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education  and
social services

8 Tips to Boost Your Reproductive Health

Are you trying to get pregnant? Here are some tips from one of Mary’s Center’s reproductive health experts, Dr. Prathap Naini.

1.    Take Prenatal Vitamins. Prenatal vitamins are an important tool to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. There are some medical conditions (e.g. Sickle Cell Anemia, Epilepsy) that may require additional supplementation of important vitamins. You should ask your doctor prior to attempting pregnancy if you may need extra vitamins.

2.    Timing, Timing, Timing! Couples seeking pregnancy should have intercourse about every 1 to 2 days in the week leading up to ovulation. Ovulation is when the egg is released by the ovary. This is detected in various ways. Naturally, one can notice a change in mucous secretion during this time frame. Also, a woman’s body releases a large amount of hormone called LH shortly before ovulation. Over the counter ovulation kits help detect this hormone surge. Typically a woman with regular cycles will ovulate in the middle of her cycle.

3.    Don’t Wait Too Long! Young couples are more likely to conceive then older couples. Women over the age of 35 (and men over the age of 50) are less likely to get pregnant than their younger counterparts.

4.    Stop Smoking. Smoking is bad. Really, it is!  Use of tobacco products is detrimental to your health. Many people know that smoking is associated with lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung diseases. However, smoking is also associated with infertility in up to 13% of cases according to a report in the journal Fertility & Sterility. Additionally, smoking is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes such as placental abruption and low birth weight. Smoking should be avoided both in and out of pregnancy.

5.    Watch Your Weight. A healthy lifestyle can improve fertility. Both being underweight and overweight are associated with infertility. There may be some evidence that a diet with more unsaturated fats and low glycemic index foods can improve fertility.

 

Couple jogging to keep fit

 

6.    Don’t Overdo The Exercise. Exercise is good, but too much of a good thing isn’t always better. While a healthy lifestyle can help achieve pregnancy, overly strenuous exercise can reduce fertility. For this reason, some infertility specialists suggest women who are underweight should reduce strenuous exercises to less than 5 hours per week.

7.    Reduce The Booze. Heavy alcohol consumption may reduce fertility. Additionally, alcohol consumption is linked to development of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can lead to developmental and intellectual delays in children. The US Surgeon General recommends that pregnant women should not drink alcohol.   

8.    How Long Should You Try? According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, your highest chances of successes are in the first 3 months of trying to conceive; however the overall rate of conception for young fertile couples is 20-35% in that time frame. This increases to 80% by one year and 90% by two years of attempting pregnancy.

Most experts recommend trying to achieve pregnancy naturally for 1 year prior to seeking a medical evaluation for infertility. However, there may be a few reasons to seek a consultation with a doctor sooner. Women over the age of 35 may need infertility evaluations sooner. Also, if you have any chronic medical conditions, pregnancy may worsen them or they may affect the course of your pregnancy. Consultation prior to conception should be sought for anyone with chronic medical conditions.

If you'd like more information about improving your health, read the Mary’s Center blog for useful health tips.

I also invite you to make Mary’s Center your provider of choice. Call 1-844-796-2797 to make your appointment.

Dr. Prathap Naini, OB/GYN and Director of Women's Health at Mary's CenterAbout Dr. Naini

Dr. Prathap Naini is the Director of Women’s health at Mary’s Center.  He is originally from Rockland County, New York. He studied at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and completed his residency at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Naini received the National Health Service Corps scholarship and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Outstanding Resident in Obstetrics award. His professional interests include family planning, high risk obstetrics, and labor and delivery, while his personal interests include cooking, film and stand-up comedy.

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