Making lifestyle changes can greatly improve your chances of fertility. This three-month "fertility code" programme has five dimensions and applies to both men and women.
1. THE MIND
It is a vicious circle: fertility problems lead to stress and stress exacerbates fertility problems. In The Fertility Code, Dermot O’Connor and fertility counseling psychotherapist Ann Bracken outline ways to reduce stress and anxiety, adopt a more positive outlook and enhance sleep – seen as a vital factor in improving your chances of conception.
O’Connor regards the psychological aspect as the pillar of the programme, because "if your mind is not in the right frame, it makes it difficult to implement all the other parts".
Changing from poor or even average eating habits to optimum nutrition is "probably the most powerful thing you can do to enhance your fertility”, says O’Connor. His recommendations include 10 portions of fruit or vegetables (organic) a day and eliminating dairy from your diet, as well as avoiding refined carbohydrates and eating "hormone-balancing phyto-estrogens, such as beans, lentils and chickpeas daily".
The nutrition plan should not just help you to achieve your optimum weight, but also smooth out blood-sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It is designed to promote healthy ovulation and improve the quantity and quality of sperm.
Decreasing exposure to toxins should not only improve fertility but also benefit the foetus if you do conceive. Top of the list of toxins to avoid are the obvious ones of nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. O’Connor also recommends clearing your kitchen of all canned and processed food, as well as popcorn, cheese, salted nuts, jam and marmalade, to mention just a few on the "food detox list". You are advised to choose chemical-free skincare products and avoid household cleaners containing toxic chemicals.
Forget the "no pain, no gain" mantra – when it comes to exercise to maximize fertility, balance is key and overheating is to be avoided. However, regular exercise will help control weight and reduce stress – both key factors in fertility problems. Walking, yoga, gentle swimming and the Chinese exercise system chi gong are what O’Connor recommends.
5. MEDICAL SCIENCE
Although this is not part of the "code" per se, it is the fifth dimension that O’Connor advocates for couples with fertility issues because his programme is complementary and supportive rather than an "alternative" to assisted reproduction.
For their part, mainstream fertility clinics have moved in the past five years, he says, from putting no emphasis on the mind-body element to putting some emphasis on it, “but are yet to put a huge emphasis on it”.
Photo credit: Alan Betson
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TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
The Fertility Code
by Dermot O'Connor
-- The Fertility Code program delivers a powerful and practical step-by-step approach for those who wish to give themselves the best chance of starting a family.
As many as 500,000 couples in the UK and Ireland actively seek help with fertility, such as IVF treatment each year. While some are legitimate candidates, many have been proven to just need proper lifestyle and fertility advice and assistance in order to conceive.
The Fertility Code is designed for these people, and for those who need more serious intervention, to optimize their fertility. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to preventing a couple from having a baby.
This is why it is important that a fertility plan should address as many of these potential issues as possible. Through many years' experience of helping thousands of couples to become parents, Dermot O'Connor knows that such a plan must be easy to understand, easy to implement and genuinely effective.
The Fertility Code combines the best of both Eastern and Western medicine to provide a comprehensive guide to conceiving successfully and carrying a baby to full term.
It details the optimum plan to enhance fertility, and delivers a proven strategy, incorporating the key elements consistently utilized by the couples Dermot has helped:
• Fertility Awareness Strategies
• The psychology of fertility
• Optimum nutrition for conception and pregnancy
• The importance of detoxification
Paperback: 224 pages
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