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5 Healthy Habits to Boost Fertility

Getting pregnant’s about more than just the sex.

5 Healthy Habits to Boost Fertility

Fertility isn’t just about having sex at the right time with the right person. It’s also about habits -- healthy habits. That’s right, your fertility is an extension of your health, and when all the pillars of mental, emotional and physical health align, many people see a positive shift in their baby-making potential. So if you are having a hard time conceiving, you may just need to kick a couple of bad habits to the curb.

As an acupuncturist specializing in fertility, I have helped thousands of couples on the path to conception and have become acutely aware of what healthy behaviors set a couple up for prime fertility. Want to boost your fertility and start a family? Now is the time to follow the lead of highly fertile people. Here are 5 habits you can adopt today to better your health and rejuvenate your fertility.

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1. Sleep enough. Study after study shows us that a lack of sleep affects our health indices on every level. When we don’t sleep enough, our body doesn’t have time to restore, nor does it feel it has the resources or capability to create another life (aka get pregnant). To help your fertility flourish, you need to be sleeping 7 to 8 hours every single night.

2. Have more sex. Recent research has made it clear that when you're trying to conceive, it's not just about sex at your fertile times, it’s about regular sex all month long. Having regular sex, (2 to 3 times a week) primes your body and its immune system for optimal fertility. Not only does it boost your ability get pregnant, but it also help you stay pregnant. Even more, regular sex keeps the love and intimacy alive in your relationship. Even if you're going through fertility treatments like IVF or IUI, regular sex still benefits you from an emotional and physical perspective. So don’t “save up” for ovulation and have sex with your partner whenever you are in the mood.

3. Have fun. That’s right: fun optimizes fertility. Though there’s no hard scientific data linking happiness to better fertility, there is plenty of science linking it to better health. And, I’m a firm believer that optimal health equals optimal fertility. For many people who are struggling with infertility, fun goes out the window: there's no more fun sex, little to no fun dates nights, less adventure and less spontaneity. Life is put on hold. But emotional and mental health is very important in regulating the hormones that are responsible for your fertility. So plan a fun date, get yourself some sexy lingerie or plan a fun trip to rekindle your relationship with fun. Most importantly, try to make finding joy a priority; and think about the present, not what you’re longing for in the future.

4. Eat fat. At some point in the 80s, we got into the idea that fat was bad for us. But that is so not the case. Of course, not all fats are created equal, and there are fats, like hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats, that are terribly bad for us. But there are a lot of fats that are good for us and even imperative for optimal fertility. How is that? Fat cells in the body produce estrogen -- a sex hormone that is crucial in regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle and her fertility. Similarly, maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, which is found in fat, is a must for a healthy menstrual cycle. Bottom line: having too little or too much fat can be detrimental to your fertility. So eat fats -- the right kind of fats, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, nuts and nut butters are all great addition to your diet to try and boost hormonal balance. And, if weight is a concern for your, don’t skip the fat. Rather, skip the sugar and carbs.

5. Chill out. Stress can be healthy and motivating. But chronic stress, on the other hand, is bad for your health and for your fertility. Studies have shown that stress can get in the way of your fertility, deregulating sex hormones that are responsible for ovulation, which can then make it more difficult to know when you are most fertile. So though dealing with infertility issues, along with demanding jobs and other social obligations, can be stressful, try not to let you down and relax. One way you can do that is through meditation. Even a few minutes a day where you allow yourself to sit still and breathe can make a tremendous difference. Alternatively, meditation can be about simply focusing on how your food nourishes you while you are eating it (as opposed to answering emails while you wolf down your lunch), taking ten deep breaths in your morning shower, or listening to something meditative on your morning commute (rather than the stress-inducing news). Though you won’t see positive results overnight, you’ll eventually break the stress cycle and allow your body, and fertility, to thrive.

I understand you can’t do all of these all the time -- we have to live our lives, after all, so flexibility is key. But do your best to implement these tips 70 to 80 percent of the time. And if you want more tips on how to maximize your fertility, tune in to FREE fertility masterclass, The Top Ten Tips To Get Pregnant Faster (available until 4/3/17).

Photo by Ana Gambuto.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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