Women’s Health Spotlighted in May:
Medfem Shares Reproductive Health Tips
Women’s health is under the spotlight this month, with both National Women’s Health Week and the International Day of Action for Women’s Health being observed annually in May.
At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we are passionate about women’s good health, because we know how crucial general good health is for reproductive health and fertility, and the ability to conceive and to successfully carry a pregnancy to term. For this reason, we share some expert health tips to help women improve their reproductive – and overall – health.
In May, both National Women’s Health Week and the International Day of Action for Women’s Health are observed, placing the spotlight firmly on good health for women.
28 May was declared as International Day of Action for Women’s Health in 1987, during a reunion of members of Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR). In 1999, the day was also officially recognised by the government of South Africa.
Established in 1984 in the Netherlands, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) has 30 years’ experience of mobilising and campaigning for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and justice. It has over 1000 individual and organisational members in 105 countries.
On International Day of Action for Women’s Health, SRHR activists and allies take action, mobilise, and amplify demands for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all #SRHR4ALL. The 2023 Call to Action is: “Our Voices, Our Actions, Our Demand: Uphold women’s health and rights now!”
At Medfem, we know that #WomensHealthMatters – and also just how much it matters when it comes to fertility and the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. In this article we share expert advice from the European Fertility Society (EFS), which recently published advice on diet and lifestyle factors that can help couples to improve women’s chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy in their Fertility Patients Care Guidance. You can download a pocket version from www.europeanfertilitysociety.com.
The impact of general health on fertility
Because conception and a healthy pregnancy requires a healthy egg and healthy sperm, the good health of both partners in a couple is important for a healthy pregnancy.
It is also well-established scientifically that various lifestyle-related factors such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse and heavy alcohol consumption are known to have a negative impact on women’s fertility, as well as the success of Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) or fertility treatments.
Other lifestyle habits may also adversely affect reproductive health, such as stress, a lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle or over-exercising, and poor nutrition.
Fortunately, making positive changes will improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Below are some of the most important steps to start with, provided by the European Fertility Society (EFS).
1. Eliminate smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
Smoking has major adverse effects on the general health of women and on quality of their eggs and uterine environment. Alcohol also reduces fertility in both women and men.
2. Manage your weight
If you are overweight, aim for slow, steady weight loss, avoiding fad diets and following instead a low-fat diet, with limited carbohydrate (potatoes, pasta, rice, beans). Aim to include healthy fats, protein and fibre – such as eggs, poultry, fish, nuts and seeds – as well as all vegetables, in every meal.
If you are underweight, be sure to get medical advice to find out if you could be suffering from a digestive system problem. Just one example is coeliac disease, which can affect nutrient absorption without exhibiting any gastrointestinal symptoms. To improve your weight, choose high calorie, nutritious foods such as nuts, seeds and avocado.
The Mediterranean diet includes many of the types of foods that promote fertility, such as:
* fruits and vegetables
* olive oil
* fish (choose oily fish twice a week)
* herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid include red meat, sweets, and refined flour products like white bread and pasta.
3. Get enough sleep
Seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night is required for optimal health, and people should feel refreshed when waking up.
The following may be helpful for those with sleeping problems:
* establishing a healthy bedtime routine
* meditation apps
* gentle yoga exercises
* turning screens and phones off in the evening
* installing blackout blinds.
4. Get the right exercise
Ideally, you should get gentle exercise, like walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates, for 30-60 minutes daily. Also include some muscle building exercise, because that helps to increase your metabolic rate.
It is important to remember that over-exercising can also have a detrimental impact on a women’s ability to conceive.
5. Avoid toxic exposure
According to The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), toxic environmental agents can affect fertility by changing a woman’s hormones and menstrual cycle, and by causing changes in the development of a fetus or a child. Some of these toxins may pass through a pregnant woman to her baby and can lead to genetic mutations.
These strategies to reduce toxic exposure may help:
* avoiding traffic
* avoiding polluted roads by cycling or walking the scenic route
* using more natural hygiene products and cleaning products
* purchasing an air purifier if living or working in a polluted environment
* reducing the use of plastics such as cling film, plastic food containers or water bottles.
6. Manage autoimmune diseases
Many women suffer from autoimmune diseases such as hyperinsulinemia and hyperprolactinemia, which will certainly negatively impact the quality of their eggs.
For example, high insulin levels have been proven to negatively affect the quality of a women’s eggs, while prolactin reduces the production of hormones critical for a pregnancy, and causes problems with the lining of the uterus.
Addressing autoimmune diseases through lifestyle changes and medications will help ensure more healthy eggs and a healthier womb.
7. Manage stress
It is a known medical fact that stress has an impact on our physical health, and international studies have shown that stress does affect fertility and has an impact on the ability to conceive.
A good starting point is to determine if you or your partner has time urgency perfectionism stress. You can do this free of charge at www.timeurgency.com. If you are suffering from time urgency perfectionism stress, you can download the book Faster, Better, Sicker: Time Urgency Perfectionism Stress and Your Health free at www.timeurgency.com.
8. Get expert medical advice
In addition to the health, diet and lifestyle factors that can affect a women’s fertility, there is also a long list of possible medical causes of infertility among women.
If you are concerned about your fertility, don’t delay! Immediately contact a fertility specialist who will be able to identify the cause of your fertility problem and provide expert information regarding available treatment options.
At Medfem we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:
* World-Class Fertility for Everyone – we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey – It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring – So you may have a fond memory, of a feeling of empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem family
If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
Our Fertility Specialists can also meet with You During a Virtual Consultation Via Zoom or Skype. Click here virtual-consultation to book a virtual consultation now.
We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!