Do you think being super-fit, running five miles into work each morning and hitting the gym every evening is the best way to prepare for conceiving a child? Think again.
According to Dermot O'Connor, acupuncturist and author of The Fertility Code, women who do lots of exercise are actually considerably less fertile than those who don't do any at all.
'Most people assume that the fitter you are the more fertile you are,' O'Connor told MailOnline. 'But evidence shows it's almost exactly the opposite; studies have shown that the fitter you are, often the less fertile you are.'
Dermot O'Connor's book The Fertility Code explains how couples can create the optimum conditions for conceiving naturally or with the help of IVF
He continued: 'Before a set of Harvard studies, the assumption was that 45 minutes of exercise a day five days a week would be the optimum amount of exercise a woman could do if she was trying to have a baby.
'But the research - which surprises people - proved that that amount actually dramatically decreases your chances of conceiving. The optimum amount of exercise is no exercise, or very gentle exercise.'
And it is advice that was heeded by the Duchess of Cambridge: Kate is said to have swapped her gruelling gym sessions for light walks in the park with her dog Lupo before she became pregnant.
O'Connor added: 'Of course, the results need to be tempered because if you are overweight then losing weight by doing exercise helps fertility. But if you are normal weight or underweight then strenuous exercise is detrimental.'
The Duchess of Cambridge, left, is reported to have given up strenuous exercise in order to improve her chances of becoming pregnant
The author and practitioner went on: 'After all, the body is intelligent: if you push yourself to run seven miles in the gym every day the body thinks you are migrating. It doesn't consider that optimum conditions to have a baby so the reproductive system effectively shuts down.'
'By far the best way of both losing weight and creating ideal conditions for conceiving are through diet. The key approach to losing weight needs to be calorific. Exercise comes a very distant second.'
O'Connor has adapted his latest book, The Fertility Code, from his 2006 best-seller The Healing Code, which advocates a five-pronged approach to recovering from serious illness.
'That book dealt with my own story of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998. I developed an approach to helping my self heal using nuttrition, exercise, and different therapies including herbal medicines and acupuncture. I then became a trained acupuncturist.'
Dermot O'Connor with his new book, The Fertility Code, in which he explains his five-pronged approach to helping couples conceive a baby
Though O'Connor's own story was about neurological issues, he quickly found that 70 per cent of his clients were visiting him for help with fertility problems.
'If you help someone with a back problem they may tell ten people. But if you help someone have a baby they tell the whole word. So I soon became known as "the fertility person".
'My method isn't foolproof, it's a mulch-dimensional approach to optimising a couple's lifestyle to give maximum chance of things happening naturally.
'I have helped thousands of couples conceive - probably around 50 per cent of my clients have had success - and a high proportion within four months of coming to see me. I also work with fertility clinics and totally support work they do.'
'Dairy is for cows, not humans': Dermot O'Connor's five steps to conceiving a baby
To make an appointment with Dermot O'Connor visit fertilitycode.com, or email him at email@example.com or call 0871 218 0300
'Emily is my dream': One mother who followed the Fertility Code and got her miracle baby
Collette and Kevin with Emily
Collette Hempenstall, 46, Bray in County Wicklow, Ireland:
'For as long as I can remember I wanted a baby. I had a few relationships and during the longest one, we did try, but it never happened.
'In 1996 some cysts were found on my ovaries and I was told conceiving would be hard. I was devastated. I tried to carry on but in the back of my mind were thoughts I would never become a mum.
'After my 30th birthday I started looking into artificial insemination. As I was single there was nowhere in Ireland that would help me, so I found a clinic in London. I looked into all the details, saved the money and went for it.
'It was so heartbreaking when the pregnancy test came back negative, but it only made me more determined.
'It was on my third try that I met my partner Kevin through a dating website.
'We got to know each other very well via phone and text for about a year before we actually met and I'm glad it happened that way.
'I told him about my health problems and that I really wanted a baby, and he was happy for me to try to get pregnant. We tried naturally for about six months, then a friend mentioned acupuncture.
'I found Dermot O’Connor in the phone book, and he was fantastic and so helpful. I went for a few sessions and kept track of my menstrual cycle and ovulation. I saw Dermot weekly at first for acupuncture, then fortnightly, then just monthly.
'He gave me nutritional advice and supplements to take. By this stage, I had given up alcohol, tea, coffee, diet and fizzy drinks, most red meat and was drinking a lot more water.'
Collette, Kevin, Emily and Emily's godparents at her christening seven years ago
'I took Dermot's advice and did as much as I could to be healthy. All of a sudden my period was late. I did a test and to my surprise the stick changed colour straight away. I burst into tears - my God, I’m in tears just typing this, it was one of the best days of my life!
'I did another test the next day - and years later I still have the two sticks.
'I went to the doctor the day after to confirm it. Dermot had only been seeing me for five months, it was amazing.
'It took so long and so much heartache to get this far so I wasn’t prepared to take any risks. I quit the gym and stopped my hill walking.
'I went overdue by two weeks so I was taken in to be induced on Saturday 20th May and Emily was born at 6.30pm on Sunday 21st May 2006. It was a traumatic birth and I had two blood transfusions but it was the best day of my life. Emily will be seven in May. She is my dream come true.'
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