Achieve Optimal Health Before Treatment
As you prepare your body for fertility treatment, it’s important to remember this is a time for nurturing and nourishing. There are a few fertility-friendly lifestyle modification ideas that may help you de-stress, eat better, and manage your weight.
Optimal Fertility Health Tip #1: Be Physically Active.
At the Wellness Center at Shady Grove Fertility we encourage regular low-impact physical activity and moderate resistance weight training, which promotes weight management by helping reduce fat tissue and build lean body mass (muscle). Regular exercise is also associated with stress reduction and blood sugar regulation. While 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day has been shown to reduce diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer risks, one study found that spreading out physical activity (5-min micro-bouts of moderate-intensity walking) multiple times throughout the day improved mood, decreased feelings of fatigue, and reduced food cravings at the end of the day. There is other research that indicates physical activity is the ‘first line’ of therapy for PCOS—to not only help manage weight, but to also help maintain blood sugar levels and promote more regular ovulation. So get outside and enjoy a brisk walk, leisurely bike ride, scenic hike, or refreshing swim. Your mind and body will thank you!
Optimal Fertility Health Tip #2: Choose Fresh Produce.
Nature’s bounty has much to offer us in the way of fertility-enhancing nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with easily absorbable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber for a satisfying natural energy boost. It is well known that women should consume adequate amounts of the B vitamin folate (600 mcg/day) during preconception and pregnancy to help promote fetal brain development and prevent neural tube defects. But did you know there are many other important vitamins and minerals that can enhance fertility too?
– Other B vitamins, like B6 and B12, are essential for hormone regulation and have been associated with lower risk for ovulatory infertility. A recent study even found that higher serum concentrations of Folate and vitamin B12 before assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment was associated with higher live birth rates. Women can get their fill of B vitamins through whole grains, legumes (starchy beans), meats/poultry, fruits, vegetables, and eggs.
– Vitamins C and E are both powerful antioxidants found in and around follicles (eggs) helping to reduce oxidative stress within the ovary. While most people associate citrus as being high in vitamin C, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and leafy greens are also wonderful sources of the vitamin. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is a fat-soluble vitamin, found in nuts/seeds and avocados.
With many different brands of vitamins on the market, it can be confusing to know which brand is most reputable when it comes to preconception and specialized vitamins. For this reason, Shady Grove Fertility recommends to patients, Theralogix, a nutritional science company that has proven to share many of the same values as Shady Grove Fertility when it comes to caring for our patients. Evidence-based medicine has always guided the medical recommendations made by SGF physicians, which is why we have partnered with Theralogix, since their nutritional supplements are based on scientific evidence.
Optimal Fertility Health Tip #3: Stay Hydrated.
With increased physical activity and added fiber from fresh produce, it is imperative to stay hydrated. The adult human body is nearly 60 percent water. This helps explain why even minor dehydration can lead to headaches, difficulty focusing, dizziness, constipation, fatigue, and muscle stiffness and cramps. Of course we need fluid for general hydration (especially in times of increased fluid loss like exercise) but we also need fluid for detoxification, digestion, and metabolism of food, and to lubricate our mucus membranes, muscles, and joints. We recommend shying away from sugary and artificially sweetened beverages. But don’t let that discourage you from being creative and jazzing up your hydrating beverage. Try adding a twist of fresh citrus, ¼ cup sliced fruit, a tablespoon of fresh fruit puree, or maybe even throw some sliced cucumber or mint into your water or seltzer for a refreshing treat.
Optimal Fertility Health Tip #4: Find Balance.
Shady Grove Fertility’s Wellness Center offers complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling that are designed to treat the “whole patient.”
Our recommended nutritional supplement, Theralogix, coupled with our Wellness Center services are designed to help patients achieve optimal fertility health before and during treatment. These services and supplements do not replace advance reproductive technology. Wellness Center appointments are available in our Rockville, MD, K-Street Washington, D.C., and Fair Oaks, VA locations.