Sunbathing 'can help you get pregnant': Increased exposure can raise odds of becoming a mother by a third.
- Soaking up the rays could help a woman have a baby, research has found
- Increased exposure to sunshine raise odds of getting pregnant by a third
- Weather a month before conception is key - not the conditions at the time
A sunshine break is the perfect way to unwind, catch up on your reading and top up that tan. But it seems a week soaking up the rays could also offer a surprising benefit – helping a woman have a baby. Increased exposure to sunshine could raise the odds of becoming a mother by more than a third, a study suggests.
Interestingly, it was the weather a month before conception that was key and not the conditions at the time, Europe's top fertility conference was told. Belgian researcher Frank Vandekerckhove said: 'A holiday doesn't just help with stress, it's also about better weather conditions.' Dr Vandekerckhove took the IVF results of around 6,000 women and compared the dates of their treatment with weather conditions.
There was no link between the date a woman had IVF and the weather. However, when he looked at the weather a month earlier, a pattern emerged. Higher temperatures, lack of rain and sunshine improved results all the way through fertility treatment – right through to having a baby. The link with sunshine was the 'most striking', with sunny weather increasing the odds of IVF success by 35 per cent, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual conference in Lisbon heard.
Dr Vandekerckhove, of University Hospital Ghent, said sunshine a month before conception is likely to help a woman's eggs mature.
Increased exposure to sunshine could raise the odds of becoming a mother by more than a third, a study suggests This could be by raising levels of vitamin D, which is made when sunlight hits the skin, or by altering levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep but is also involved in regulating a woman's reproductive cycle.
Although his study was of IVF patients, he said there is no reason to think that a burst of sunshine won't also help women trying to get pregnant naturally.
He said that in a world where reproduction is becoming increasingly medicalised, sunshine could be a simple way of boosting fertility.
Professor Charles Kingsland, of the Hewitt Fertility Centre at Liverpool Women's Hospital, said: 'We get bogged down and seduced into thinking that in order to get pregnant we need to be taking various pills, potions and creams to aid our fertility when often all that is needed are the basics; namely, good diet, no smoking, reduction in alcohol, relaxation, sunshine and being happy and positive.'