USC Fertility

Optimizing Natural Fertility

Identifying the fertile window and making healthy lifestyle choices will help in optimizing natural fertility

If you are having problems conceiving, you are not alone. Infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples in this country. To ensure that patients are optimizing natural fertility, the board certified fertility specialists at USC educate patients on boosting pregnancy chances.

Watch this video about getting ready for pregnancy.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the highest pregnancy rates are seen when a couple has intercourse every one to two days during the fertile window. For women whose menstrual cycles are every 28 days, the fertile window is the six-day time period ending with the day of ovulation which is typically around day 15 or 16. When the menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days, women will ovulate later or earlier.

During the fertile window, try to time intercourse with ovulation by monitoring cervical mucus and using an ovulation predictor kit.  Rely on secretions of cervical mucus instead of using lubricants, which can affect sperm mobility and survival. Mucus becomes increasingly thin and slippery and peaks two to three days before ovulation.

Ovulation predictor kits will detect a rise in the luteinizing hormone that is present before ovulation. Regular monitoring will help you predict and plan for ovulation. No test is perfect to predict exact ovulation. Therefore, the best approach is to have intercourse every other day during the fertile window (cycle day 10-16 for women with 28 day cycles). You can use other predictive tools as an adjuct to adjust the timing each month.

What you eat – and drink – can impact natural fertility 

At USC Fertility, our expert physicians recommend paying attention to what you are consuming before trying to conceive. Some suggestions include:

  • Begin taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.
  • Adopt a diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing helpful antioxidants; whole grains (try to eliminate processed foods); healthy fats like those found in avocados, eggs, nuts and butter; and protein from a variety of sources.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Consider eliminating alcohol and caffeine from your diet. Or, limit your alcohol intake to a very occasional drink and caffeine intake to about onecup of coffee a day or its equivalent.

Adopting a healthy – and balanced – lifestyle will aid in optimizing natural fertility

Adopting a lifestyle that is not only healthy, but balanced, will also help optimize natural fertility. Excesses in three areas – stress, weight and exercise – can impact fertility. Experiencing chronic stress, being overweight (or underweight), or exercising too strenuously can lead to hormone imbalances that result in ovulation issues. Irregular periods can make it more difficult to predict the fertile window, as well as sustain a pregnancy.

To reduce stress, take a daily walk or practice meditation, and make sleep a priority. In moderation, exercise is helpful in producing endorphins that relieve stress and maintaining a weight and body mass index (BMI) that is optimal for pregnancy. Whether you are overweight and need to begin exercising … or vigorous activity is already part of your lifestyle, our team of experienced physicians at USC Fertility can discuss what level of activity is safe for you.

Other proactive steps that will help in optimizing natural fertility include:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals.
  • Review medications and supplements with your fertility specialist or OB/Gyn.

For most couples, adopting a healthy lifestyle, learning how to predict the fertile window and then practicing timed and frequent intercourse will often result in pregnancy.

However, if you are still experiencing infertility, don’t wait to make an appointment at our Los Angeles fertility center. ASRM recommends women under age 35 see a fertility specialist after one year of trying to get pregnant. Women over 35 should make an appointment after six months since fertility begins to decline more rapidly at the age of 35. Contact USC Fertility today.