More than 6 million women in North American have trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy — Courteney Cox, Khloe Kardashian, and Giuliana Rancic all used in-vitro fertilization to aid conception (some more successfully than others). And around 5 million U.S. men will seek medical help for fertility issues sometime in their lives.
Fertility treatments are a blessing — 4 million babies a year are born as a result of fertility-enhancing procedures, but they've got their drawbacks. A new study found intracytoplasmic sperm injection for male infertility and stimulating ovulation may increase the risk of birth defects. (IVF did not.) But there's worry that IVF's intense hormone injections may promote ovarian cancer.
Good news! Meditation, stress reduction, and a good laugh can increase (as much as 30 percent) the likelihood of conceiving. The hormones in your adrenal system (epinephrine, cortisol, norepinephrine) that regulate and respond to stress affect your central and peripheral nervous system, brain, guts, immune system — and reproductive organs. You can control them, though. Practicing mindful meditation daily, doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises, getting a massage, and participating in group therapy all dispel stress reactions that alter body chemistry. For some women, the benefit is enough to make conception happen. But it takes time to integrate de-stressing into your life. So get started (and get your partner to participate, too).
Plus, another fertility booster: Eat a diet rich in omega-3s — salmon and trout — and take 900 milligrams in supplements (the DHA variety!) from algal oil to further boost fertility.
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.