Trying to conceive? Here’s how to look after your vaginal microbiome

Eloise Edington  |   26 May 2022

If you’re trying to conceive, you’re probably following recommended advice to prepare your body for pregnancy. Following a fertility-friendly diet? Check. Cut out cigarettes and alcohol? Yep! Taking a high-quality preconception supplement? Absolutely!

But did you know you can boost the chances of conception and healthy pregnancy by supporting your vagina’s microbiome?

TRB has teamed up with Zita West to explain what the vaginal microbiome is, how to ensure it’s healthy and why it’s important for conception and pregnancy.

Zita West Products is a complete collection of specialist preconception, conception and pregnancy supplements. These premium fertility supplements for men and women contain all the essential nutrients needed when TTC (view the Zita West Products partner profile here and visit the website here).

Read on to learn about the vaginal microbiome and get an exclusive discount across the entire range of Zita West fertility supplements for men and women.

What is the vaginal microbiome?

Put simply, the vaginal microbiome is bacteria living in your vagina.

It’s a micro ecosystem that constantly fluctuates during the menstrual cycle and over the course of a woman’s life. A healthy vaginal microbiome will have lower diversity of bacteria species. And ideally, it’s dominated by the Lactobacillus genus. (This is in stark contrast to what scientists call a “healthy gut” – characterised by trillions of bacteria from different species, residing in one place.)

Why is the vaginal microbiome important?

Research suggests that having a healthy vaginal microbiome is crucial for fertility and conception. During a woman’s fertile window, the vaginal pH rises from 4 or 5 to 7 (the same pH level as semen), making it a much more friendly environment for sperm.

The dominant bacteria (lactobacillus) in the vagina keep the acidic levels in check throughout a woman’s cycle. Maintaining optimal pH levels in the vagina also helps to defend against pathogens, playing an important role in conserving a woman’s overall health.

Studies have shown that women whose vaginal microbiome is dominated by lactobacillus (≥ 90%) have a higher success rate for pregnancy and live births.

On the other hand, a vaginal microbiome consisting of <90% lactobacillus has been positively correlated with miscarriage. And, women with an unhealthy vaginal microbiota are seven times less likely to get pregnant from IVF. This is partly due to the suboptimal endometrial environment, inhibiting the chances of embryo implantation.

How can I support my vaginal microbiome?

If you’re on antibiotics or suffer from recurrent infections or endometriosis, you might find you have an unbalanced vaginal microbiome. Fortunately, there are things you can do to support the healthy balance of bacteria in your vagina.

But even if you don’t have endometriosis and haven’t taken antibiotics for some time, it’s important to eat well, drink lots of water, take regular exercise, avoid cigarettes and alcohol and minimise stress (all the things you’re likely already doing when TTC) to help your vaginal microbiome.

To restore healthy levels in your vaginal microbiome, these lifestyle changes can make a difference in a matter of days. But dysbiosis (imbalance) often returns, if you drop your microbiome-supporting habits. Research shows a significant positive impact on vaginal microbiome and sperm motility just weeks after starting a premium probiotic. And these continue, as long as the high-quality probiotic is ingested.

Taking an oral probiotic containing lactobacillus is also proven to restore the vaginal microbiome to healthy levels in up to 82% of women, subsequently improving fertility and chances of getting pregnant, as well as minimising infections during menopause.

Supporting your vaginal microbiome throughout your cycle.

To prepare the body for conception, women should take a high-quality fertility supplement for at least three months prior to trying to conceive.

When it comes to supporting the endometrium for conception and implantation, take a fertility probiotic from the first day of your cycle. This gives your vaginal microbiome sufficient time to develop into an optimal environment for conception and pregnancy.

Zita West Products’ Femceive fertility probiotic is specifically formulated to achieve a balanced endometrial-vaginal microbiota.

Each morning with breakfast, swallow one capsule whole or pull it apart and mix it with cold food (these fertility probiotics are dairy- and gluten-free and suitable for vegans).

The probiotic course is a minimum of 34-days to facilitate healthy vaginal microbiome production across all stages of the fertility cycle (from pre-implantation to implantation and the two-week wait).

Supporting your vaginal microbiome throughout your cycle

Over the first 20 days, Femceive helps the body prepare the endometrium. And over the next 14 days, it maintains the optimal microbial environment for implantation, prior to natural conception or fertility treatment.

Improve your chances of getting pregnant naturally or on IVF by bolstering your fertility through your vaginal microbiome. One capsule over 34 days is enough to make all the difference.

Use code TRB10* at checkout for 10% off the Zita West fertility supplements range.

Sign up for the TRB newsletter here to learn more about you can boost your natural fertility through lifestyle and fertility supplements.

*TRB10 is valid once per customer only. Excludes subscription purchase. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Zita West terms of the site apply.

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