(Adapted from The Tao of Fertility by Daoshing Ni, D.O.M., L.Ac., Ph.D., Dipl.C.H. and Dana Herko)
Here are eight areas of your life that you can work on to enhance the likelihood of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Active and passive smoking increase the time it takes to get pregnant, increase the loss of ovarian follicles, bring on earlier menopause, increase the odds of miscarriage and increase genetic defects in babies. In men, smoking is associated with decreased sperm count, motility, shape, and function.
Consistently getting eight hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep per night is essential to optimal fertility. Good sleep is not beneficial just for the body but also for your hormones and reproductive health. If possible, go to bed no later than 10:00 p.m., with thirty to sixty minutes of relaxation before bedtime.
Reduce Work and Work-Related Stress
Your body detects if you are under a lot of work stress and reduces your chances of getting pregnant. It’s the body’s way of protecting you. If possible, aim for no more than a forty-hour work week with a maximum one-hour commute to minimize stress and maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
Manage Stress about Getting Pregnant
It is not always possible to eradicate all the stress associated with trying to get pregnant, but you can manage it better. The first step is to have a plan, especially when it comes to fertility treatment. Your doctors can help you devise a plan of action. Develop a group of close friends or relatives who you can talk to on a regular basis.
Foster Good Nutrition and Health
The key to good fertility is to consume a nutritious balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Do not skip meals. Chew well, and do not rush through meals. Eat plenty of green vegetables, fruit, and foods that contain fiber. Drink plenty of water and avoid sweets, alcohol, and caffeine.
When we are closer with family, friends, or pets, this can increase our sense of well-being and increase fertility potential. Spend more time with your partner, and socialize more with friends (without sacrificing your sleep).
A serene natural environment such as a park, a beach, or the mountains can provide a wonderfully soothing healing power. Take more time for vacations and relaxation in nature to rejuvenate and refresh your body and soul. This can increase your vitality and enhance your fertility potential.
Practice Visualization, Affirmation, and Meditation
Positive thinking brings good energy to your body. A relaxed body will be more fertile than a tense body. Check out the many different books and CDs on meditation techniques and relaxation in your local bookstore. Incorporate daily qi gong and meditation exercises (you can find some simple exercises in The Tao of Fertility).
For more information, check out the book The Tao of Fertility. You can also make an appointment with one of the practitioners at the Tao of Wellness to help you assess your fertility potential and devise a practical plan for conceiving using Traditional Chinese Medicine.