Your fertility: 5 little things you never knew could be harming it
With as many as one in six couples in Ireland experiencing difficulties conceiving, infertility is becoming a pretty widespread issue.
Struggling to conceive can be heartbreaking, and more often than not, the reasons why some couples face fertility issues are many and often complex.
Age is a major issue, and many experts are speaking out warning women to not leave starting a family so late, and to prioritise children ahead of promotions and other life goals, if a family is something they know they someday will want to have.
However, it is important to know that there are measures we can all take to take care of our reproductive health – eating healthy, exercising, avoiding exposure to prolonged stress being some of the more important and obvious ones.
However, there are also some smaller, surprising maybe, things you might be doing right now that could actually be harming your chances of conceiving.
Are you guilty of these?
1. Not getting enough iodine in your diet
Women who are low in iodine have HALF the chance of conceiving as women who have a healthy level of iodine. Good sources of iodine include organic dairy products, sea vegetables, strawberries and cranberries.
2. Being on your phone late at night
According to research published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility artificial nighttime light exposure can harm both your ability to conceive and fetal development if you are already pregnant.
Late-night light exposure can suppress melatonin production, the "sleep hormone," that's also produced in the reproductive tract and blocks eggs from damaging free radicals, particularly during ovulation.
3. Not looking after your oral health
A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that women who needed fertility treatments had higher levels of gum bleeding and inflammation than those who conceived naturally. "Several studies have indicated that a women's oral health may be related to her reproductive success," says Susan Karabin, D.D.S., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Periodontology.
4. Eating too much red meat
A new Greek study has found that women who eat a Mediterranean diet are more likely to be successful on their IVF journey than women who do not. The researchers found that women who ate a Mediterranean diet six months before beginning IVF were more likely to become pregnant than women who didn't change their diet at all. In other words, eating a plant-based diet with lots of healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocados) and lean protein (such as fish) could help boost your fertility.
5. Drinking soft drinks and diet soft drinks
A recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that drinking one or more sodas a day can reduce you and your partner's fertility. And don't go thinking that diet drinks are any better for you.
A recent British study of 524 patients found a link between artificial sweeteners, such as those used in “diet” sodas, and lower fertility rates, while use of sugar in soft drinks and added to coffee was associated with poorer quality of eggs and embryos.
In fact, one of Britain’s leading fertility experts described the findings as “highly significant”, and warned women not to underestimate the effects of food additives on their likelihood of conception.