04 Mar Can Egg Quality be Improved?
While it’s true women are born with a set quantity of eggs, egg quality is dependent on other factors. This means there are things most women can do to improve egg quality.
7 Ways to Optimize Egg Quality
Things like chromosomal or genetic abnormalities are unavoidable and may be caught via preconception genetic screening. However, women with healthy eggs, to begin with, have the privilege of protecting egg quality by taking good care of their bodies.
Here are seven things you can do right now to begin optimizing egg quality:
1. Quit smoking and minimize exposure to second- and third-hand smoke
Smoking harms egg quality. Even when women quit smoking before conceiving, they still have higher chances of miscarriage, giving birth to babies with low birth weights, premature labor, and higher incidences of birth defects. That tells us that smoking before getting pregnant diminishes egg quality.
Do all you can to minimize your exposure to cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke – and that includes consuming THC or other cannabis products.
2. Eat a pre-pregnancy diet long before you want to conceive
If you’ve landed on this article before you’re trying to get pregnant, that’s great. The sooner you focus on an all-body approach to pregnancy, the better. Our top recommendations for a pre-pregnancy diet include:
- Using an anti-inflammatory diet (such as a Mediterranean diet) to manage weight, increase the amounts of nutrient-rich, whole-foods you consume, and minimize processed foods, sugars, and preservatives.
- Avoid foods grown or raised using pesticides, herbicides, and hormones. Countless studies correlate connections between toxic environmental pollutants and diminished egg and sperm quality.
- Speaking to your general practitioner about taking a prenatal supplement that includes folic acid to optimize nutritional intake and minimize the risk of birth defects.
- Increase water intake to keep hydrated and reduce your consumption of “flavored” drinks such as colas or synthetic juices/beverages, limiting synthetic dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals that may harm egg quality..
3. Find stress management tools that work for you
We aren’t aware (yet) of any direct links between stress and poor egg quality. However, we know that women who experience chronic stress have higher cortisol, prolactin, and other stress-related hormones that halt or impede ovulation. Practicing stress management supports overall hormone balance and healthy reproductive processes, and it will come in handy later when you’re a parent.
4. Learn more about egg freezing
Egg freezing is available to any woman concerned about the quality of her eggs when she’s ready to get pregnant. For some, egg freezing is a form of fertility preservation because it keeps their eggs clear of potentially threatening medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, radical surgery, or medications that negatively impact fertility.
Other women opt to freeze their eggs because they know they’re not going to start a family until their eggs experience age-related decline, which starts at about age 36.
5. Get pregnant before age 35
Along those same lines, there is a direct correlation between a woman’s age and egg quality. Research shows that both egg quantity and quality diminish more rapidly after age 45, and by 40 years old the decline is exponentially more significant. Egg freezing is certainly an option.
However, if you are nearing 35 and feel comfortable with where you’re at in life – and you’ve found your life partner – consider getting pregnant sooner rather than later to increase fertility chances and minimize the risk of miscarriage or the need for fertility treatments.
6. Establish healthy sleep habits
As with stress, there is no proof that lack of sleep hurts egg quality. That remains to be seen. What we do know is that women who work night shifts and swing shifts, as well as those who report getting too little (or too much) sleep, have lower fertility rates. We believe this is due to the body’s sleep cycles, circadian rhythm, and their effect on hormone balance.
As long as you’re focusing on healthy lifestyle habits, and changes that support egg quality and fertility health, set a goal to get between seven and nine hours of high-quality sleep per night.
7. Prioritize wellness visits
The quality and health of your eggs and reproductive system are directly linked to overall health and wellbeing. Keep up on annual wellness visits with your physician as well as your OB/GYN. Some of the health factors with direct links to infertility include:
- Being overweight, obese, OR underweight
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain autoimmune disorders
Accurate diagnosis, treatment, and management of underlying health conditions support healthier egg quality and easier conception.
Learn More About Your Egg Quantity and Quality
Would you like to establish a healthy fertility baseline and to learn more about your egg quantity and quality? Schedule a consultation with the Fertility Center of Dallas. 214-823-2692. Using tools like AMH testing, ultrasound images, and preconception genetic screening, we can get a more accurate understanding of your fertility potential to create a personalized family building plan.