How to Improve Your Egg Quality
21st February 2022
We understand that when you’re trying to conceive, you want the quality of each egg you release to be of the very best standard. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to support the health of your eggs, and even improve their quality before they are released.
The Egg Maturation Process
A baby girl is born with over 1 million eggs in her ovaries, and this large reserve means that she will not make any more during her lifetime. By the time she reaches puberty, the number will have naturally reduced to around 300,000. After this time, the number of immature eggs slowly declines until the menopause.
Although a woman is born with all of her eggs already in the ovaries, the eggs are immature. Each month, usually just one egg becomes mature enough to be released. However, it will have taken around 3 months for a released egg to develop and reach this mature state.
Scientists are now starting to understand the relationship between egg quality and conception, and the factors that may influence it. The good news is that some simple lifestyle changes may help to improve the quality of your eggs during the 3 months it takes for them to mature. Understanding the factors that affect egg quality will help you to ensure that each egg released is the best quality it can be.
It is important to eat a nutritious, balanced diet, especially when you are keen to support the healthy development of your eggs.
Eating plenty of lean protein will help the eggs to develop correctly. Chicken, fish, and low fat dairy products are all good sources of protein. Plant-based foods including lentils, quinoa and soya will also give you the protein you need.
Increasing your intake of green, leafy vegetables, and trying to eat veg in all colours of the rainbow will help you to get all of the vitamins and minerals an egg requires for healthy maturation.
Complex carbohydrates will give your body the energy it needs to support egg development. Try to avoid refined carbs or sugary treats, as these empty calories are less helpful for the maturation process and could also lead to unwanted weight gain.
Take a Supplement
Eating a healthy diet should be your first step, but you can easily boost your intake of vitamins and minerals by taking a pre-conception supplement, too. This ensures that maturing eggs receive everything they need for healthy development.
As it takes around 3 months for an egg to mature, taking a supplement for more than 90 days will give the best results.
Omega 3 and CoQ10
Studies have shown that even short-term supplementation with omega 3 can improve egg quality. CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is another supplement that will give your egg quality a boost. CoQ10 is an effective antioxidant and supplements the energy-generation required to produce a good quality egg.
Babystart FertilWoman Plus Supplement contains vitamins and minerals required to support healthy eggs and conception, including CoQ10 and folic acid.
Consider Toxin Exposure
Unfortunately, toxins are present in the environment, as well as in our homes and at work. Toxins are sometimes referred to as endocrine disruptors, meaning that exposure to them can disrupt the body’s fine balance of hormone regulation. This can in turn affect the quality of eggs produced.
Although it is impossible to avoid all toxins, here are some ways you can minimise toxin exposure:
- Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles by always using a glass at home, or investing in a glass water bottle for out and about. Store food in glass containers, rather than plastic tubs.
- Pay attention to the ingredients of beauty products and household cleaning items to help you select toxin-free products.
- Avoid using scented candles and air fresheners.
- Try to keep away from designated smoking areas so that you avoid passive smoke inhalation.
- Wear a mask with a filter when decorating or taking part in dusty DIY tasks.
- Be aware of toxins that may be present in the workplace, such as cleaning products.
Make Changes to Your Lifestyle
If you are a creature of habit, it might feel daunting to think about making changes to your lifestyle. Some routines are easier to change than others, but a few tweaks may help you to produce healthier eggs.
Smoking is known to have the biggest impact on your fertility. Men and women who smoke are more likely to have difficulty conceiving, and the more you smoke, the harder it might be to get pregnant.
Smoking cessation services are available for free via the NHS. For those who are ready to quit, medication is also available to reduce the sensation of withdrawal, making it easier to give up.
Nicotinell Chewing Gum contains nicotine to replace the addictive substance found in cigarettes. When you feel the urge to smoke, you can chew the gum instead. This provides a nicotine hit without the thousands of chemicals of a cigarette. In time, you should aim to reduce the amount of gum you chew, until you have completely stopped.
Champix is another smoking cessation treatment. It counteracts cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as well as reducing the pleasure that smoking gives you. This may make it much easier to quit.
Stopping smoking before trying to conceive will increase your chances of conception, and make a subsequent pregnancy healthier, too. With each egg taking three months to mature, your eggs could be of better quality within just 90 days of quitting smoking.
For women who are already pregnant and wish to stop smoking, you should speak to your doctor before trying a smoking cessation medication.
Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to disruption of the menstrual cycle and may affect the processes involved in ovulation. For these reasons, it is best to limit alcohol consumption or abstain completely in the pre-conception period.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
It can feel incredibly difficult to lose weight. However, studies have shown that being a healthy weight may increase both your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy. Even a modest amount of weight loss can improve fertility.
You may find it helpful to follow a diet plan online, or to join a weight loss group for support and added motivation.
Some women find it helpful to take weight loss treatments such as orlistat, a medication that reduces dietary fat absorption to aid weight loss. However, this drug should only be taken before you try to conceive.
Exercise improves blood flow to all parts of the body, including the uterus and ovaries. This may support the development of good quality eggs. Exercise also lowers stress hormones, preventing disruption of your natural ovulation cycle.
The NHS recommends that you take part in moderately intense exercise for 150 minutes each week. This is equivalent to five brisk 30 minute walks, but you can build up to it slowly if you have not been physically active recently.
Although exercise may not feel appealing, it is known to improve your mood and to give you that feel-good rush of endorphins for the rest of the day. If you feel self-conscious about exercising, follow a beginner’s cardio session online in the privacy of your living room.
Exercise may also help you to lose weight, making it twice as effective in boosting fertility.
When you are trying to conceive, or thinking about starting a family, it is natural to want to support the development of healthy, mature eggs. Making a few changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference to the egg maturation process, increasing your chances of fertilisation and a healthy pregnancy.