Written by: Dr. Jessica Ryniec, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at CCRM Fertility of Boston
When you’re trying to conceive, there are steps you can take to improve the health of your eggs
When you’re having trouble getting pregnant, one thing you might be wondering about is the status of your eggs. There are specific tests to help determine number of eggs you have in your ovaries.
Figuring out the quality of your eggs, however, isn’t that simple. Because there isn’t a test to determine egg quality, doctors need to rely on other measures, such as your age; but sometimes we can’t know for sure until we see your eggs in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.
As you get older, your eggs tend to develop abnormalities in the chromosomes, making it harder for a healthy pregnancy to occur. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to fix genetic abnormalities due to aging eggs. IVF with the addition of comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS) can be a way to definitively check egg quality, as well as a treatment option.
Save Whether you are just starting trying to conceive on your own or if you are starting fertility treatments, even if you have diminished ovarian reserve, egg quality can improve by making lifestyle changes and taking certain supplements, although you may still need more complex treatments.
You don’t need to completely change up everything you eat, but a diet that consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limited processed foods and added sugar can help not only your overall health but also the health of your eggs. If you notice you’re sensitive to dairy and gluten products, you may want to avoid these because these can cause inflammation in your body.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
If you smoke tobacco, now is a great time to consider quitting. When it comes to alcohol, there’s evidence it may negatively impact egg quality. Try to minimize your intake as much as possible when you’re trying to conceive.
Decrease household toxins
While it’s nearly impossible to get rid of all potential environmental toxins in your home, start with small changes. Plastic is a known endocrine disruptor. This means plastic such as BPA and other household toxins can interfere with the way your hormones work and have an impact on your egg and overall fertility, as research has shown.
Because heat can cause plastic to leach into your food, try to avoid putting plastic food containers in the microwave and dishwasher. Use stainless steel or glass when you can. Try to use clean beauty products and other household personal care and cleaning products.
Manage your stress
The stress you might be feeling does not cause fertility issues, but it can be taxing when you’re having difficulty getting pregnant. Stress reduction is good for your overall health in general. Yoga, meditation, and journaling are some ways to help decrease stress. Getting help from a professional counselor is a great option if you feel like stress is interfering with your everyday life.
When it comes to supplements, it’s important to talk to your OBGYN or fertility specialist to figure out the ones that are best for you. Recommended supplements for anyone who is trying to get pregnant include:
- Prenatal vitamin with folic acid
- Vitamin D 1,000 IU daily
- Omega 3 fatty acid (example: fish oil, DHA) 1,000 mg daily
Specific supplements that contain powerful antioxidant properties and may improve egg quality include:
- Coenzyme q10 400 mg twice a day
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Acai berry
Twelve weeks is the recommended amount of time to be on supplements before getting pregnant. Of course, you may not want to or be able to commit to that so you may want to work with your specialist to come up with a plan that makes sense for your situation.
If you have concerns about your egg quality, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a CCRM Fertility specialist to discuss your options.