7 Lifestyle changes to improve your reproductive health

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Having children is a challenge for many women. It’s more common to hear about successful pregnancies and births, but there are many instances of miscarriages and infertility. Unfortunately, women who experience the latter tend to avoid telling anyone about it for various reasons.

The inability to conceive is caused by several factors, one of those is a woman’s lifestyle. Whether it’s due to societal or environmental influences, the human body can experience many challenges when someone wants to become pregnant.

Fortunately, some simple modifications in your daily routine can turn that for the better. If you’re planning to conceive anytime soon, you want to make sure your body is ready for it. To improve your reproductive health, you can consider these lifestyle changes and routines:

1. Review All Prescription Medicine

If you’re planning to get pregnant, examining any over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed medicine before taking it is crucial. The medication you take regularly may also affect your fertility without your knowledge. If you’ve previously taken cannabis or an abortion pill, these might also impact your ability to conceive, but this is not always the case. Make sure to check the ingredients and compounds in any drug you plan to consume.

If you’d like to confirm if your past and current medication have adverse effects on your reproductive health, don’t hesitate to consult your OB-GYN. They can help you understand what chemicals can possibly affect your chances of conceiving and which ones could have adverse effects on a developing baby. Other than that, they could also provide safer medicine options for you when you’re trying to conceive or already pregnant.

2. Avoid Alcohol And Smoking

Liquor and tobacco are notorious for affecting fertility in both males and females. Women could pass on alcohol to a developing baby in their womb, causing mild to severe congenital disabilities. The chances of fetal death and miscarriage increase if you continually consume liquor while pregnant. Even if you’re not planning to conceive, alcohol intake could result in irregular menstrual cycles and increase the intensity of period pain.

Smoking could potentially age and deplete your eggs early in life, resulting in premature menopause. If not, it could decrease their quality. Even breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke may affect your reproductive health. You can ask your physician for assistance in helping you quit smoking if you smoke regularly. It’s better to stop early, even if you don’t plan to get pregnant soon.

3. Limit Caffeine Intake

Aspiring mothers who love coffee may feel bad about cutting back on caffeine, but it’s for the best. Drinking one cup a day doesn’t drastically affect your fertility, but if you consume over 200mg of caffeine daily, you may need to lessen that. That doesn’t mean you need to stop for good, but avoiding coffee entirely during conception and your whole pregnancy term will provide more benefits.

If you need your daily coffee intake while pregnant or while you’re trying to conceive, doctors recommend drinking one 12oz cup a day. This amount is safe and shouldn’t harm a baby in the womb. You may also drink healthy coffee alternatives like:

  • Herbal tea
  • Hot cocoa
  • Turmeric latte
  • Matcha green tea

Reduced caffeine intake also benefits non-pregnant women. It lessens the chances of intense stomach cramps, heavy and painful menstrual flow, and delayed periods.

4. Level Up Your Diet

Food plays a vital role in reproductive health. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet is always beneficial to the body whether you want to get pregnant or not. Ensure that you’re eating ones without pesticides because these harmful chemicals could damage your endocrine system, affecting your hormone production. Pesticides may also negatively influence your ability to conceive and give birth to a healthy infant.

Seafood, nuts, Brussels sprouts, and other food rich in omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for promoting ovulation. Pregnant and non-pregnant women should also eat more folic acid-rich carbohydrates like bread, cereal, and pasta. Folic acid helps prevent congenital disabilities, so it’s best to consume these kinds of foods even before conceiving.

Eat poultry and red meat in moderation since these protein sources have high omega-6 levels that increase blood clots and blood pressure. Also, avoid processed foods and anything you have to microwave first to eat. Additional fats and calories in these meals could lead to a risk of infertility.

5. Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep can negatively affect your physical and mental health. Human bodies require enough rest to heal and strengthen, especially after contracting a sickness. Hence, whether you want to conceive or not, you must sleep as much as possible.

Women who take night shifts at work are prone to reproductive health risks. Women who regularly sleep less than the recommended seven to eight hours are less likely to become pregnant when they want to be.

If you have no choice but to work night shifts, ensure that you get enough sleep after your shift. Cover your windows with dark curtains, so your body will think it’s still nighttime.

6. Do Enough Exercises

Contrary to what older generations would say, pregnant women can exercise. Regular exercise benefits those who want to conceive in the future since it alleviates stress and strengthens muscles. It also helps in achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight. Remember that being overweight is also one of the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Thus, you must maintain a body mass index (BMI) that’s proper for your age and height.

However, just because you can and should exercise doesn’t mean you should overexert yourself. Overexercising may reduce your progesterone levels responsible for normal menstruation and pregnancy. It could also increase the risk of miscarriage.

Some types of physical exercises that are great for reproductive health, improving fertility, and are easy to do at home are:

  • Pilates
  • Walking or light jogging
  • Biking
  • Swimming

Dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to doing an exercise you enjoy, so you won’t feel like it’s a chore. Consult your physician if you need advice on which activity suits you and if you also have weight loss concerns.

7. Relax And Meditate

Stress is a silent killer. It can influence most of your bodily functions and worsen them over time. It’s difficult to entirely avoid stress in daily life, but it doesn’t have to haunt you all the time. There are tried and tested techniques to help you relax better, especially if you want to conceive.

Many people swear by yoga and its benefits to overall health. This exercise will loosen up tense muscles and relax your mind once you get over the back-breaking poses. Since it also tones your body, you’ll find yoga helpful when you become pregnant.

Meditation is another way to relieve stress. It doesn’t always involve sitting in a lotus position and repeating a mantra. You can meditate by doing anything that keeps you calm, like listening to soothing music, walking on a quiet path, or looking at trees or greenery outside. Pair it with breathing exercises to help you manage the way you breathe. Stress and anxiety are often indicated by shallow breathing.

Learning to calm down and breathe properly will improve your chances of conceiving. And even if you don’t wish to become pregnant soon, your overall health will benefit from less stress.

Conclusion

It’s normal and acceptable to feel disheartened when you’ve tried to conceive, only to fail more than once. But always remember that there’s hope, and you can make things better for yourself. Changing your lifestyle habits can do wonders for your reproductive health, so try doing something you know will benefit you in the long run.

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