If you’re trying to get pregnant, small lifestyle changes can have a big impact. With the new year upon us, here are five resolutions to keep to increase your chances of growing your family in 2019:
1. Strive for a healthy body weight
Being overweight or underweight can impact your ability to conceive. Excess body fat can lead to an overproduction of hormones that disrupt ovulation. Your cycles may be less regular, you may ovulate less often, and you lower your chances of getting pregnant. Problems can arise when you are underweight, as well. When you have too little body fat you may not produce enough hormones to ovulate each month or to sustain a pregnancy if you do conceive.
Use this tool to calculate your body mass index (BMI).
If you fall outside the normal body weight for BMI (18.5 – 24.9), talk to your physician or a nutritionist about next steps to get yourself on a healthy path.
2. Curb your caffeine
Now is the perfect time to cut back on your daily trips to Starbucks for your caffeine fix. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the uterus and potentially making it harder for an egg to grab hold. There have been conflicting studies about how much caffeine you can consume without affecting your chances of getting pregnant. Generally, we recommended having less than 200-300 mg of caffeine per day.
Want to have an idea of much caffeine you might be drinking? Here are some general guidelines:
- Brewed coffee (8 oz.) = 95 to 200 mg
- Black tea, brewed (8 oz.) = 14 to 70 mg
- Coke (12 oz.) = 35 to 47 mg
- Red Bull (8.3 oz.) = 80 mg
3. Quit smoking
Many studies have found links to smoking and impaired fertility. Smoking can cause damage to a woman’s eggs and fallopian tubes, and there is also an increased risk of miscarriage for those who smoke. What better motivation do you need beyond the desire for a healthy pregnancy and baby? If you’re struggling to quit (it’s definitely not easy), consider seeking support from a mental health expert or acupuncturist.
Trying to conceive can be particularly tough in the age of social media with baby announcements and baby photos filling your Instagram feed. Now is the perfect time to unplug. Take time each day to cut the cord and stay off the Internet/social media – even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes each day. Instead, fill your time with writing in a journal, painting/coloring, meditating or doing some deep breathing exercises.
Or why not take a brisk stroll around your neighborhood? Moderate exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and it can also can reduce the body’s stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) and can stimulates the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
5. Get Help
Don’t wait too long to get help. If you’re under 35 and you’ve been trying to conceive for a year without success, or you are over 35 and have been trying for six months, it’s time to see a fertility specialist. If you suspect that you may have an underlying issue – irregular cycles, prior pelvic infections, fibroids or endometriosis, prior history of radiation or chemotherapy for male or female partners, you consider just coming in sooner for an evaluation rather than waiting. Book an appointment with with a CCRM physician today.