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No matter what stage of the baby-making process you’re at, here’s P&b’s definitive guide to getting yourself at your fertility peak.Trying for a baby? Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for a thin blue line. From getting your body in the best shape to conceive to investigating underlying causes that might be hindering your fertility, here’s how to boost your chances of success.
First time round We all know women who got pregnant after a mere week of deciding to start a family, but it’s not unusual for it to take up to a year.
‘Only 27% of couples will conceive in the first month of trying,’ says Dr Gillian Lockwood, spokesperson for the British Fertility Society and medical director of Midland Fertility Services. ‘Around 50-60% will be pregnant within six months and 90% within a year.’ However, rather than just waiting for nature to take its course there are things you can do to help your baby-making endeavours.In the same way that each of the food groups is important for a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby, different nutrients can help get your body to its fertility prime.
>> Keep on top of your health with our health check guide>>The top 10 natural fertility boostersZita West, a London fertility consultant and midwife who runs the UK’s largest integrated reproductive health clinic, says: ‘You need a diet with plenty of protein, fresh fish, carbs, essential fatty acids and fruit and vegetables.’ Get some further tips on preconception health here.
At least 15% of your diet should be protein, anyway. If you’re trying to get pregnant it’s especially important for you and your partner because it helps with healthy egg and sperm production. Just like any other health kick, watch your fat intake, too. Essential fatty acids – omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 – are key to your body’s production of prostaglandins, which help your hormonal balance. Get inventive with recipes involving oily fish, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and olive oil for the best sources of these fatty acids.Check your weight, too. Obesity can cause your ovulation to become sporadic – and you may not regularly release eggs every month. The higher your body mass index (BMI), the less likely you are to conceive naturally. Research from the Netherlands showed that for every increase in BMI unit above 29 – the cut-off for obesity – your chance falls by four per cent. So a woman with a BMI of 35 is 26% less likely to conceive than a woman with a BMI below 29.Next page: More lifestyle changes that can help fertility>>Top tips for pre-conception health>>Essential health checks if you're starting a family
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