As Kourtney Kardashian struggles to fall pregnant, are there any ways you can increase your chances?
Kourtney Kardashian has opened up about her struggles to get pregnant.
The 43-year-old is giving a candid look into her IVF journey on new TV show The Kardashians, saying she and fiancé Travis Barker “want it so badly”.
Kardashian has three children from a previous relationship, and Barker has also three kids. The couple got engaged in October 2021, and revealed they were trying for a baby in the new show’s teaser trailer.
Now on its second episode, Kardashian has revealed her experiences with IVF have been “awful”, saying the medication she’s been on put her into menopause, and this “basically put me into a depression”.
Kardashian told her mother Kris on the show: “I have everything in the world to be happy about. I just feel a little bit off. I’m super moody and hormonal.”
Trying for a baby can be a very stressful time, particularly if things don’t seem to be happening. It’s important to remember that we all have different bodies and there are numerous health issues that can affect fertility and pregnancy, so it’s always worth speaking to your GP or a fertility expert if you are struggling. Generally speaking though, there are a few things you can do which might help boost your chances of conceiving…
Professor Luciano Nardo from online fertility platform Now Fertility (NOW-fertility.com) says: “There have been many studies showing the link between day-to-day stress and a lower chance of” conceiving. “There are stress hormones such as cortisol that arise when we’re stressed, and they may affect fertility.”
Of course, this can feel like a vicious cycle – you know you should reduce your stress as much as possible, but not being able to fall pregnant might make you feel even more anxious than ever.
“When I talk to my patients, I always say the best way to tackle it, first of all, is to make sure you have a good sleeping pattern – you need to have six, seven, eight hours of sleep every day,” says Nardo.
“You need to have the opportunity to talk about your problems with somebody, don’t keep everything silent. Because if you don’t talk to anyone – about your anxieties, about your stress – then you become isolated, and more anxious.”
Nardo also recommends mindfulness techniques, as well as yoga and meditation. “This is something I will always advocate to my patients,” says Nardo. “Do anything you can to feel well, because that feeling of wellbeing is of paramount importance during your fertility journey – but even more important once you start fertility treatment (if you end up doing that) because that will add to your stress.”
Make healthy choices
Nardo says: “Lifestyle generally has a big impact on fertility potential. It is often a balance between lifestyle history – because somebody who has smoked for 25 years, if you stopped smoking today, it’s not going to make an immediate difference to fertility.” However, cutting back on smoking is certainly still a good idea generally – as well as getting regular exercise.
Nardo emphasises the importance of a well balanced diet too. “We need to ensure women and also men have an adequate diet in order to ovulate, in order to have a satisfactory health and fertility potential,” he explains. “In terms of what to eat, a diet rich in fish low carbohydrates, pholate, vitamin B6, is good.” He recommends taking supplements in vitamin B6, B12, D and folic acid, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
Fertility expert Dr Michael Eisenberg from twoplus fertility (twoplusfertility.com) suggests: “Avoid fast food, and eat a diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein from vegetables, whole grains, low-glycemic carbohydrates, dairy, and iron. Studies show this is associated with a higher chance of getting pregnant.”
In terms of general lifestyle advice, if couples are trying to conceive unassisted, Eisenberg recommends men wear “boxers not briefs”, and adds: “Choose lubricants carefully – some water-based vaginal lubricants may decrease sperm movements due to the chemical composition. Specialists recommend using mineral oil, canola oil, or hydroxyethyl cellulose-based lubricants when necessary.”
While this isn’t accessible to everyone, acupuncture might be worth considering – if you can afford it. Five Element acupuncturist Asha Chong (ashachong.com) recommends factoring in “a minimum of three to six months before you begin trying to conceive, to dedicate time to improving quality of life in five key areas of your life: medical, nutrition, relationships, mindset and lifestyle.
“If you’re someone that struggles with anxiety, depression, high stress levels, hormonal imbalances, menstrual irregularities, PCOS, previous miscarriages, chronic pain, or insomnia, you could benefit from integrating acupuncture as part of your preconception plan.”
Chong suggests acupuncture can support conception through “regulating the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones, improving egg quality, increasing energy levels, steadying emotions and mental health support”.
She believes “acupuncture is beneficial for both men and women during the fertility process by helping with relaxation and general wellbeing. For men, acupuncture can help to improve sperm quality and restore energy levels.”
Chong concedes “there are no guarantees”, but some people have had positive experiences with acupuncture.
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