Trying to conceive while suffering from PCOS can be a frustrating and upsetting experience. Infertility is one of the main complications that affects many women with polycystic ovaries, and is caused by an imbalance of hormones. Often, an increase in testosterone means that women don’t ovulate at all, and even if they do, the lining of the uterus might not be developed enough to allow the fertilised egg to implant. Struggling with conception can be stressful, but there are a number of fertility boosting lifestyle changes you can make that could help.
Change Your Diet
A good diet is one of the best tools to fighting PCOS symptoms, particularly infertility. Getting nutritional levels right can help with regulating periods, improving ovarian function and balancing hormones.
Cutting out carbs is a great place to start. A low-carb diet can help reduce insulin and testosterone, so say goodbye to sugary foods and drinks, and white bread, rice and pasta. Replace them with fibre-rich whole grains and beans to keep your blood sugar balanced. Increase fertility boosting antioxidants by packing plenty of fresh fruits and iron-rich vegetables into your diet.
Embrace Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is an essential part of life for anyone suffering with polycystic ovary syndrome, but more so if you’re looking to get pregnant. If you’re planning on trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to start a fertility boosting fitness regime at least three month before you begin.
Exercise is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps to maintain a healthy weight, and secondly it assists with regulating hormones. Swimming, walking and team sports are all great ways to stay fit, and yoga has been proven to be a great fertility booster. Not only does it reduce stress, it also restores hormone balance and increases blood flow to the pelvic region.
Boost Your Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D is incredibly important for general health, and being deficient in it can lead to a number of problems, including infertility. Unfortunately, low levels of vitamin D are common in women suffering with PCOS, but tackling the problem can improve egg quality and overall fertility.
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, so getting out and about is a great place to start. You can also increase your levels by eating the right foods; oily fish, mushrooms and egg yolks are all rich in this wonderful vitamin.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight gain is a common problem for women suffering with PCOS. Insulin resistance increases the production of male hormones, which in turn leads to hair growth, acne and weight gain. Working on lowering insulin levels can help with weight loss - a study which took place in 2010 found that losing as little as 5%-10% can improve fertility.
The best way to maintain a healthy weight is through a good diet and regular exercise. Giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake are also beneficial.
Manage Stress Effectively
Struggling with fertility can be difficult, which can make avoiding stress tricky - but it’s essential if you’re trying to conceive. Long periods of stress can increase the hormone cortisol in the body. In turn, this can lead to a rise in insulin levels.
There are a number of ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga and meditation are great for focusing on the body and developing breathing techniques, while getting plenty of sleep can help you feel rested and relaxed. You can also try specific techniques, such as guided imagery and music therapy.