Christmas is officially a wrap and we’re this close to a shiny new year, which means many of us are thinking of all the things we want to do or be or accomplish in 2024. Yes, it’s resolution-making time, and a lot of folks have babies on the brain. We got you! We double checked with the experts for the best ways to support and promote fertility for the very best chances of a healthy conception, pregnancy, and bouncing baby. Read on for six resolutions to make if you want a baby in 2024.
1. Start Every Day with a Protein-Rich Breakfast *Before* Your Coffee
We’ve covered the importance of including protein in your morning meal before, but the quick and dirty explanation is that it sets you up for balanced blood sugar all day. Research is clear that women with diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (which break down as simple sugars) have a greater risk of ovulatory infertility and lower pregnancy rates among those undergoing fertility treatments. For men, lots of sugar and simple carbs lower testosterone levels and negatively affect sperm concentration and motility.
Here’s the thing – if you routinely rely on a cup of joe to jumpstart your morning and it’s the very first thing you get into your belly, you need to switch things up. Blood sugar control is impaired when you start with coffee, so 2024 will be all about protein first, coffee second.
2. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Drinking more water is a pretty typical New Year’s resolution, which makes sense, since a lot of folks are chronically dehydrated. That’s a problem for multiple reasons, and particularly when it comes to fertility. Poor hydration can affect egg health and cervical mucus secretion in women, and sperm quality and quantity in men. Dehydration as a whole is a stressor on the body and specifically the circulatory system, which means less-than-optimal fertility.
Start sipping water in the morning and keep it up all day. Look for hydration packs that deliver key electrolytes and minerals (and minimal sugar), and invest in a reusable water bottle that you can take with you wherever you go. You’ll be surprised at the difference proper hydration makes!
3. Pop a High-Quality Prenatal Vitamin. Every. Single. Day.
Experts advise couples to start taking prenatal vitamins three to six months before they hope to conceive. While the things we eat and drinks should ideally be the source of all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need, that isn’t the case when you are trying to conceive. Let’s face it, certain vitamins such as choline and folate are difficult to get from diet alone. That is where a high quality prenatal vitamin comes in. Science makes it clear that specific nutrients in right amounts are important for supporting fertility and overall health in women and in men. Making a high-quality prenatal vitamin part of your daily routine (yes, both of you – men benefit from prenatal vitamins too!) is a great first step in preparing your body for baby.
Our pick for the best prenatal vitamin when TTC? Beli for Men and Beli for Women, of course! These science-aligned formulas with bioavailable forms of all the vitamins and minerals you both need to support fertility health. Beli for Women is one of very few prenatals on the market meeting current recommendations for choline, folate, iodine, magnesium, and vitamin D, and it’s specifically formulated to support you through all five stages of pregnancy – from conception to post-natal. Our men’s formula is one of the very first designed specifically for men, and our proprietary Vitality blend continues to set it well apart from other options in the market. These ingredients are science backed to optimize male fertility by supporting and promoting all parameters of sperm healthy, including motility, morphology, concentration, and more.
4. Minimize your Exposure to Toxins
Toxins are ubiquitous in our environment – they’re in everything from cosmetics and hygiene products to cleaning products and conventionally-grown foods. And they’re bad news for your fertility, not to mention a growing baby. It takes a little thought and effort, but you can minimize your exposure to common endocrine-disrupting chemicals:
- Skip the synthetic fragrance (that means opting for clean candles and scenting your home with pure essential oils!)
- Opt for glass or stainless steel containers over plastic and if you can’t avoid plastic entirely, always make it BPA free
- Avoid parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde, and triclosan in any personal care products
Make a point of buying non-toxic household cleaners and if you can go organic, do it! Reaching for fresh foods over canned will also minimize toxin exposure. And don’t stress about making a clean sweep (ha!) all at once – just make mindful changes one at a time to begin limiting your exposure and creating a cleaner environment.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is a common sacrifice when life gets busy. But messing with your circadian rhythm is messing with your hormonal homeostasis, and that’s not what you want if you’re trying for a baby. Make 2023 the year you get 7 to 9 hours a night consistently!
6. Manage Stress with a Consistent Exercise Plan (And Follow Through)
Surprise – healthy reproductive function is closely tied to your health as a whole. And exercise is an unavoidable part of staying healthy and strong. That makes this resolution one of those handy twofers. But if you need a little research to really drive this home, check out this study that finds ovulatory infertility can be avoided with regular moderate exercise. In men, exercises like weight lifting and running are linked to higher sperm concentrations, but movement in general can help reduce inflammation and support better sperm function.
The thing about exercise isn’t just its impact on your health – it’s how it affects your stress levels. Stress is a fertility killer, and regular exercise is a stress buster. See what’s happening there? Research shows a significant increase in pregnancy rates when stress is effectively mitigated, and you don’t have to start CrossFit to benefit. Just keep it consistent, whatever form of fitness you choose.
The Bottom Line
If you’re reading this list and thinking it reads like a pretty typical resolution round-up, well, you’re not wrong! But remember, all the things that keep you healthy and nourished in general also directly support your fertility. So if the goal is a baby in 2024, these resolutions are the ones worth making.