Now research is finally proving that there's science behind the age-old wisdom of "Just relax." British and American researchers tracked the fertility and stress levels of 274 British women, ages 18 to 40, who were trying to become pregnant. For six menstrual cycles (or until they conceived), the women used fertility monitors to tell when they were ovulating, then used pregnancy test kits to see if they had become pregnant.
Your lifestyle may influence your general outlook, stress levels, and even your fertility potential.
The use of mind-body therapies in conjunction with conventional treatments for infertility is growing. Mind-body therapies help to ease stress and contribute to overall well-being. Fertility patients who incorporate these therapies into their daily lives often credit them with increasing their fertility potential.
Proper nutrition can greatly increase your odds of getting pregnant. In fact, poor diet and lack of exercise may be the biggest contributor to infertility in the US today. Poor diet and lack of exercise triggers insulin resistance in all of us and this disrupts ovulation, and negatively affects the quality and health of sperm and eggs.
Western medicine is beginning to embrace acupuncture as a positive influence on couples hoping to conceive.
Acupuncture and Fertility Research
In 2008, research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore reviewed a number of randomized controlled trials to find overwhelming results: acupuncture significantly improved pregnancy rates resulting from the embryo transfer process. Even men reap benefits from acupuncture; research published in Fertility and Sterility revealed that the number of sperm increased, and abnormalities in sperm decreased in men receiving five weeks of treatment.
Researchers at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth have found that periodontal disease can have a negative influence on conception by delaying the time it takes to conceive. The study also found impact of gum disease was dependent on the ethnic background of women planning a pregnancy.
When buying a new car, many people look forward to having that ‘new car smell.’ But a study says inhaling that scent could actually fill your body with toxic fumes. Researchers from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., tested dashboards, steering wheels, armrests and seats of more than 200 new cars – and found more than 275 chemicals. The center’s research found these chemicals included brominated flame retardants, which have been linked to thyroid cancer, learning and memory impairment and decreased fertility.
High blood levels of cadmium in women and high levels of lead in males can make it difficult for couples to conceive, new research suggests. Cadmium is a metal that is used in batteries, metal coatings and plastics, but the most common source of cadmium exposure is cigarette smoke. Common sources of exposure to lead in the United States include lead-based paints in older homes, lead-glazed pottery, and contaminated soil and water.
Even though "safe" amounts of alcohol have been debated, in light of two new studies, there's just no question when it comes to drinking alcohol during pregnancy. There is NO safe level of alcohol, and women should just not do it — and that goes for alcohol during fertility treatment as well.
Alcohol and Miscarriage
A recent study from Denmark found that women who drank just two drinks a week had 1.5 times the risk of miscarriage compared with those who didn't drink at all. The researchers surveyed mothers on the amount of alcohol they drank weekly during the first four months of pregnancy.
"The study examined the risk of miscarriage and alcohol consumption in the first trimester," says Brad Miller, M.D., a fertility doctor and founder of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Michigan. "Interestingly they found even one or two drinks per week increased risk for miscarriage by 5 percent. If they consumed two to three drinks per week, there was a 66 percent increased risk for miscarriage, and those consuming four or more drinks per week, the risk of miscarriage doubled."