THE BLOG
05/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Secrets of Fertility

If your clock is ticking and you're wondering the best way to get your fertility jump-started, read on.

Seasonal Timing is Everything
According to Chinese medicine, seasons really do affect fertility. Chinese medicine looks to the energetic cycles of the universe for health answers; the female and male energies - also known as yin and yang - rise and fall throughout the year.

Male energy begins in the spring and peaks around June 21, the summer solstice. Female energy begins in autumn and peaks around December 21, the winter solstice. This means that the most fertile seasons for males are spring and summer; for women, autumn and winter.

Studies performed in China have confirmed that sperm production is generally more abundant and mobile during spring and summer. Conversely, the ovaries are more active and produce more follicles during fall and winter.

One possible explanation is that because men are more physically active during the spring and summer months, growth hormone and testicular functions correspondingly increase. As for women: because ovulation occurs ideally at a lowered body temperature, it makes sense that the cooler autumn and winter months equal increased fertility.

Something to know: too high of a temperature is not conducive to fertility. It has been found that when environmental temperature is overly hot - and the body is above the ideal temperature of 98.6 - there seems to be a drop in the testicular function for men and a delayed maturation of follicles in women.

Live Food Gives New Life
Mother nature has given us foods that naturally enhance fertility. The medical tradition of China - renowned as the most populous country in the world - has long considered certain foods to be of particular value in increasing success with fertility.

These foods that contain the potential for new life include eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and berries. Since these foods are themselves capable of propagation when hatched or sprouted, they are said to be abundant in life-giving energy.

It is no wonder that modern science has confirmed them as a category unto themselves; they are complete foods providing essential amino acids and helping to form the building block of protein. They are also high in the essential fatty acids (EFAs) critical for hormonal health and chock full of the antioxidants that prevent a premature decline in function and aging.

Acupuncture Stimulates Fertility
China became the most populous country in the world with the help of its indigenous medical system--Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact the medicine worked so well that if it wasn't because of the one-child per family policy in place since the 1970s China's population would be reaching nearly 2 billion by now! Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been proven in many studies to be effective for improving reproductive health in both men and women.

Natural Fertility Enhancement
Here are a few ways a woman can help prepare herself for pregnancy:

1. Some evidence indicates that a woman's menstrual cycle and ovulation is affected by her amount of exposure to light. Less exposure to light corresponds to increased depression and a decrease in fertility.
As part of her fertility enhancing strategy, a woman may want increase her exposure to natural or full spectrum light during the day.
2. However, at night, any light should be completely blocked for adequate sleep; that means at least eight hours of sleep, and going to bed no later than 11 p.m.
3. Another measure a woman can take is to keep her body temperature slightly lower to create a more conducive environment for ovulation and maturation of follicles.
4. Moderate, low impact exercise can be of help - definitely avoid intense, high-impact physical workouts, which can actually inhibit fertility.
5. It is essential to keep stress low. Stress busters include meditation and tai chi.

I hope you can use this information to successfully prepare for your own pregnancy or share it with your loved ones and others whom you know that are struggling to get pregnant!