Having a baby features highly on the list of New Year’s resolutions for many people so leading Australian fertility group Genea has put together its Top 5 pieces of fertility advice to help.
As we head into 2017, if starting or expanding your family figures into your plans, our fertility related resolutions may be the kick-start you need to help you realise your dreams.
1. Be kind to yourself
It sounds like such a simplistic statement. Be kind. How is that going to help me succeed you might be asking. Well it is simple but that simplicity doesn’t make it any less important.
As Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Devora Lieberman says, women are often their own harshest critics.
"They blame themselves for things that are beyond their control, like infertility," Dr Lieberman says.
Instead women should cut themselves a break and give kindness a try.
"Imagine that your best friend is going through what you are. How would you treat her? With love and compassion, of course. You should give yourself nothing less."
Make a resolution to take better care of yourself. Make the time to do things you love, spoil yourself with activities that are good for your mental health.
2. Stay in the healthy weight range
Alongside your mental and emotional health, to optimise your fertility it’s important that you are in the best physical health possible. In the same way you are nourishing your soul with things you love, learn to nourish your body with healthy foods.
Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Antony Lighten explains the importance of staying in the healthy weight range: "Women who are underweight or overweight have a much lower chance of conceiving and having a successful pregnancy".
"A healthy weight range is a BMI of 20 to 25 for white Australian women. For Indian and Asian women, the healthy BMI range is 18 to 23," Dr Lighten says.
While it’s fine to indulge yourself every so often, remember that some foods can be detrimental to your chance of getting pregnant. Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Natasha Andreadis recommends quitting added and refined sugar.
"New research out of Brazil has found that egg quality was negatively impacted by regular diet soft drink consumption and adding sugar to coffee," Dr Andreadis says.
3. Stick to the ‘just right’ principle for exercise
Exercise is good right? It sure is. Moving your body is essential for mental and physical wellbeing. But you can have too much of a good thing and Dr Lighten says there is such a thing as too much exercise when you are trying to conceive through IVF.
"Women who do more than three hours of cardiovascular exercise per week have a 40 per cent lower chance of taking home a baby from an IVF cycle*," Dr Lighten explains.
"Given this startling statistic, it is probably best to stick to walking and gentle exercise such as yoga rather than jogging or Boot Camp."
4. Stop comparing your real life to everyone else’s highlight reel
When you’re inundated by images of perfect families having perfect weekends with perfect children cuddled by perfect parents, it can be challenging to keep your emotions in check about your own situation and the place you wish you were. But the not so secret secret is that no one’s life is Instagram perfect and the people posting these magazine worthy photos have just as many niggles and worries and struggles as you do. So resolve to remember that their “behind the scenes” is probably just like yours.
5. Make a plan
Whether you’ve just started thinking about having a baby, you’ve been trying for a while or you are already having fertility treatment, to give yourself the best chance of achieving your goal of a baby is to make a plan. You are not alone, one in six Australians will struggle to conceive at some point and there are many highly qualified experts available to help regardless of where you are on your journey.
If you’re just starting out consider what you and your partner need to do to get yourselves in the best shape for conception.
If you’ve been trying for a while, remember that 12 months of regular, unprotected sex without success is an indication that you have a fertility issue and it’s time to seek help. The good news is that asking for help doesn’t put you on a fast track to IVF. Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Anthony Marren says that the focus of your first fertility appointment is information.
"The main aim of your fertility appointment is to empower you by the provision of information," Dr Marren says.
If you’re already having fertility treatment but you haven’t had success yet, perhaps it’s time to seek a second opinion. Many of Genea’s Fertility Specialists are experts in reassessing your situation to develop a new treatment plan.
If you’d like help making a plan, get in touch for an obligation free conversation with Genea’s Fertility Advisor.
*Study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Oct 2006.
The information in this article does not replace medical advice. Medical and scientific information may or may not be relevant to your own circumstances and should always be discussed with your own doctor before you act on it.
Find your nearest Genea Fertility Specialist