What are the Best Ways to Increase Fertility in Women?

Published July 26th, 2022 by Erik Rivera
Fact Checked by
Jacqueline Hensler
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera

There are many things that can have an impact on fertility if you are a woman.

Age, weight, and lifestyle choices are just a few of the factors that can influence how easily you become pregnant as well as other factors that we will discuss in detail below.

You are born with all the eggs you will ever have and as you age, those eggs deplete in both quantity and quality which makes it important to give yourself all the advantages possible when trying to become pregnant.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to increase fertility in women including how to get the timing right and whether natural supplements can help you conceive.

What is female fertility?

Female fertility is the natural ability to conceive and carry a baby. It involves many different hormones and processes, which can be affected by a number of factors.

You are considered to have a fertility problem if you and your partner have unprotected sex frequently for more than a year and have not conceived yet.

If you are over 35, fertility problems start if you have had frequent unprotected sex for six months and have still not conceived.

If you are having trouble conceiving, there could be a problem with either you or your partner as it takes both sperm and an egg to conceive. If you are still having trouble, talk to your doctor about going to a fertility clinic and seeing a fertility specialist.

You may be perfectly fine while your partner may have a low sperm count, sperm motility issues, or sperm vitality issues which all create poor sperm quality.

There are many different ways to help boost your fertility and better your reproductive health which we will go into detail below.

an image highlighting fertility in women

What causes female fertility problems?

The most common causes of fertility issues in women include:

Ovulation disorders

Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg into your fallopian tubes and if you have an ovulation disorder it can affect your chances of getting pregnant.

Ovulation disorders are when you do not ovulate (anovulation) or you have irregular ovulation.

Many times these ovulation disorders are caused by other hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid problems. PCOS occurs when there is an imbalance in your reproductive hormones which can lead to your ovaries maturing or releasing eggs in an irregular manner.

The most common thyroid problems are hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and both can cause problems with ovarian function.

Medical conditions

Certain health conditions can cause disruptions in your ovulation or make you stop ovulating altogether including diabetes, celiac disease, and autoimmune diseases.

Certain medical treatments like chemotherapy for cancer can also impact your fertility.

Abnormalities in your uterus or cervix

There are a number of abnormalities that can occur in your uterus or cervix that can have negative effects on a fertilized egg to implant or survive.

These include polyps, which are growths, and uterine fibroids, which are benign tumors.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the reproductive organs that can cause scarring and blockages in the fallopian tubes which can make it difficult for an egg to travel through.

Eating disorders

If you are underweight or overweight, it can disrupt your hormone levels and lead to ovulation problems.

Excessive exercising

Just like eating disorders, excessive exercising can also disrupt your hormone levels by limiting the production of the hormone progesterone and is a risk factor for ovulation problems.

Smoking

If you smoke it is important to know that it has been shown to increase the risk of infertility by causing your ovaries to age faster, to release more eggs, and it can also lead to early menopause.

Excessive alcohol use

Moderate alcohol use is safe; however, excessive alcohol use can lead to a number of fertility problems in women including irregular periods, ovulation problems, and also early menopause.

You can drink alcohol and still conceive but it is recommended that you drink it in moderation or abstain from it to avoid any negative impact and maintain menstrual regularity.

Avoid certain lubricants

Certain lubricants used during sex can actually increase the risk of infertility by making it more difficult for sperm to conceive.

If you need to use a lubricant, it is best to either use one that is fertility-friendly such as canola oil, mineral oil, or Pre-Seed, which is a brand-name lubricant that actually helps support sperm.

Avoid K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, saliva, and olive oil, as they have all been shown to decrease sperm motility and viability.

Stress

Chronic stress can have an impact on your hormones and lead to ovulation problems making it harder to conceive although it can not fully prevent you from getting pregnant.

Caffeine

Excessive caffeine consumption has been shown to limit your ability to conceive and it is best to keep your caffeine intake to one or two cups daily and not exceed 200 milligrams of caffeine.

Exposure to toxins

Exposure to toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, dry cleaning solvents, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals can increase your risk of fertility problems and have other negative side effects too.

What are the best ways to increase fertility?

Now that we have gone over some of the common causes of female infertility, let’s look at some ways to increase fertility.

The most common ways to help boost fertility include:

Maintain a healthy weight

Being either overweight or underweight can lead to ovulation problems and make it harder to conceive. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reproductive health.

To do this you need to have a healthy diet and exercise or perform physical activities regularly.

You need to gain weight if you are severely underweight by eating a healthy diet but if you are obese, you need to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.

Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections, also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are leading factors in female infertility.

The best way to prevent STIs is to use condoms every time you have sex and get tested regularly if you are sexually active.

Maintain regular working hours

If you work night shifts or irregular hours, it can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythms and cause hormonal shifts.

It is best to maintain regular working hours or get plenty of sleep if you must work a night shift or irregular hours as it has been shown to have positive effects in helping to boost your fertility.

Reduce stress

As we mentioned, stress can contribute to ovulation problems and make it harder to conceive.

To help reduce your stress you can try yoga, relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises, or massage therapy.

What are some tips for a healthy diet that may help with conceiving?

A healthy diet is important not only for your overall health but also for fertility. Some tips for a healthy diet that may help with conceiving include:

Avoid trans fats

Not all fat is bad for you, however, trans fats are one of the bad ones that should be avoided.

Trans fats are found in processed foods which are all generally unhealthy.

Eat foods rich in antioxidants

Foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, dark leafy greens, and dark chocolate can help improve fertility as antioxidants help to protect your eggs and sperm from damage. Antioxidants help your body fight free radicals which can cause oxidative stress to your cells and even lead to disease.

Cut down on carbs

Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are found in a variety of foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and cereals.

Carbs are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) which increases your blood sugar levels and eating less of them has been found to help with the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

It is best to eat complex carbs such as whole grains and limit simple carbs such as white bread and white rice. Refined carbs are also best avoided and they are found in processed foods such as white rice, white bread, and sugary foods and drinks.

Eat more fiber

Conversely, eating more fiber has been found to help with fertility by maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and removing excess hormones. It can also help you feel more full which helps with weight loss if you need it.

Fiber is found in many foods including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.

Take a multivitamin

A multivitamin is a good way to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need, especially if you are not eating a varied diet.

Folic acid (folate) is an important nutrient and has positive effects on fertility as it helps to prevent birth defects while other micronutrients like iron and zinc help with ovulation and implantation.

You need to talk to your doctor or health care provider about taking a multivitamin as they can advise you on the best one for you based on your age, health, and diet.

What is the best way to get the timing right for conceiving?

The most common method to figure out when you are ovulating is using an at-home ovulation test.

These tests work by detecting the luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which is responsible for triggering ovulation.

You need to use the ovulation test a few days before you start ovulating and to take one you simply need to urinate on a test strip or in a cup and then place the strip in the cup. The results come out in the form of a test stripe and control stripe. If the control stripe is dark then you are ovulating.

These tests are very accurate although they are not 100% due to human error. You can buy ovulation tests at most pharmacies.

Another way to track your ovulation is by using an app. These apps use data such as your basal body temperature (your lowest body temperature while resting), menstrual period start date, and cervical mucus changes to predict when you will ovulate. Some of these apps are free while others cost a few dollars.

Do natural supplements work for fertility?

You may have heard certain natural supplements may increase fertility such as maca root, royal jelly (a secretion produced by bees), bee pollen, or bee propolis (a resin made by bees).

Although there may be anecdotal evidence that these products work, most of the studies done have been animal studies and more human studies and clinical trials are needed to come to any conclusions.

Always talk to your doctor or health care provider before starting any new medication or supplement.

Summary

Female fertility is the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term.

There are many factors that can cause female infertility which we discuss and go into detail above.

Some of the best ways to increase fertility are by maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise, taking a multivitamin, and getting the timing right for conceiving as well as avoiding things that could be detrimental to your ability to conceive.

Although there is some anecdotal evidence that natural supplements may help increase fertility, more research is needed to come to any conclusions.

If you have any more questions regarding female fertility and how to improve it, please consult with your doctor or health care provider.

References and sources:

Mayo Clinic

Healthline

WebMD

CDC

Cleveland Clinic