Living abroad for more than a decade, much of the advice I got about trying to conceive wasn’t what you’d expect. But that didn't mean it was any less valid. Here are just a few of the things I heard that people swore would help me get pregnant:
Break Stuff During Sex to Conceive a Boy!
This nugget of wisdom came from Barry, my Chamorron scuba diving teacher, who told me his secret to conceiving lots of boys. At first I couldn’t help but snicker, but years later when I was sharing the concept with a fertility doctor he said it makes sense: breaking things raises testosterone levels, which has a positive effect on sperm count. Exercise and watching pornography has the same effect, so there’s a plethora of options to choose from.
After heading back home and kicking off my shoes, I was immediately scolded by a friend who told me that my refusal to wear slippers meant doom for my fertility, because, as it turns out, cold feet will ruin your fertility.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cold feet slow down the circulation of qi to the uterus, and can make pregnancy more difficult, and can inhibit the flow of breast milk after birth.
But does this have any basis in real life?
Absolutely. Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, is both critical for orgasm (the force that pushes sperm closer to the cervix) and for lactation and birth, and studies have shown that holding warm objects, and presumably keeping your feet warm, can increase the levels of the hormones.
Get Your Nose Pierced and Wear Toe Rings
Just as TCM indicates that wearing socks will bring vital energy to your uterus, the Ayurevedic tradition says that piercing your left nostril will do the same. Wearing toe rings, known as bichiyas, is also said to regulate menstruation and increase sex drive.
Now, whether or not this works is up for debate, but one could easily argue that feeling desirable, and being perceived as such, helps raise hormone levels and increase the chance for both coitus and conception.
Go On That Honeymoon
While traditionally seen as a treat for the newlywed couple, taking a beach vacation may also jump start your fertility, as the vitamin D produced while you bake on the sand greatly increases the amount of progesterone and estrogen your body produces, which can help you conceive.
Eat Oysters… and Pomegranates… and Surf and Turf… and Chocolate… and Nuts….
You’ve heard about aphrodisiacs and their power to fire things up in the sack, but the real key might lie in their ability to kick start conception, which is truly a sign of virility. All of these foods are high in zinc, which boosts male virility and sperm quality.
Soak Your Nuts
Yes, keeping the man’s testicles cool helps increase sperm quality, but I’m actually talking about the edible nuts here, and grains! Most cultures traditionally soak their nuts, which eliminated phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of minerals like zinc!
Drinking a cup of coffee 30 minutes before sex is said to improve sperm motility, allowing more sperm to reach their final destination.
Speaking of Nuts…
Eat some brazil nuts! The high levels of selenium increase blood flow to the uterus and can also prevent blood clotting in the uterus. Eating 1 to 2 brazil nuts can maybe even help women who have had multiple miscarriages due to clotting.
Tell Your Joe to have some Joe
Drinking a cup of coffee 30 minutes before sex is said to improve sperm motility, allowing more sperm to reach their final destination. That being said, coffee can also adversely affect both your and your partner’s fertility, so best to keep to one cup a day or less, and treat yourself to Starbucks only during your fertile period.
Acupuncture has been shown to be as effective as fertility drugs like Clomid in treating infertility, but few people truly understand why. Research dating back to 2002 shows that acupuncture increased production of endorphins, which help regulate the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture has a neuroendocrine effect, which effects the hypothalamus, pituitary glands and ovaries, which has a strong influence on ovulations.
Take the Pill!
This was told to me by a Dutch fertility specialist who shared that sometimes couples who have been together a long time see declined rates of fertility, and that a month or two on the pill can help jump start a woman’s fertility. Even he couldn’t explain the science, but says it has worked for several of his patients.