Women's fertility enhancers can include foods, vitamins, herbs, and a host of prescription and over-the-counter medications. These therapies help many women conquer their inability to conceive. Deciding which ones are right for you, however, may take careful consideration.
Issues With Infertility
There is much to do when preparing for a baby. After the nursery is painted, and the crib is assembled, some couples discover conceiving is not always the easy part. Some cases of infertility are a result of heredity, while others may be due to health conditions. Over 6 million American women of child-bearing age have issues with infertility (unable to become pregnant after 12 consecutive months of unprotected sex or after six consecutive months if 35 years and older). An estimated 7.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 have used infertility treatments and services.
Women's Fertility Enhancers
A healthy lifestyle is important when trying to conceive. The benefits of diet, exercise, and stress management can go a long way in enhancing fertility, though sometimes these factors alone are not enough to advance conception. They are definitely worth the time and minimal expense they may require before you explore and move on to other options.
Diet and Weight Loss
A healthy diet is critical to managing and preventing conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, insomnia, and general aches and pains. Losing a mere 10 percent of your body fat can increase your energy and mobility. In addition, obesity is linked to multiple medical problems including infertility, and it relates directly to ovulatory dysfunction. Weight loss, however, can help increase pregnancy rates and decrease the rate of miscarriage in pregnant women.
Foods to Enhance Fertility
While weight loss should be the goal for women who are obese, a healthy diet should be the goal for all women, specifically those who are attempting to conceive. The following foods can improve your diet and enhance fertility.
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Unprocessed foods (avoid packaged foods like chips, crackers, and ready-to-eat meals)
- Nuts and seeds
Things to Avoid
Caffeine can prevent the absorption of essential vitamins, making caffeinated beverages a poor choice for would-be moms. Other things to avoid are:
- Alcohol, which elevates your prolactin levels and inhibits ovulation
- Tobacco should always be eliminated when dealing with infertility issues
- Unsafe medications, which can hinder fertility
In the past, herbal remedies and natural medicines were the be-all and end-all of medicine. There were no pharmacies, over-the-counter concoctions or prescription medications. Herbs were, and remain, a significant aid in healing and supporting the body. Herbs that might enhance fertility include:
- Chasteberry has been used for thousands of years, to ease menstrual discomfort, stimulate the production of breast milk, reduce acne, and enhance fertility.
- Red raspberry leaf
- False unicorn
- Evening primrose oil
- Red clover
However, these herbs represent an alternative option not scientifically proven to enhance fertility. You should always use caution when adding any herbal treatment to your regimen, as herbs and supplements are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can interact with some medications.
Medications to Enhance Fertility
Medications can help enhance fertility in some women and may successfully treat some conditions that can impede conception. Some women are able to stimulate ovulation with fertility drugs. Fertility drugs can either regulate or induce ovulation in women who have ovulation disorders. These drugs work like natural hormones in the body, but can increase your chances of getting pregnant with multiples. Oral medications carry a lower risk of this occurrence. Injectable drugs carry higher risks and can raise your risks of multiples by about 20 percent. Examples of commonly used fertility enhancing medications include:
- Clomid (Clomiphene) is an oral medication used to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs/follicles.
- Femara (Letrozole) is an oral medication used to stimulate ovulation.
- Glucophage (Metformin) is typically used in women with PCOS to help improve insulin resistance and increase the chances of ovulation.
- Gonal-F, Follistim AQ, Bravelle are examples of gonadotropins which are injected medications to help stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
- Ovidrel (or Pregnyl) is an injection given to help trigger ovulation, otherwise known as the 'trigger shot'.
Over-the-Counter Fertility Enhancers
There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to over-the-counter fertility enhancers. A few of these include:
- PregPrep is a two-step regimen that contains two supplements. The first supplement is Fertilprep which is comprised of chasteberry extract, evening primrose oil, and NAC (N-acetyl cysteine). NAC is an antioxidant and a natural mucolytic which thins and dissolves cervical mucus. The sperm may have the ability to reach the egg easier if the cervical mucus is thin. The second supplement is Vitaprep, which is a preconception vitamin. While this natural supplement claims to help boost fertility, it has not been evaluated by the FDA.
- Conception by Eu Natural is a natural fertility supplement for women. This multi-vitamin also contains the full-spectrum of supporting extracts to help with fertility health and conception. There is also a Conception Men for your partner to take as well.
- Chinese herbs have been used for over 2000 years to treat female reproductive issues including infertility and can be quite effective. One recent study demonstrated how using a natural therapy, Chinese herbal medicine, can manage infertility and help achieve pregnancy.
- Essential oils can also help with infertility issues. They can help with the indirect causes of infertility such as easing stress, regulating hormones, increasing libido, and treating inflammation. The best essential oils to help boost fertility for women include: lavender oil, spearmint oil, eucalyptus oil, orange oil, geranium oil, chamomile oil, and peppermint oil. These can be used aromatically or topically.
Talk to Your Doctor First
A variety of women's fertility enhancers exist today and can be simple and practical approaches to help you reach your pregnancy goal. Talk to your doctor about any herbs, supplements or medications you may find over-the-counter.