Free fertility roadshow in West Norfolk could help improve your chances of having a baby
PUBLISHED: 14:42 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:02 23 August 2017
A free event hosted by fertility experts will give couples a chance to find out how they can get fertility fit and boost their chances of conceiving.
The Bourn Hall Clinic based in King’s Lynn will provide visitors with the opportunity to have an informal chat about their current situation and plans on moving forward.
Specialists from the clinic will offer advice on how a change of lifestyle can enable women to get pregnant without the need for IVF.
Simples measures such as keeping a diary to track ovulation, leading a healthy lifestyle, drinking less alcohol and caffeine and getting more sleep can help couples improve their fertility.
Experts also advise couples to take some time to wind down and enjoy each other’s company as emotional stress has profound effects on fertility.
Of the 800 couples that have been referred to the clinic since it opened two years ago, almost half have successfully conceived.
Carol Steel, lead specialist fertility nurse at Bourn Hall Clinic, said: “80pc of couples will become pregnant within one year of actively trying to conceive, so if you are still not pregnant after this length of time you should seek advice.
“The good news, however, is that there are many things which you can do to improve your chances of conceiving.”
The event will be of benefit to anyone who is trying to get pregnant, or thinking about it, whether they are struggling to conceive or not. Couples can also find out about the more common reasons for infertility such as low sperm count, failure to release eggs (ovulate) regularly, fibroids and endometriosis and how to treat them.
The event will take place on Thursday, August 31 at the Knights Hill Hotel, in South Wootton at 6pm.
The evening will include expert presentations and an opportunity to have a private, free ‘mini’ consultation with a Bourn Hall Clinic fertility nurse specialist.
Norfolk was one of the first counties to provide an integrated fertility service. GPs can refer couples to the Bourn Hall Clinic, in King’s Lynn and Wymondham, for treatment on the NHS.
For more information, visit the Bourn Hall Clinic website.
Simple measures can help couples improve their fertility:
• Calculate when you are ovulating and keep a diary - Many people are unaware that there are only around six days each month when you can get pregnant. Your best chance of conceiving is on the day of ovulation, when one of the ovaries releases a ripe egg.
For a woman on a regular 28-day cycle the day of ovulation will be around 14 days after the start of her period but this can vary so it helps to keep a diary.
There are also a number of ovulation prediction kits available which might help.
• Drink less alcohol and caffeine – and cut out smoking altogether - Smoking harms sperm and can reduce a man’s sex drive; in women it affects ovulation and reduces fertility. The best thing would be to to stop completely.
Heavy drinking (more than six units per day) can lower a man’s sperm count and affect the health of the sperm so men should really watch their alcohol intake.
Women should ideally avoid alcohol altogether when they are trying to conceive as it can affect a developing foetus and cause birth defects.
In addition it is thought that caffeine affects the fertility level of both men and women so cutting back is a sensible precaution. Caffeine is not just found in tea and coffee but in chocolate and some soft drinks too.
• Keep to a healthy weight, eat well and do more exercise - Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good news all round. It helps maintain an ideal body weight, helps to regulate hormones and improves the health of the reproductive system. Excess body fat in men is also a significant cause of low sperm count.
Vitamins C and E and zinc may play key roles in fertility, increasing sperm count and motility (movement) and supporting the female reproductive organs. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs and dairy, nuts, seeds and citrus fruits provide key nutrients.
Doing some exercise every day is key to maintaining a healthy body, helping to burn off excess body fat and reducing the effect of stress on hormone levels. For men it can boost the fertility hormone testosterone, but it is important that women avoid excessive exercise as this can result in irregular periods. Try low-impact activities that you enjoy such as walking, swimming, cycling, pilates and yoga.
• Ditch the hard bike seats and keep your cool - For men, overheated testicles can temporarily lower sperm counts, so it is important to avoid saunas, hot baths, sunbathing and tight underwear.
In addition, cycling regularly and for long periods of time on hard bike seats can also reduce fertility through pressure on the perineum, potentially damaging nerves and blood vessels to the genital area. Think about buying yourself a gel seat for your bike to provide more cushioning.
• Consider your health - Get some advice about any treatments you might be taking to see if they are affecting your fertility. As well as over-the-counter medicines, some herbal remedies such as St John’s Wort, ginko biloba and Echinacea might have an adverse effect on your fertility.
• Take it easy and get more sleep - Getting a good night’s sleep of about eight hours a day or more can help men and women optimise their fertility. Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on hormone levels and studies of female professionals with sleep deprivation have shown an increase in irregular periods.
Couples should not forget to take the time to wind down and enjoy each other’s company. Emotional stress has profound effects on fertility, including interfering with the hormones responsible for egg and sperm production.