Improving your Fertility

Weigh: A woman's weight can affect her fertility. We know that at both extremes, very thin and obese, there can be disruption of the normal process of regular ovulation, and anovulation can often result. Body mass index, or BMI, is an index that gives us an indication of whether a person is of normal weight, overweight or obese. The BMI factors-in a person's weight as well as their height to give an overall "index".


A high BMI indicates obesity. Go to the WebMD site and use their "BMI Calculator" to find out your BMI and learn more about weight issues :


Diet: Healthy eating plays a very important role in a healthy pregnancy. You need to eat foods from a variety of sources to make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you and your developing baby need.


Pregnant women need fruits and vegetables every day. Brightly coloured vegetables and fruit contain more of the kinds of vitamins you and your baby need. You should eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Make sure your fruits and vegetables are prepared with little or no added fat, sugar and salt, and choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice.


Smoking: When you smoke, your baby gets less oxygen and nutrients This can cause your baby to grow more slowly and gain less weight in your womb. Babies with a lower-thanaverage birth weight tend to have more health problems. And the more you smoke, the higher the risk that your baby will have complications during the perinatal period (just before, during and just after birth).


This is true for babies exposed to second-hand smoke too. Your baby may have learning problems, more ear infections and more colds and breathing problems. Being born small can affect your baby's health into adulthood. Second-hand smoke contains the same toxic chemicals and carcinogens that smokers inhale.


Children regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are at least 50% more likely to suffer damage to their lungs and to develop breathing problems such as asthma. When you breathe in second-hand smoke, you have a greater risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, breathing problems and irritation of the eyes, lungs and throat.


Alcohol: Drinking alcohol while pregnant elevates risk of giving birth to a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a term that describes a range of disabilities (physical, social, mental/emotional) that may affect people whose birth mothers drank alcohol while they were pregnant. Research shows that children born to mothers who drank as little as one drink per day during pregnancy may have behavior and/or learning problems.


Exercise: Regular physical activity during pregnancy is great. It can:


· Improve your mood and self-image.

· Help ensure appropriate weight gain.

· Help you relax and reduce stress.

· Promote better sleep.

· Increase your muscle tone, strength and endurance.

· Help build your stamina for labour and delivery.

· Speed up your recovery after labour and delivery.

· Help increase your energy levels.


Stress: Clinical research has demonstrated the following facts concerning stress and fertility: Stress has an immediate, chemical effect on endocrine function through its major motivator the hormone cortisol. Stress is an adaptive response to perceived or real danger, referred to as the fight or flight response.


This stress response is an evolutionary function that supported survival during life-threatening situations in primitive times. In the face of danger, an enormous physical effort is asserted to mobilize the body including increased blood flow to the muscles from the heart and increased oxygen flow for breathing, both functions are required to meet the metabolic demands of fight. This is the job of the hormone cortisol. In moments of danger, the hypothalamus signals the adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol.


The result is immediate: Increased blood flow to muscles. Decreased blood flow to internal organs. Increased heart and respiratory rate. Once the real or perceived danger is resolved cortisol levels return to normal. This is a very different situation from the stress response of the modern day. Stress has a profoundly negative impact on other areas of our life that are important to reproductive function such as sleep, eating habits, sex, drive, mental health. Stress brought on by anxiety and/or depression can alter immune function.


We have all heard about how the effects of depression can lower our immunity, making us more vulnerable to colds and other viruses during emotionally stressful periods. Sometimes its outcome is the use of chemical substances such as alcohol and cigarettes. The result is that cortisol levels in the body remain elevated and this can have severe consequences for fertility. Cortisol down-regulates bodily functions associated with rest and digestion, including reproductive function.


The increased blood flow to the musculature associated with the stress response comes at the expense of the uterus and ovaries. Some of the physical symptoms of stress are: tight muscles, shallow and quick breathing, poor digestion and poor sleep are some of these symptoms, which can be monitored and managed with mind/body skills. Yoga and Meditation: Yoga and meditation are both relaxation techniques that can help calming the mind. Meditation can help discover feelings and manage them by finding deep in ourselves what causes us to feel in certain way. Benefits · Reduce physical symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.


· Develop new lifestyle behaviors, to enhance fertility.

· Learn a variety of relaxation methods and cognitive behavioral strategies to help you regain

· Control of your life · Determine the safety and efficacy of alternative medicine.

· Learn the art of self-nurturance and effective communication.

· Restructure negative thoughts and manage feelings of anger, loss and grief.

· Create a circle of support with other women experiencing similar issues.


Traditional Chinese Medicine Chinese medicine has a high success rate with functional infertility, which results from factors such as hormone imbalances, endocrine gland disorders, and emotional problems. Chinese medicine can also significantly improve some structural infertility problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, vaginitis, ovary dysfunction, and immunesystem-related infertility.


Supplements: Folic Acid Folic Acid, or folate, is one of the B vitamins important for healthy growth of your unborn baby. It is essential to the normal development of your baby's spine, brain and skull, especially during the first four weeks of your pregnancy. It is, therefore, important to start taking vitamin supplements with Folic Acid before you get pregnant to reduce the risk of neural tube defect Vitamin B6 This vitamin is the first line treatment for N/V (nausea/vomiting), prevents cardiovascular malformations and protects placenta vascular bed. CoQ10 Lowers risk of pre-eclampsia, helps to improve oocyte and embryo quality by increasing ATP concentration. It has been found, that low CoQ10 levels in maternal blood have to do with abortions and pre-term deliveries. Probiotics Can be used as a treatment for diarrhea, to lower atopic disease.


Antioxidants Pycnogenol is a potent antioxidant. Recommended intake is 50-120 mg per day. This can be particularly useful for women 40 years of age and older. Multivitamins Prenatal vitamins contain all the vitamins and minerals that you need for pregnancy in order to meet all the requirements you and your baby need to be healthy