How Can I Improve My Egg Quality?
You’ve decided you’re ready to get pregnant! Every time you hear a baby cry or see your friends’ babies smile and coo, you melt with longing. You’ve talked it over with your partner and you’re both on board. Or, if you’re going to be a solo parent, you’ve decided you’re ready to start!
So, you are ready to start charting your basal body temperature and testing for ovulation with an ovulation predictor kit. You’re having intercourse every other day around ovulation. If you’re a solo parent or if you’re partnered with somebody who cannot provide sperm, you’re ready to start looking for a sperm donor. You’ve even started a secret Pinterest board for all the adorable baby clothes, nursery ideas, and baby announcement ideas.
What can you do to help your body improve egg quality quickly? (Note, this is also a good guide to producing high-quality sperm!)
Moderate exercise 3-5 times per week is ideal. Walking, swimming, biking, yoga, anything that will raise your heart rate, improve circulation, and boost your mood, because, let’s face it, we’re all under a lot of stress right now. Some research shows that the ‘wrong’ kind of exercise is detrimental to fertility – exercise that’s too intense keeps your heart rate above 150 beats per minute, intense abdominal crunches are best to avoid for now.
An organic whole-foods diet that limits sugar, alcohol, and processed foods are healthier for your entire system. If you notice that certain foods don’t make you feel good, stop eating them (at least for now). Inflammation is not good for reproductive health. In general, it’s easier on your digestive system to eat cooked, warm foods. Cold food and drinks impair digestion, so lay off those while you’re trying.
But, from a Chinese medicine perspective, it’s also important how you eat. It is recommended that you eat ‘restfully,’ which means not reading, working, or scrolling on your phone while you’re eating. Sit down at regular intervals, eat nourishing food, and chew it well. It’s important that you not be stressed while you eat, because stress will weaken the digestive system. Make mealtimes a respite from the busyness and stress of the day.
Take plastic out of the kitchen. Certain chemicals in plastic containers can leech into food and impact fertility. Don’t store food in plastic. Don’t heat food in plastic. Note that as soon as you start heating plastic, it starts leeching these chemicals. That means, as soon as you put it in the dishwasher or put hot food into it, these hazardous-to-fertility chemicals will be released into your food and your home.
To prevent this, use glass, stainless steel, and silicone containers instead. It’s also important to choose cookware that isn’t coated in plastic-based non-stick coating. There are great non-plastic alternatives: cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramic cookware are all good options. Learn about seasoning and caring for your cookware so it’s almost as non-stick as the plastic-coated kind.
There are a lot of opinions on which supplements are best for fertility. It’s really a good idea to consult with a specialist who can tailor a supplement program for you as an individual. Some of the most commonly used supplements for fertility are (in no particular order) CoQ10 (ubiquinol), melatonin, inositol (a B-vitamin), DHEA, N-acetyl cysteine, Omega 3s. It’s a good idea to take a high-quality prenatal vitamin when you’re trying to get pregnant, too.
There is good research that shows improvement in pregnancy outcomes when acupuncture and other traditional East Asian medicine modalities are included. Acupuncture can help you de-stress, balance hormones, improve digestion so you can absorb your supplements better, improve sleep, and reduce inflammation–all helpful for improving egg quality. It’s also good at helping regulate menstrual cycles so they’re regular, not too heavy, and not painful.
All this can feel like a lot, but it’s well worth it for your health and the health of your future baby. Start trying to make these adjustments slowly, one at a time. With every change you make, your body will get healthier, your egg quality will improve, and you’ll be that much closer to getting pregnant. If you want more customized information, contact Portland Acupuncture Studio, or your local acupuncturist, for a consultation. Good luck!