child is “Your sperm count needs to be high.” What is a sperm count? Sperm count is the number of average sperm per cubic centimeter per ejaculation. In other words, the more sperm you have available, the more likely your genetic code will reach the fallopian tubes and fertilize an egg. Most men have about 120 to 350 million sperm per cubic centimeter. Low sperm count starts below 40 million. Many factors contribute to low sperm count, including exposure to everyday toxins in drugs, cigarette smoke, excessive alcohol, and pollution. Modern exposure to inorganic and harmful materials, such as pesticides, plastics, and bleach, also reduce the quality of semen. Do your best to reduce your exposure to such toxins by doing some of the following:
- Use glass containers to hold or store food
- Use metal or wooden utensils in place of plastic
- Avoid cigarette smoke
- Eat organic (food not exposed to pesticides or injected with growth hormones)
- Avoid too much alcohol
- Avoid too much caffeine
Sperm is also produced in the testicles, meaning healthy testicles will produce healthier sperm. One of the reasons they hang outside the body is to keep them cooler. Avoid overheating your testicles by wearing loose underwear and by staying away from hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms, which can lower sperm count.
Healthy ovaries will increase your likelihood of conceiving. A study from Harvard School of Public Health found women who ate foods higher in trans fats, animal proteins, and carbs were likelier to have ovary issues. Improving your physical health can be as easy as improving your diet:
- Eat more vegetable protein (beans and nuts) instead of meat
- Avoid fish (particularly raw fish, as it has high mercury levels)
- Avoid excessive alcohol
- Avoid too much caffeine
Your body is also on a cycle, meaning you’re more or less fertile depending on the time of month. When you ovulate, usually around days 10 to 17 of your cycle, you’re at a time when fertilization is more likely. This is the time when your body is the most open to conception.
What Else Can I Do?
Whether you’re a future mother or father, having a fit body will often be a marker for a better reproductive system. Having a healthy weight, therefore, will increase your chances for fertilization. Being too underweight or too overweight is already stressful on the body. Maintaining a good BMI will often shorten the length of time necessary for conception. Eating healthy organic food, avoiding excessive chemical exposure, and avoiding cigarette smoke will also give your body a needed boost.
During this time, both partners should have regular sex. Don’t save all sexual activity for the few days a month when ovulation occurs. Such partial celibacy puts too much pressure on both partners to “get it right.” Likewise, having a daily schedule for sex can put on just as much pressure. Find a schedule that is both enjoyable and free from expectations. Additionally, if you use lubricant during sex, make sure it has no spermicidal properties. Many commercial water-based lubricants can inhibit sperm motility (its ability to move forward).
If you want to learn more about how to increase your chances of conception, contact us at the Boca Raton Fertility Center to make an appointment.