Giving birth to a baby is not just a moment of joy for a woman, but also a blessing for the couple. This is a moment in time that a woman eagerly looks forward to: motherhood.
Female fertility is the ability of a woman to biologically conceive a child. However, the picture is not as rosy as you think. At times, medical issues crop up that can affect female fertility.
Decrease in Female Fertility: The Reality Check and Precautions
The 1997 Census report of The Population Trends: India shows the total fertility rate declining by almost 42% since the mid 1960s.
The fertility rate of women in India state-wise has a different story to tell. It is below the national average in southern and western states. Uttar Pradesh had a total fertility rate (TFR) of 5.2 in 1993, which is 50% above the national level.
The Registrar General of India came up with the 2013 Sample Registration Survey (SRS) figures which are equally miserable – the Total Fertility Rate in eight Indian States has dropped down to below 2 children per woman.
Dr. P. Arokiasamy, a demographer-cum- Professor at the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai has the following to say to The Hindu “Fertility is declining rapidly, including among the poor and illiterate. At these rates, India will achieve its demographic transition and reach replacement levels as early as 2020 or 2022”.
Problem Areas affecting Female fertility
There are various reasons that contribute to making female fertility a sore issue in women –‘age’ and ‘delayed pregnancy’ being the major causes .
As compared to a younger woman, the eggs in an older woman don’t get fertilised easily. Even if they do, they might not develop in a normal manner. Other reasons affecting female fertility are:
- Episodes that cast a negative effect on ovulation and uterus in a woman.
- Fallopian tube blockage, which is caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or any other abnormality in the fallopian tubes.
- Scar tissue between pelvic organs that have been caused by a surgery done earlier on a woman or infection.
- Endometriosis: A condition in which the tissue lining the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
Boosting Female Fertility – Natural Remedies
You can keep enjoying the privilege of good health and good fertility provided you take ample precautions and care. Here are some tips that will go a long way in reducing your chances of infertility.
1. Watch your weight
Being overweight or underweight affects hormone production in your body and slows down normal ovulation. Having a healthy weight increases the frequency of ovulation and furthers the chances of pregnancy. Research studies show that losing only 5% of your body weight can help promote the chances of conception.
2. Reduce carbohydrate consumption
According to experts, excess intake of refined carbohydrates (example, white bread, pasta, even biscuits) can affect conception in a woman. These foods increase the blood sugar causing a gush of insulin that can affect fertility.
3. Take precautions to avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have high chances of causing infertility in women. Practise safe sex in order to protect yourself from this deadly disease. Stick to one sexual partner to avoid exposure to sexually transmitted infections.
4. Switch over to healthy diet
There isn't a specific diet to promote fertility. But when you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein, it will enhance your fertility.
5. Go for regular checkups
Keep visiting your health care provider every two weeks. This will help you detect and treat fertility-related risks.
6. Get adequate sunshine
Sunlight boosts fertility in both sexes by increasing Vitamin D levels. Once the quantum of vitamin D goes up in a female, it increases female sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen, which make conception possible. Why leave out the male? Even sunshine boosts the sperm count in a man.
7. Eat plenty of dairy products
According to a study, women who daily consume a serving of full-fat dairy have lesser chances of infertility.
8. Don't smoke
Males who indulge in smoking have 50% higher chances of impotency since they fall into the trap of lower sperm count. It’s the same with female smokers who suffer from 30% lower fertility rate than non-smoking ladies. Smoking can prevent embryo implantation in the uterus, so women who smoke should kick this habit if they want to conceive.
9. Drink less alcohol
Planning to get pregnant? Then you and your male partner need to drink less of alcohol. Excess of drinking impairs ovulation in women and sperm production in men.
10. Take less caffeine
Drinking one cup of coffee a day can reduce your chances of conceiving. Caffeine drinking can reduce the muscle activity in the fallopian tube that carries the eggs from the ovaries.
11. Have more water
Water not only satisfies your thirst levels, it also boosts blood supply to the womb lining. But if you are dehydrated, the cervical fluid (that helps the sperm find the egg) will turn sluggish and inhibit conception.
12. Consume oily fish
Omega-3 found in oily fish, such as salmon reduces the risk of miscarriage and improves sperm quality.
13. Reduce use of painkillers
OTC drugs such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can affect your conception especially if you take it around the ovulation time. That’s because they are likely to suppress prostaglandins hormones, which release eggs into the Fallopian tube.
14. Avoid drugs
Taking cocaine and marijuana can cause lower sperm counts in men, whereas in female drug users it can cause problems in ovulation.
15. Go for Acupuncture
This is a good way to stimulate specific points in the body. It helps control ovulation, increase blood flow to the uterus, and improve the chances of implantation of a fertilised egg.
16. Avoid working on night shifts
Once in a while it is okay to stay back in office and work late. Frequent late night shifts can put you at higher infertility risk by affecting your hormone production. If you are a night shift worker, get adequate sleep in non- working hours.
17. Do household chores
Even if you are a busy bee at work, do small errand activities at home such as gardening, lifting up containers, etc. These are more likely to help you conceive rather than make you suffer due to sedentary lifestyle. Exercise done, even in mild form, prevents the body from excessive production of insulin, which can thwart development of healthy eggs.
18. Try out mobile apps!
Good news for those of you who are mobile addicts. Download free apps such as Menstrual Calendar, Period Diary, and Fertility Friend. This will help you in working out the time of the month when you are most fertile from your body temperature and your period dates.
19. Relax and de-stress
Excessive stress due to work pressure or household duties can have a negative impact on female fertility. In men, it can even slow down male sperm production and lower libido. Opt for de-stressing activities such as going out for a movie or weekend spa with your male partner to keep your sex hormones active.
Adopt these tips help improve your fertility. Let us know in the comments if you found these tips useful and if you have any other tips to share with our readers.