Infertility Awareness Week: What can help you conceive

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If you’re having trouble conceiving, you’re not alone — approximately 6.1 million in the U.S., or 10 percent of the population — struggle with infertility, according to the CDC. This is National Infertility Awareness Week, which seeks to raise awareness of this issue with events across the country like seminars, fertility consultations, walks and support groups. Women’s health expert Dr. Donnica L. Moore, a spokeswoman for the Clearblue ovulation test, says that some problems in conceiving can be avoided. She gave us her pre-conception checklist:

Be patient: “Women erroneously think that once they stop taking birth control that, voila! They will become pregnant. It can happen but, generally, the hormones have to settle down.”

Mark your calendar: “There are four or five days when a woman is most likely to conceive. The time of ovulation and a few days before is when couples need to plan to have intercourse. That’s where ClearBlue comes in. It checks the LH surge [a rise in luteinizing hormone, which happens right before ovulation starts].”

Enjoy sex: “Procreational sex is very different to recreational sex and it puts a lot of stress on couples. That stress makes you less likely to want to have sex, and it becomes a vicious cycle.”

What to eat for a baby
“A healthy diet is critical to women seeking to conceive as well as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, says Dr. Victoria Maizes, author of “Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child.” She recommends the following:

Fill up on fish: “Fish are an important part of a healthy diet during preconception and pregnancy,” she says. “Fish not only contain high-quality protein, they’re the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Wild salmon, sardines and herring are the richest dietary sources. Due to mercury contamination, avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel completely, and limit albacore tuna to once a week.”

Opt for organic: “The pesticide residues in conventionally grown vegetables, fruits and meat can distort normal hormonal function and increase the risk that your child could suffer from learning disabilities and childhood cancers.”

Minimize meat: “A nurses’ study [showed] vegetable protein reduces infertility and animal protein increases it. Adding one serving per day of red meat, chicken or turkey increased the risk of ovulatory infertility by nearly one-third. Fish or eggs did not alter the risk.”

Ditch low-fat dairy (really!): “Drinking or eating whole-fat dairy products is associated with a lower risk of infertility. This may be due to the way the hormonal balance shifts when we remove milk fat to make low-fat or nonfat milk products.”

Ponder packaging: “Filter water and use glass or stainless steel containers rather than plastic bottles that are produced with BPA and phthalates — both are endocrine [hormone] disruptors. The liners of most cans contain BPA. Avoid using plastics as food containers; switch to ceramic or glass containers for microwaving and storing food.”


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