The key components to making a baby are:
- Healthy eggs
- Healthy male sperm
- Ripe eggs for fertilization (ovulation)
- The environment is supportive to help the sperm on their journey up the cerivcal canal to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- The fertilized egg (embryo) has to be able to implant in the woman’s uterus
- Both the embryo and the womb need to be healthy and strong for the baby to grow to full term
Making a baby
Over the next few weeks I will look at each of these issues in turn. I will also give you some helpful hints and tips on how you can improve these different aspects of fertility
So today the spotlight is on having healthy eggs
What makes a healthy egg?
All it takes is one healthy egg. How do you know if your eggs are good? Also what constitutes a good egg?
A good egg is one that is able to go from being dormant in the ovary, maturing and then being fertilise. It then becomes a healthy embryo and ultimately a healthy baby.
A woman’s eggs are formed along with the rest of her body when she is still in the womb. They then lay dormant until they go through a process of maturation or ripens. Then the eggs are ready for ovulation. Usually several eggs begin this process. This is the follicular stage. Under normal circumstances one egg will become the dominant follicle and will mature first. It is then released into the fallopian tube via ovulation. The other developing follicles are re-absorbed.
If all goes well this egg is then fertilized, becomes an embryo and will then implant in the uterus.
Therefore you need:-
1) enough eggs,
2) responsive eggs to the hormonal signals that govern maturation
3) healthy DNA inside the eggs.
So ideally quantity but most importantly quality. In other words, quantity and quality.
The Anti-Mullerian Hormone or AMH is one of the most important ways to measure egg quantity This hormone is secreted whilst the eggs are preparing themselves for ripening. So AMH gives an idea of how many eggs there are in this process. The ideal range is between 1.0 – 5.0. Therefore a low AMH (below 1.0) indicated there are fewer eggs available. This is particularly important for IVF as this usuall works best when there are more potential eggs to mature and harvest. A high AMH (over5.0) may indicate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH is used to measure egg quality. This is the hormone responsible for stimulating the eggs to mature. A healthy egg should be more responsive. It therefore needs less FSH to reach maturity. So a low FSH between 8 -10 is ideal for getting pregnant. As eggs get older they are slower to respond and require more FSH to reach maturity. There FSh levels between 10-15 indicate older eggs and further fertility treatment may be necessary.
What you can do:
It is hard to increase egg quantity but there are things you can do to improve egg quality
- Eat a good diet Aim to include the following: advocados, beans and lentils, berries, brazil nus, cinammon, eggs and sesame seeds. For more information on these see my blog https://worcester-acupuncture.com/healthy-eggs/
- Exercise This may be linked to the anti-aging mechanism. Taking regular moderate exercise is really helpful.
- Vitamin D This is really important for the development of baby bones. It also reduces the risk of low birthweight babies. Indeed it may even be involved in the tricky business of getting pregnant itself see https://worcester-acupuncture.com/the-sunshine-vitamin-vitamin-d/
- Acupuncture This can help to boost blood flow to the ovaries see my page on acupuncture and fertility https://worcester-acupuncture.com/acupuncture-good-fertility/
- Stress Work on cutting stress in your life – yoga, meditation,acupuncture, spending time in nature, making more me time can all help to reduce stress