Dr. Karen Buckingham, a gynaecologist and fertility specialist at Repromed, is an expert in reproductive medicine. As with all the doctors on our team, Dr. Buckingham provides personalised care to clients through their fertility journey. We asked her advice on some of the most common questions we receive about healthy fertility so you can optimise your health this season.
A healthy diet is important to boost fertility. What does that look like in real terms – are there specific foods to add or remove?
I like to think about a healthy diet in terms of whole, real, foods – these are the ones that will make you feel good and boost your fertility at the same time. You don’t need to be drastic, but remember to ‘eat the rainbow’ and avoid processed and sugary foods and drinks. Foods like berries and green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants and are in season in summer. Round out your diet with lean protein, nuts, whole grains and don’t forget healthy fats from foods like avocados, salmon and olive oil.
Is it okay to drink caffeine while trying to conceive?
It is okay, but I do recommend cutting back on your intake if you drink a lot of it. We don’t like to think about it, but caffeine is a drug – and it can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb iron, which is critical for healthy conception and pregnancy. Limit yourself to one a day and savour it.
Everyone knows alcohol isn’t recommended during pregnancy; does it impact fertility as well?
It does. Studies have shown that it has a significant impact on sperm and egg health. It can be hard to refuse at summer celebrations, but replacing sauvignon blanc with sparkling water can have a positive impact on your overall fertility.
Will exercise increase odds of pregnancy? What are good types of exercise to do in the summer?
Exercise is so important to your overall health – it plays a role in both mental and physical well-being – so adding it to your routine can be a positive boost to your fertility. When you’re starting, it is a good idea to choose low-impact options like yoga and pilates.
How does stress affect fertility? What can people do to lower their stress levels?
Stress drains our bodies’ resources – resources you need to direct toward your fertility. Slowing down your pace, spending time winding down in the evenings to ensure good rest, and practicing mindfulness are helpful in reducing stress. Breathing exercises and guided meditations through apps like Headspace can be a great place to start.
Repromed provides personalised fertility care for all. With clinics in Auckland, Tauranga and Whangarei, phone 0800 483 105 to book a free 15-minute phone consultation with a fertility specialist or visit www.repromed.co.nz to learn more. We’re here to help you reach your goal of having a baby.