Obesity and Fertility

photo courtesy of shreehospital.com

photo courtesy of shreehospital.com

According to a March 2014 article in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, in 2010, 31.9 percent of women ages 20 to 39 years old in the United States met the definition of obesity.  Obesity is defined as an adult with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, which translates roughly to a woman of 5’9 who weighs 203 pounds or more.  However, ill effects to your health can be felt long before you reach the stage of obesity; they can be found in the overweight stage as well.  A 5’9 woman is considered overweight with a BMI of 25 to 29.9, which is approximately 169 to 202 pounds. Continue reading

Three Things You Didn’t Realize Could Be Impacting Your Health

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

photo courtesy of popsugar.com

There are some things, such as smoking, drinking to excess, and having unprotected sex, which we know are outright hazardous to our long-term health.  There are others, such as skipping going to the gym for a week or grabbing fast food occasionally rather than a nutritious snack, which are bad in the short term, but can be turned around relatively easily to get you back on a healthy track.  However, scarily enough, there could be some daily habits of yours that, while they seem innocent enough right now, are slowly building towards harming your health in your retirement years.  Below are three major life issues you should examine now for a healthier future.

1)      Your Cholesterol– High cholesterol is not just something that happens to older people. In fact, even teenagers can be diagnosed with it.  The longer you allow high cholesterol in your body, the greater the impact on your heart health.  For every decade you suffer from high cholesterol, your risk of heart disease increases by 39%.  If your blood vessels have been ravaged by cholesterol when you are in your 30’s and 40’s, you may not be able to reverse the damage when you are in your 50’s and 60’s.  It is highly recommended you have your cholesterol checked yearly.

2)      Your Sleep– Scientists recommend that adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night for optimal physical and cognitive health.  Studies have shown that individuals who obtain the right amount of sleep, particularly between the ages of 18 and 60, benefit from improved memory and learning ability that will last throughout their lives.

3)      Your Stress– Stress greatly aggravates the risk of many diseases, such as asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, and obesity.  If you sense stress is having even a minor impact on your life, it is recommended you see a mental health professional to discuss solutions.

 

Your Thyroid and Your Fertility

photo courtesy of parenting.com

photo courtesy of parenting.com

According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to be affected.  In fact, it is estimated that one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder at some point in their lives.

Your thyroid is a small gland in your body which manufactures thyroid hormones.  When you have a thyroid disorder, your thyroid gland is either producing too much (overactive or hyperthyroid) or too little (underactive of hypothyroid) of these hormones, causing a change in your body’s metabolic processes.  Symptoms of a thyroid disorder include weight loss or gain, memory impairment, fatigue, mood changes, and irregular menstrual flow.

A study published in British journal The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in early 2015 further validates what has long been suspected in the medical community, which is that abnormalities in thyroid function can lead to reduced conception rates, increased risk of miscarriage, and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, premature birth, and stillbirth.  The study found that 2.3 percent of women with fertility issues have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, compared to 1.5 percent of women in the general population.  Furthermore, while only about 0.5 percent of women of reproductive age are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, those women are likely to experience delayed sexual maturity and lack of ovulation.

It is recommended that any woman who is trying to become pregnant be screened regularly for thyroid dysfunction.  Additionally, since pregnancy itself can bring on thyroid issues, screening should continue throughout pregnancy and for some time after the baby is born.  Medical professionals state that treatments for thyroid disorders are safe to use when pregnant, and may decrease the risk of miscarriage and improve the overall health of the baby in utero.

 

Natural Ways to Detox Your Body

detox naturally to help your fertility

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If you are readying your body for the possibility of conception, it is a perfect time to do a fertility cleanse.  The concept behind a fertility cleanse is to encourage the liver to let go of toxins and excess hormones.  It also helps to increase circulation in the uterus, and assist it in naturally removing any old blood it is retaining.  There are a number of natural therapies you can use to supplement a fertility cleanse and support your body during the process.  Some examples are below.

  • Yoga impacts the endocrine system which controls the hormones of your body.  Practicing yoga regularly can help you to release physical blockages in your reproductive organs and balance your hormones.  It can also be effective in helping you stay centered and reduce your stress while you are trying to conceive.
  • Exfoliating your skin can increase circulation, aid in liver detoxification, and help move lymph through your bloodstream.  For maximum results, scrub your skin in circular motions towards the heart, then follow by taking a bath or shower.
  • Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years to help heal issues with the reproductive system.  Soak a cloth on castor oil, place it directly on your skin, and cover it with a heating pad or hot water bottle.  This will enhance circulation and promote healing of the organs beneath wherever it is placed.
  • Fertility massage consists of massage techniques designed to increase circulation in your ovaries and uterus, break up any adhesions that may be present, relax hip muscles and organs, and bring a tilted uterus back into alignment.  A web search will help you find many articles and videos describing these techniques.

After completing any of these activities, it is important to remember to drink plenty of water. This will help to accelerate the release of toxins and flush them out of your body.

Your Mind Can Impact Your Fertility

how you affect your fertility

photo courtesy of thefertilemind.net

When you and your partner make the initial decision to try for a baby, it is a very exciting time filled with fun and promise.  At the start, it is likely you have formed some idea in your head regarding how long it will take you to conceive.  However, if that expectation isn’t met, what was once fun can seem like a chore, and your positive attitude is slowly replaced by stress.  According to WebMD, stress plays a part in up to 30% of all infertility cases.

If you are struggling to conceive and find your stress increasing, the most important thing to do is to consult with a doctor.  Don’t let fear of an infertility diagnosis prevent you from finding out what is really going on with your body, and how to deal with it.  The good news is that even with an infertility diagnosis, medical advancements provide hope like never before.  WebMD reports that for the majority of infertility causes, there is a medical treatment that will increase your chance of pregnancy by 60 to 70 percent.

If your doctor finds no medical problems for your difficulty in conceiving, it is very likely stress is playing into your struggles.  Doctors recommend incorporating relaxation strategies, such as meditation, massage, and yoga into your daily life.  You may also try what is known as a “relaxation month,” which is a month in which you and your partner agree that you will take a break from your attempts to actively pursue conception.

Doctors also recommend reducing stress by getting back in touch with the reason you wanted to conceive in the first place, which is your love for your partner.  Go out on dates, have fun together, and make your lovemaking a romantic event, rather than an obligation to fulfill on your calendar.  Bring love and fun back into your life and let nature take its course.

Stress and Your Fertility

photo courtesy of drshawnadarou.com

photo courtesy of drshawnadarou.com

As a society, Americans are used to spreading themselves too thin.  In June 2012, The New York Daily News reported on a study showing that stress levels in America had risen 30% over the previous 30 years!  Stress has unfortunately become ingrained into our daily lives.  However, if you are trying to become pregnant, it is definitely time to step back and examine your stress levels.

Stress can prevent you from conceiving in a variety of ways: Continue reading

Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year

photo courtesy of teluguone.com

photo courtesy of teluguone.com

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to develop more healthy habits, such as joining a gym or eating more nutritious meals.  If you desire to eat healthier in the coming year, the United States Department of Agriculture has given you a great head start with their Healthy Eating Tips website.  Below are some of their suggestions to start a healthier diet. Continue reading

Have a Low-Stress Holiday Season

photo courtesy of playbuzz.com

photo courtesy of playbuzz.com

The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends.  However, as your calendar starts to fill up with work events, parties, and time dedicated to shopping for gifts, you may find yourself feeling anything but jolly as you are being pulled in several different directions.  Below are some tips for helping you keep your stress level down during the flurry of activity that is the holiday season. Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Natural Family Planning (Part 3- Final)

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

“Natural family planning” is any method of fertility management that uses natural methods to determine the time of the month when a woman is most fertile.  These methods help a woman to learn and recognize the changes to her body around her fertile time, and make decisions about having sex in accordance with if she is trying to postpone or achieve pregnancy.  As with any birth control method, there are things about it that you may feel are advantages or disadvantages to you personally.  Below are some things about natural family planning methods to keep in mind. Continue reading

Myths about Natural Family Planning (Part 2)

myths about natural family planning“Natural Family Planning” is an umbrella term which encompasses natural forms of fertility management based on scientific research about women’s fertility cycles.  This includes the Basal Body Temperature, Ovulation, and Sympto-Thermal Methods, as well as the more technologically advanced Lady-Comp personal fertility computer.  Unfortunately, there are many pervasive myths about natural family planning that prevent some couples from trying it.  We will dispel some of those myths below. Continue reading