Healthy Lifestyle Tips to help improve Barbadians’ chances at making babies
When you are trying to conceive there are many factors in your everyday lives that can impact your fertility and by making some simple lifestyle choices you can greatly improve your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
Here are some tips from the medical team at Barbados Fertility Centre on how to improve your lifestyle:
Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight or maintain your weight regular exercise will help your metabolism, however you need to exercise in moderation to increase your fertility. Moderate exercise during pregnancy has been shown to be beneficial. If you are already in an exercise program, we encourage you to continue. However, the medications used to stimulate the ovaries as part of your treatment can cause temporary large ovarian follicles. Therefore, we advise you to avoid high-impact activities such as running and step aerobics. Also, extreme strenuous exercise may lead to a complete disruption of the menstrual cycle. Activities such as swimming, bicycle riding, walking, and using the treadmill are encouraged.
HEALTHY MIND BODY PROGRAMME
When couples undergo fertility treatment at Barbados Fertility Centre we offer a Healthy Mind Body Programme so that patients are at their optimum of relaxation to receive treatment and increase their chance of a successful outcome. The natural beauty of Barbados forces couples to unwind, we then treat them both medically and holistically. The Healthy Mind Body Programme incorporates massage for him and her, acupuncture, reflexology and a session with a trained counsellor on dealing with the negative emotions associated with IVF. Holistic treatments are timed around medical procedures to have maximum impact on a patients well being, for example our patients receive acupuncture one hour prior to embryo transfer and then again one hour afterwards. We do everything we can to make sure our patients have the best experience whilst undergoing treatment at Barbados Fertility Centre.
You should discuss all medications that you are taking with your Barbados Fertility Centre physician. It is also important to contact the physician who originally prescribed your mediations to let them know that you are attempting to get pregnant. You should avoid taking nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs around the time of ovulation since these medications can interfere with ovulation and implantation. Paracetamol is a safe alternative. Taking herbal remedies should be discussed with your fertility specialist first, since their effect on fertility and pregnancy is unknown.
RECREATIONAL DRUG USE
The use of recreational drugs is inadvisable both while attempting to conceive and during pregnancy. Drug use by a woman during pregnancy, such as cocaine and heroin, may lead to severe withdrawal reactions in the baby after it is born. Some drugs, such as marijuana, has been shown to decrease sperm production. The use of intravenous drugs increases the risk of acquiring an HIV or hepatitis infection.
ROUTINE GYNAECOLOGICAL CARE
During your infertility treatment, it is important for you to continue your routine care with your gynaecologist or primary care physician. This care should include a yearly blood pressure check, physical examination, pelvic examination and Pap smear. After 40, a woman should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
If you are a smoker then you need to give up to increase your chances of conceiving. Smoking damages the quality of sperm in males and damages the eggs in females. In addition to the detrimental effects on general health such as heart disease, cancer and chronic lung disease, smoking also has a negative impact on fertility. Women who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of premature labor, decreased fetal growth and other complications.
Stress can have a major impact on fertility for both men and women, therefore it is important to try and find ways to alleviate stress in your everyday life, in order to conceive you need your body to be relaxed. Yoga and meditation are great ways to help your body unwind. Stress itself has been linked to infertility in many studies, showing anovulation, a condition where a woman does not ovulate at all.
Research has shown that the stress of infertility is comparable to that for cancer, AIDS and other devastating illnesses. Barbados Fertility Centre recommends to all of our patients that by participating in our Healthy Mind Body Program, they can cope better with the stress of infertility and prepare their body to be at the optimum of relaxation to undergo successful treatment with us. Based upon medical studies it has been shown, that reducing stress may increase your chances of a successful IVF procedure.
We recommend that all women who are attempting to get pregnant take at least 0.4 mg or 400mcg of folic acid per day. Several studies have confirmed that folic acid supplementation started before pregnancy occurs will reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects in infants by almost 50 percent. Neural tube defects are abnormal developments of the spine and skull, such as spina bifida. Multivitamins and prenatal vitamins containing folic acid are available over the counter and should be taken on a daily basis. Prenatal vitamins and over the counter multivitamins contain a safe dose 5000 IU of vitamin A. However, published data has confirmed that excessive intake of vitamin A increases the chance of congenital anomalies. We recommend that daily intake should not exceed 10000 IU.