Keeping a Healthy Weight
You probably hear a lot in the news about the “obesity epidemic,” and how damaging it is for your health to be very overweight. We do want our patients to know that carrying around too much extra weight affects your hormone levels and decreases your fertility, increases your risk for gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), and can cause many other health problems.
However, it’s important to know that being underweight, or losing too much weight too fast, can also affect fertility. So if you’re overweight and want to lose some weight to get healthier, going on a “crash diet” and restricting your food intake too severely could also prevent you from getting pregnant. We emphasize a common-sense approach; we want you to create healthy habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life, not extreme changes that will quickly feel too restrictive.
Of course, maintaining a healthy weight is linked with nutrition. But your weight is not the only important thing about your diet; you need to be getting enough nutrients (including vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats) from your food to be able to get – and stay – pregnant. Yes, your prenatal vitamin helps, but getting your nutrients from your food is the healthiest and most natural way to ensure the health of yourself and your baby.
Our health and lifestyle coach can help you learn how to create a food plan that contains enough of all of the important nutrients. Don’t worry; it won’t be overly restrictive or require you to obsess about food. Just a few simple guidelines will help you ensure that you’re getting enough of the nutrients you need.
Getting enough exercise aids your general health and helps your fertility. However, going overboard and exercising too much can actually damage your fertility and your health. Women who over-exercise (such as those playing competitive sports) sometimes stop having periods, which is a sign that their hormones are altered and they’re not fertile. So, while we do encourage you to exercise moderately, we also encourage you to rest adequately and not overdo it.
Infertility itself is stressful, and nearly everyone has plenty of other sources of stress in their lives (job, traffic, finances…). Parenting is also stressful at times, and while parents say that the joy of parenting is worthwhile, it’s still important to learn to control stress in order to be the best parent you can be. In addition, higher levels of stress have been linked to infertility, so learning to control your stress can help you to become a parent.
We know that “stress management” is difficult for most people. The idea of controlling stress may even itself become stressful! That’s why we will refer you to professionals in counseling and mental health to help you develop lifestyle habits that reduce stress. With assistance you can learn proven techniques that you can use to manage difficult emotions and stay more calm and joyous amidst challenging circumstances.