I read something the other day that said foods that resemble part of your anatomy are actually very beneficial for that particular body part. There are a lot of fruits that look our reproductive organs so it totally makes sense that they will be important for fertility.
A study that was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in Lisbon, found that eating fruit could boost the chance of having a baby. Whilst these succulent little buds can help improve fertility in both men and women, it seems men are ‘lazier’ when it comes to improving their diet than women, so get your man to up his fruit intake.
Fruits are great sources of Vitamin C, which are important to sperm and egg health due to their antioxidant properties, which attach to and remove free radicals that can cause damage to our bodies. But eating a wide variety of fruit will also keep you topped up with lycopene, folic acid and Vitamin B6, which are important when you’re trying to conceive.
There are many, many fruits that you can add to your daily diet but these are my top five fruits for fertility. Eat at least two portions a day for 90 days before trying to conceive to make a difference to your egg and sperm quality.
I’ve just had my third cycle of IUI, or intrauterine insemination. My first attempt was nine months ago, shortly after I miscarried and was raring to get pregnant again as soon as possible. We went through two cycles, both unsuccessful and then decided to go back to traditional methods for a while as I was finding it difficult balancing the treatments with work and just found the whole process a bit mechanical.
Nearly one year later and we’re back on it. If you’re not familiar with the procedure, you might be wondering, what is IUI? My husband, rather romantically, calls it turkey basting. Essentially it is a way of getting the little swimmers closer to the target. The doctor takes a sample of your partner’s semen, washes it to make it more concentrated, then inserts it in to your uterus through a thin catheter. This increases the chances of the sperm getting to the fallopian tubes. The rest is down to nature. It’s not for everyone, but if you are struggling to conceive it may be an option you want to consider.
I’ve put together a list of a few useful things you might want to know before you try IUI.
I’ve talked about the benefits of steak on fertility before. It’s a great source of L-arginine, which can improve circulation and in turn boost egg and sperm health. It’s also a good way to get your vitamin B6 (especially if it’s grass-fed beef), which can help to lengthen your luteal phase and increase cervical mucus. My doctor has advised me to eat red meat twice a week so Friday’s have now become steak night!
I’ve paired this steak with a bright, fresh, raw Asian-style salad which is packed full of Vitamin C from the red pepper, mango and lime juice. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for both men and women’s fertility. Vitamin C is said to improve hormone levels in women, while it improves sperm quality and protects sperm from DNA damage, which can help to reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems.
Late on a Sunday afternoon, my husband said to me “you should read this article on pregnancy anxiety – I think it will resonate with you”.
Now hang on a minute, I’m not even pregnant yet – how is this going to be relevant to me? Rowan Martin speaks of the intense paranoia she experienced during her pregnancy – after a “missed miscarriage” with her first pregnancy she became, understandably, anxious about what might happen to her baby when she was expecting again. Her fear took over and she became obsessed with monitoring her baby, even going to the extreme of taking more than 100 pregnancy tests within five weeks and spending nearly £2,000 on private clinics, just to check her baby was still growing.
Whilst my situation is not the same, there are certainly elements of Rowan’s story that I can empathise with, even during the process of trying to get pregnant. When things don’t go to plan, you feel like your body has let you down – how can you trust it again?
So I did something bold today. I resigned from my job.
I don’t have another job to go to and I haven’t really started looking, but I decided that if there’s ever a time in my life that I can justify having some ‘me time’, it’s now.
The year is nearly over and we still haven’t been able to conceive again. Every month when my fertile period comes round something is happening that stresses me out. A crazy week of back-to-back meetings, late nights, weekend events, deadlines, pitches. That is the nature of my job, and something I’ve really enjoyed about it in the past. When ovulation comes round though, it’s hard stay focused on what really matters.
After my IUI treatment I started reading up about what you should and shouldn’t do to get the best results. Most of what I read agreed that you can carry on life as normal, just take it easy for a couple of days after the procedure. But one thing that kept coming up was eating pineapple.
I thought this might just be an old wives tale, but apparently pineapple – and in particular pineapple core – is loaded with bromelain; or nature’s aspirin. Bromelain helps to thin the blood, which can support the implantation stage as it drives blood to the uterus, and makes the lining stickier, so the fertilized egg can attach.
You have to be careful about when you eat pineapple though. If you eat it before ovulation it can interfere with the acidity in your cervical mucus. It’s recommended to eat it for five days after ovulation, and to avoid it once you have a positive pregnancy test as it can cause mild contractions.
So we’ve decided to start our first cycle of IUI, after another frustrating month.
I’ve been weighing it up in my head since I got my period. Because I know I was able to conceive naturally before, there’s a part of me that feels like I’m giving up. Like I’m not giving my body a fair chance. Like I’m trying to fast track my way through nature’s process. Like I’m cheating.
But I’m just fed up of waiting. I’ve wanted to start a family for so long, and if I can try to speed things up, then why should I wait any longer?
We went to see the doctor this morning. I was paranoid that I wouldn’t be able to do it this month as I had a really light period (I believe a side effect of clomid) but everything looks good. I have two eggs ready to go – one on each side. In fact, they’re so ready that we have to do the treatment sooner than I was expecting – tomorrow.