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By Claudia Spahr, author of Right Time Baby–The Complete Guide To Later Motherhood, published by Hay House, UK.

It’s a widely held belief that getting pregnant when you’re older is harder.

However, it’s not necessarily so and there’s a lot you can do improve your chances of conceiving naturally. Key factors are diet, lifestyle, stress and mind-set. The food we eat and the thoughts we think directly affect how healthy and fertile we are.

First of all – and this may seem like a no-brainer – to get pregnant the ‘old fashioned way’ you need to be having plenty of sex. Vaginal fluid gets stretchy and transparent, a bit like raw egg white, shortly before ovulation occurs. This is the ideal environment for sperm to survive and swim forwards in. If your periods are weak or irregular try complimentary therapy such as acupuncture, reflexology, fertility massage or herbs (Agnus Cactus or Dong Quai) to help regulate the hormones and get blood flowing.

Then it’s a good idea to look at you and your partner’s diet. Processed food, white flour, fizzy drinks, alcohol, too much non-organic meat, sugar and dairy, especially low-fat dairy are no good for baby-making. All these products produce over-acidity in the body, upsetting its natural alkaline state and the fine hormonal balance needed for healthy conception.

The latest research even shows that the right diet can influence egg quality to avoid miscarriage and Down syndrome because it’s so important how the cells are nourished during fertilisation. Too many toxins will affect both egg and sperm and impair healthy cell division. You should abstain from stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes, as they’ve been clearly linked to lower conception rates. Also try to avoid pesticides, environmental toxins, synthetic hormones and water additives.

To highlight these points there are some interesting studies conducted on fertility in the UK. A preconception care programme involving improvements to diet and lifestyle, enabled 89% of couples to give birth, including 81% of those who had suffered infertility for up to ten years. There were no miscarriages in the first test group and less than 3% in the 2nd. Most of the participants in the study were over 33, many were over 40 and some even over 50.

A good detox at least 3 months before you start trying to get pregnant is highly advisable. A week or two of juice fasting is effective but simply eating lots of organic fruit and vegetables and cutting out junk food will help cleanse the body. Make sure you eat lots of live foods (as opposed to processed food) that are nutrient-dense, rich in essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants.

It’s important to get plenty of B vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Zinc is vital for men because it’s a mineral found in very high concentrations in sperm.

It’s also important to stay well hydrated and breathe deeply – especially into the sacral area. Breathing in plenty of fresh air will flood the cells with oxygenated blood. Go for walks in nature and practice some low-impact exercise like yoga, tai chi and qi gong. Natural light is also necessary for healthy conception. New studies link lack of vitamin D to infertility in men.

Stress can be a major factor to inhibit pregnancy – especially if getting pregnant has become an obsession. The hormones released by stress, adrenalin and cortisol, are detrimental because they upset the reproductive hormones. There are various ways to combat stress and subconscious anxiety. Try relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy.

We’re finally beginning to understand the profound effects belief has on our system. Our health is to a fair extent determined by our thoughts and emotions. By believing you can and will get pregnant when the time is right and trusting this belief means you’re more likely to manifest a pregnancy. And don’t forget the spiritual aspect of bringing a child into the world. Let the love flow and believe in miracles.

Notes for this blog:
Claudia Spahr is a journalist, author and speaker on women’s health who gave birth to her two children after 40. She is the author of Right Time Baby – The Complete Guide to Later Motherhood, published by Hay House UK. www.claudiaspahr.com (http://www NULL.claudiaspahr NULL.com).

Here’s a link to the Foresight studies:

http://www.foresight-preconception.org.uk/research/research-figues-2002-2009.aspx

9 Responses to Boost Your Fertility Naturally

  1. Lylas says:

    I completely understand that improving your eating habits, reducing stress and quiting smoking would improve fertility at any age. However, with all the gulit that can be associated with infertility, its tough to think that indulging in a chocolate bar or sandwich on white bread could have blown my chances for conceiving…

    • Claudia Spahr (http://www NULL.claudiaspahr NULL.com) says:

      Of course Lylas, I completely hear what you’re saying. Not much fun being so ‘clean’. It’s also important to enjoy and have certain indulgences. In fact, as we discussed in the summer expert forum, it seems that quite a few of us got pregnant exactly when we had that extra glass of wine or let our hair down. It’s about what you do regularly that makes the difference.

      Chocolate, however shouldn’t be a problem, especially cacao-based chocolate because it contains a chemical theobromine which has many beneficial effects on the heart muscle and blood vessels. Chocolate is particularly good during pregnancy. Research published in the August 2010 issue of the Annals of Epidemiology suggests that chocolate may be good for both gestational hypertension (GH) and for preeclampsia.

      White bread is no big deal if you don’t consume regularly. It’s just very acidic and mucus-forming, which isn’t so great for the body’s natural balance.

  2. Annie Dryden says:

    Thank you for the blog post. My husband and I aspire to follow the above guidelines in our lives and do pretty well most of the time. Our last two pregnancies were conceived naturally after 42 (1st miscarriage at 10wk, and 2nd, conceived five months later sadly was a still birth at 37weeks due to cord accident. my age 43 at delivery).

    I am curious about UK’s take on supplementing Melatonin. I understand it is prescription in European countries and OTC here.

    There are not a lot of studies available online but with declining levels after about age 40, there is the suggestion in some research of extending fertility by maintaining before midlife levels. There has been promising research with regards to IVF successes using melatonin.

    I am also aware of the studies stating ovulation could be inhibited or the supplement could be used as a birth control method- the latter study used very high doses of the supplement (75-300mg!!).

    Does the author have any familiarity with the use of melatonin across the Big Pond where advanced maternal age fertility is concerned?
    Thank you!

    • Claudia Spahr (http://www NULL.claudiaspahr NULL.com) says:

      There are conflicting reports on melatonin and fertility. On the one hand melatonin intake has been shown to improve pregnancy rates slightly and restore menstruation in perimenopausal women. On the other hand it has been shown to lower FSH level and impair fertility. Some would even advise that melatonin supplementation should be avoided in women who are pregnant or attempting pregnancy because high levels may increase the risk of developmental disorders.

      In many European countries melatonin can’t even be bought over the counter. When it comes to supplements I tend to be cautious. I ask why are they being taken and then see how the effect can be achieved naturally.

      Melatonin is a master control hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body’s daily rhythm of sleep and waking time. Melatonin also controls menstruation which is why it’s important for reproduction.

      Since the dawn of electricity we’re more exposed to bright light after dark, so this means our body has decreased its melatonin production. Working in offices with artificial lighting for long hours can also impair the secretion of Melatonin.

      Rather take a big dose of supplements I would get as much natural light as possible during the daytime, ideally sunlight (sunlight is especially important for men because studies link the lack of vitamin D to infertility). The blue component in white light basically affects the flow of melatonin levels. Also make sure your room is completely dark when you sleep, remove all electrical devices and illuminated alarm clocks. Instead open the curtains on full moon nights or put on a small light during those nights to help regulate your cycle. Try TCM to boost menstruation and liver energy. There are also specific yoga exercises you can do to stimulate the pineal gland. If you can avoid flouride in tap water, Teflon and toothpaste. Flouride is a neurotoxin and it’s been shown to calcify the pineal gland.

      It may seem like a longer way round than taking the pills but I think it will provide the better foundation for a healhy pregnancy.

      Wishing you all the best and a beautiful baby.

  3. Let There Be Light » Claudia Spahr (http://www NULL.claudiaspahr NULL.com/?p=619) says:

    [...] a US older mum site I sometimes guest blog and answer questions on, I was recently asked about high dosage melatonin [...]

  4. Things to consider if you want to get pregnant | eIVF network | fertility news (http://eivf NULL.net/blog/2012/04/26/things-to-consider-if-you-want-to-get-pregnant/) says:

    [...] fertility & health, authored Right Time Baby – The Complete Guide to Later Motherhood.  Here, she outlines some things to consider if you’re trying to get [...]

  5. Top Over-40 Mom Site Re-launches With Extreme Makeover « A Child After 40 (http://achildafter40 NULL.wordpress NULL.com/2012/11/13/top-over-40-mom-site-re-launches-as-achildafter40-com/) says:

    [...] or over 40 who are trying to conceive naturally or via assisted reproductive technologies [...]

  6. Lisa says:

    I am 42 and my partner is 50. We conceived naturally but unfortunately lost the baby at 7 weeks. We will be trying again in about 2 months. We both don’t drink, smoke, eat pretty healthy. And while my partner goes to the gym, I am active taking our little dog for a walk. We are just taking vitamins, and with a little bit of hope and prayers I am sure we will conceive again. I am happy that we conceived naturally. Any tips for us? Baby dust to all!

    • deepali says:

      lisa u r the best example for all women including me. i am 29 years old..trying to concieve since last 2 years but no positive reports. i went to all docters and all said to me dat my all reports are perfect.i dnt even thing where is the weak point.i am totally disappointed.
      if u have any suggetion kindly share with me…..

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