Over the last number of months, we’ve certainly learned a thing or two about the wide range of contraceptives that are available on the market today.
Now, we are going to continue our focus on health by studying a wide range of different illnesses and ailments.
Last week, we went under the covers to find out about sex during pregnancy. This week we have caught up with fertility expert Declan Keane for tips on improving your natural fertility as you get older.
This week, the HSE’s Perinatal Statistic Report revealed that in 2013, the average age of an Irish woman giving birth was 32.1 years, up from an average age of 30.8 years in 2004.
Of these, 32% were aged 35 years or older, and from that premise, we caught up with the experts to see what steps women can take to help improve their natural fertility.
First of all…
You should try to treat getting pregnant like you would any sort of improvement to your general health and wellbeing. The state of your reproductive organs are just as dependent as your heart, lungs or liver on what you do to your body.
Carrying excess body weight can reduce your fertility so it is advisable to follow a sensible diet combined with a structured regular exercise regime.
Kick the habit
Smoking and over-enthusiastic alcohol consumption can drastically reduce a man's sperm quality and quantity over the long term. It can also lead to menstrual cycle irregularities in women, and damage egg quality.
Untreated STIs can affect fertility in the long term. While it might not necessarily be an easy subject to broach with your partner, it’s worth being honest about your sexual history. Often, a simple course of medication will clear up all but the most serious infections.
Keeping track of your menstrual cycle is perhaps one of the best ways to increase your chances of conception.
It is easy to miscalculate the day of ovulation and sex in the immediate run-up to ovulation is more likely to lead to conception. Remember that sperm can survive for a number days in the female reproductive tract.
How often should you have sex?
There's no real rule as to how often you should have sex to improve your natural conception chances. Some couples try for a baby every day, others every second day. Twice a week at least is optimal.
Find ways to relax
Trying for a baby can be immensely stressful for both man and woman, leading to stress, anxiety and even depression, which in turn, may lower your chances of success.
While it's easier said than done, you and your partner should try to find ways to unwind and relax. Pursue your hobbies and enjoy the outdoors.
The key thing to remember is that sex is fun, not a chore. If you treat your baby-making like a chore, you could be doing more harm than good by putting extra pressure on both you and your partner.
Everyone is different, and factors or combinations of factors that work for others may not work for you.
Thankfully, many troubles with conception can be dealt with naturally, through simple lifestyle adjustments.
As always, if you are experiencing any issues or need more advise, pay a visit to your local GP.
Declan Keane is a Senior Clinical Embryologist and fertility expert at ReproMed fertility clinic, based in Dublin and Kilkenny.
At Conceive with Ease in Dublin, Aisling Killoran will help you relax your mind in preparation for helping you conceive and having a baby naturally or if you are on a journey with repromed that requires IVF, IUI then Aisling will help you to achieve a positive mind set for this too