Trying to conceive-everyone has advice

It seems that if you tell anyone that you are trying to conceive you activate their advice-giving gene. That’s true also of writers looking for stories such as in this article from where the author offers six “weird” things that boost your fertility.

According to the article, “If you are trying to get pregnant (or thinking about it), you’re probably familiar with the standard advice: Maintain a healthy weight. Go easy on the coffee and booze. And avoid stress (if only!). But there are a handful of other things that may help boost your baby-making odds—from changing your sushi order to mixing up your workouts.”

Let’s look at the accuracy of some of these suggestions:

Cut back on long-distance runs. “Exercise is a good thing,” says James Grifo, MD, PhD, the program director of the NYU Langone Fertility Center. He points to a large Danish study published in 2012 that found that normal-weight women who did vigorous workouts (such as running, swimming, or fast cycling) for at least five hours a week experienced a delay getting pregnant. The researchers also found that women who stuck to low-key exercise (think brisk walking or leisurely cycling) had slightly higher odds of conceiving. Dr. Grifo recommends seeking balance and moderation.

I would agree with that advice but it really only applies to exercise at a competitive level and not to the average recreational exerciser.

Skip the spicy tuna rolls and avoid eating other large predatory fish, like swordfish, mackerel, and shark. Ocean-dwellers at the top of the food chain tend to have high levels of mercury contamination. This is also good advice but it will not help one conceive but avoid exposure of the fetus to mercury.

Make breakfast your biggest meal. A 2013 study published in Clinical Science found that eating a hearty a.m. meal may improve fertility for some women who have irregular periods with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormone imbalance that affects up to 10 percent of women of childbearing age, and interferes with the development and release eggs. The study subjects were divided into two groups: One group had a little more than half their daily calories (980) at breakfast, and the other consumed the same amount at dinner. After three months, the “breakfast group” had a much higher rate of ovulating women.

That’s one study in women with a specific abnormality, anovulation with PCOS and probably does not apply to everyone else. Although it’s probably advice that a mother would give her daughter, trying to conceive or not.

In the next post, three more pieces of advice.