Gut health and fertility: What your gut microbes have to do with fertility
If you have an over-sensitive stomach, and you’re prone to bouts of food poisoning, you’d probably look into probiotics, and do other things to improve your gut health. But what if you’re trying to get pregnant? Does your gut health have any impact on your fertility?
As it turns out, focusing on gut health is one of the things that you should focus on when you’re trying to conceive. The more well-balanced your gut is, the higher the chances of you having an easy, smooth-sailing pregnancy… read on to find out more!
What, exactly, is the gut?
Your gut is your gastrointestinal tract, which consists of several organs such as your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. Within your gut, you’ll find your microbiome, which is a community of microorganisms and bacteria living within you.
Now, while the term “bacteria” has negative connotations, most of the bacteria that lives within your body is actually good for you. Generally speaking, approximately 85% of the human microbiome is made up of probiotics, which aid digestion and crowd out the undesirable bacteria within your system.
How does your gut health affect your fertility?
You wouldn’t necessarily think of your gut health when you’re trying to boost your fertility, but there’s plenty of research that shows that your gut is likely to have a direct impact on your ability to have a baby. Take, for instance, this study that finds that abnormal vaginal microbiota may be associated with poor reproductive outcomes.
From a more indirect perspective, your gut health affects your fertility in many more ways. First and foremost, if your system is overwhelmed with unfriendly microbes, this will compromise your immunity and possibly result in inflammation. Obviously, this will affect your ability to get pregnant.
If you have poor digestion due to a gut imbalance, the same thing goes: this could potentially result in nutrient deficiencies, mineral imbalances and inflammation, and when that happens, it compromises your ability to get pregnant.
How to tell if your gut is unhealthy
If your gut isn’t doing well, chances are that you’ll already know. Here are some of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut:
- Gas, bloating, heartburn and other stomach disturbances
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Messy or greasy stools
- Nausea or vomiting
- Autoimmune reactions such as mind fog (feeling confused, disorganised, finding it hard to think, etc)
How to improve your gut health
Gut could do with some TLC? Here are some ways in which you can rebuild your gut health and increase the good bacteria in your gut:
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat less processed foods
- Eat less foods high in refined sugars
- Eat more vegetables and fruits, especially those high in fibre
- Eat more fermented foods, including yoghurt, kimchi, tempeh, and miso
- Consider taking probiotics. See your ob-gyn or doctor to discuss what type of probiotic is the best for you.
- Avoid taking antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary.