Every year there are new ideas, theories and devices designed to improve your health, increase your fertility or, in some cases, do both!

They all make very persuasive arguments about their effectiveness and their results, but which ones are worth a try and which should you totally ignore?

We’ve taken a look and uncovered the three trends you’ll want to be aware of if you’re hoping to improve your health and fertility in 2018.

1: Tech support

This can be one of the most confusing areas of health and fertility. There are thousands of smartphone apps, websites and gadgets of varying quality claiming to enable you to see or hear things only previously accessible to doctors, or to transform your health.

As technology has advanced however, there are some nice innovations that can help you keep track of some important fertility indicators, for those who want to know what’s happening all the time!

MyFLO, for example, is an app that tracks your menstrual cycle and recommends activities that are suitable for each stage. It doesn’t claim to be an accurate ovulation tracker, but it will recommend when the best time to consider trying to conceive is.

By not claiming to be highly scientific, it takes the pressure off if you’re trying for a baby. It gently suggests when you are in a good time period to try and conceive. Apps and devices that make stronger claims of medical accuracy often don’t live up to the hype and can actually lead to people failing to see their GP when there is a genuine problem.

If you do use an app or a connected gadget to track your pre-pregnancy or during pregnancy health, remember to only use it as a guide, almost a bit of fun. If you think there might be something wrong, seek medical help immediately.

For example apps that claim to allow you to use a smartphone to hear your unborn child’s heartbeat. Tracking a foetal heartbeat can be difficult even for professional midwives with specialist equipment. Using an app and a smartphone could cause unnecessary panic and upset if it simply fails to work.

Tech you use in your own home to monitor your health is best used for reference rather than a replacement for trained medical assessment. So long as you treat the data they provide sensibly, they can help you keep tabs on yourself and improve your understanding of your natural rhythms as you begin trying to become pregnant.

2: Egg freezing

This became a hot topic at the back end of 2017 thanks to the singer Rita Ora, who revealed she had undergone the process of elective freezing. Egg freezing has for some time been a process used to preserve fertility, usually in patients about to undergo cancer treatments that are likely to render them infertile.

But there is now growing interest from young women hoping to give themselves time to build a career by freezing eggs in their 20s to use in their 30s or 40s. It is a major decision that you need to think about very seriously and discuss with any significant others.

There is a cost to remove and freeze your eggs and an annual storage cost. Not all eggs survive the process - in some cases none of the eggs survive being thawed. Since 2001 only 60 babies have been conceived using frozen eggs in the UK. For more information visit the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority website.

Elective egg freezing can offer an opportunity to improve your chances of getting pregnant if you plan to start your family later, but you should still give it careful consideration if there is no medical reason to do it.

3. Be more ‘fat aware’

Maintaining a healthy weight is important, but in this case we are not talking about how much you weigh, but what you eat.

Eating the right kind of fats has always been important. As people think more than ever about what they eat, 2018 will see those trying to conceive taking more notice of which fats to try and reduce.

The key is to avoid ‘trans-fats’ - these are the fats you find in fried foods, cakes and other processed foods. We say avoid because in reality it’s very difficult to cut these out of most people’s diets. It is useful to try to reduce the amount of artificial, hydrogenated fats as much as you can.

Healthy fats (which still need to be eaten in moderation) found in foods like salmon, avocado and nuts are beneficial both when trying to conceive naturally or undergoing fertility treatment.

So 2018 will offer young women a huge choice, give those hoping to conceive the ability to keep track of their bodies and see pre-pregnant women focusing more than ever on eating the right things.

 

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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