Happy New Year! Like many of us, perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to make 2017 a healthier year.
We are on board with that resolution and are here to support you in those efforts.
Achieving and maintaining a normal weight (a body mass index, or BMI, of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2) is one of the best things you can do as you prepare for a future pregnancy. Most people know that being overweight or obese can result in health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. What many women don’t know is that excess body weight also has an impact on getting pregnant.
Being overweight can result in ovulatory dysfunction and infertility, as well as an increased risk of miscarriage. Being overweight is also associated with pregnancy complications including high blood pressure, diabetes and the possible need for C-section delivery. There is also some evidence that in women who are overweight or obese, the risk of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF) increases with increasing BMI.
All of those facts make for great motivation! The best time to lose that excess weight is now with the start of the new year.
Research has shown that it is safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 20-30 minutes on most days of the week. If your ultimate goal is getting pregnant, then why not start now?
The beginning of a new year is a great time to get in shape, and there are lots of fun ways to do it. Enjoy the winter weather? Bundle up for a brisk walk, build a snowman or try cross-country skiing. Can’t wait for summer? Try working up a sweat in a yoga class, or even doing an exercise video in your living room.
People are often more motivated to exercise when they’ve made a commitment to others. Make plans with friends to go for a walk or to meet for an exercise class. You’re more likely to show up and will have more fun doing it when you can catch up with a friend at the same time. A little friendly competition can be helpful too, and now with so many smartphone fitness apps it is easy to share your progress.
My sister and I have challenged each other to a New Year’s “Fitbit” competition, where we will be tracking the number of steps we take daily. We will monitor each other’s progress on our Fitbit apps to make sure we each reach our goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you see me walking in circles around the Fertility Center, you will know why!
Another healthy behavior to improve fertility
We often focus on diet and exercise, but let’s not forget the importance of other healthy behaviors. For example, if you smoke, make 2017 the year you quit. Smoking increases the risk of many diseases, including cancers, as well as pregnancy complications.
But here’s some good news: While smoking has been associated with decreased fertility, this can be reversed within a year of stopping!
Gentlemen, all of this applies to you as well. Male factor infertility is often the source of a couple’s infertility and a healthy body weight and lifestyle choices are just as important for men.
Here’s to a happier, healthier, pregnant you in 2017.