Lifestyle and Wellness

Take care of yourself and your fertility.

Lifestyle and Wellness

Take care of yourself and your fertility.

Lifestyle and Wellness: Looking After YOU

Whether you are going through infertility or seeking help to conceive for other reasons, the journey can be tough on you and those involved. Take the time to look after your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing along the way.

Below, we provide some general information about the relationship between lifestyle and your fertility. We expose a few myths and make some suggestions.

“Do something nice for yourself today. Find some quiet, sit in stillness, breathe.Put your problems on pause.
You deserve a break.”

Stress and Fertility

Research studies DO NOT support that emotional stress causes infertility or that infertility can be cured by simply "relaxing".

There are many factors that affect fertility that your stress cannot change. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t invest in stress reduction strategies. As a matter of fact, our doctors believe that investing in your mind and your psychological well-being is one of the best investments you can make.

There are many different ways to deal with stress such as exercise, mindfulness, or meditation. Journaling and therapy can also be extremely helpful in learning to process emotions and deal with the inevitable emotional rollercoaster of infertility.

Please be gentle with yourself. This is not your fault. We hope that you find some stress-reducing strategies that work for you.  See our resources page for more information.

Physical Fitness

Many patients are fearful of exercise due to concerns that it might impact conception. Lifestyle and wellness includes physical fitness. Did you know that there is no evidence that exercise of any kind prior to conceiving can impact natural conception?

Our doctors often advise patients to continue with the same level of exercise they are accustomed to before starting the journey to conceive. During an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle exercise can be modified depending on your specific situation.

Once pregnancy is established, there might be certain conditions where exercise is contraindicated and needs to be modified. Until a fertility treatment is started or pregnancy is ongoing, there is no need to modify your exercise routine unless specifically indicated by your doctor.

Our doctors recommend at least 30 min of exercise 4 to 5 times a day. This can be anything like walking, running, cycling. weight training, dancing or yoga. Hydrate well and listen to your body as you push yourself into a new exercise routine.

Eating healthy is a part of lifestyle and wellness, avocado toast is pictured

Nutrition, Supplements and Fertility

The Mediterranean diet is the only dietary regimen that has been proven to improve fertility and reproductive outcomes. The diet emphasizes whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil and fatty fish. The Mediterranean diet may improve fertility by reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity and increasing intake of antioxidants.

Here are some best dietary practices to support your fertility

  1. Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can provide the nutrients needed for optimal fertility.
  2. Consume folate-rich foods: Folate is important for healthy fetal development, and deficiency can increase the risk of birth defects. Foods high in folate include leafy green vegetables, beans, and fortified cereals.
  3. Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive impact on egg quality. Good sources of omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds.
  4. Limit intake of processed foods and sugar: Processed foods and sugar can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance, which can negatively impact fertility. Choose whole foods instead.
  5. Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is important for overall health, including reproductive health.
  6. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: High caffeine and alcohol intake have been linked to decreased fertility. It is recommended to limit caffeine to 200mg per day and to avoid alcohol altogether when trying to conceive or have 1-2 glasses of wine a week if not pregnant.
  7. There is no evidence to avoid gluten or dairy unless you know you have celiac disease or have lactose intolerance.

Lifestyle and Wellness: Smoking and Fertility

Many people do not realize that smoking can lead to problems with fertility in both sexes.  Infertility occurs at twice the rate among smokers than it does for non-smokers and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.  Because smoking damages the genetic material in eggs and sperm, miscarriage and offspring birth defect rates are also higher among patients who smoke.

Here are some of the other effects:

  • Reduced egg quantity, which cannot be recovered
  • Increase in pregnancy complications
  • Increased incidence of erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sperm quality, count, and motility (ability of sperm to move)
  • Reduced birth weight among children born to smokers
  • Higher risk of medical problems among children born at a lower birth weight (diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease)
  • Increased risk increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and asthma among children who are exposed to smoke

Quitting smoking can improve your fertility in some situations and decrease the risk of pregnancy complications. Quitting smoking can be very difficult. Speak to your family physician for treatments or support to assist you. Learn more at Smokers Helpline.

smokers helpline website image as a part of lifestyle and wellness resource page

Additional Resources Provided by MFC

Counselling & Support

You are never alone on this journey

Legal & Ethics

Experienced reproductive lawyers when you need them

Fees

Comprehensive overview of costs associated with fertility treatments

Common Questions About Lifestyle and Fertility

In the journey of infertility, every positive lifestyle choice becomes a stepping stone toward the miracle of creation.