It is a fact that many women are choosing to have babies later in life. However as some women have already discovered, getting pregnant is not always as easy as they thought it would be, which is somewhat of a cruel joke, considering how much time and effort most women spend trying not to get pregnant.
As women exercise more choice and control over their fertility, every woman needs to be aware that not all contraceptive and lifestyle choices are equal in ensuring that your body will be in an optimum fertile state when you need it to be. And the older you get the more important it becomes to start taking active fertility protection measures. Some of these measures are:
- Don't smoke - smoking decreases fertility in both sexes. "In fact, a woman can lose so many eggs by smoking that it can speed up her passage into the menopause by 3 years." Stay Fertile Longer by Mary Kittel ISBN 1-4050-3286-3
- Avoid STD's. Sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and ghonorrea can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can cause a great deal of damage to your reproductive organs and fertility. In the case of Chlamydia, 3 out of 4 infected women don't even know they have it. If you have casual sexual relationships use condoms and get checked up regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight for your height. Both being underweight or over weight can lead to fertility difficulties.
- Take care of your Immune System, which will in turn look after your hormonal system. The following is a brief list of the basic nutrional do's and don'ts.
- Healthy diet - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (you've heard it all before)
- Reduce caffeine - general guidelines less than 2 cups of brewed coffee per day (or equivalent in cola, chocolate, tea). If you are trying to conceive - stop altogether.
- Drink alcohol sensibly, don't drink too much, don't binge drink.
- Avoid recreational and some prescription drugs.
- Supplement wisely.
- Exercise regularly - walk, swim, yoga, belly dance - whatever.
- Avoid exposure to chemicals, use natural products on your skin, for menstruation, in your home and work environment.
- Reduce your stress and avoid burnout. Have fun, have time out for yourself - go on / have regular holidays. Fatigued, exhausted bodies do not have the resources to have babies.
- Avoid unnecessary pelvic surgery.
- Consider carefully your choice of contraception. Ideally if you are looking to have babies, it is best to avoid the many types hormonal contraception as these methods are potentially the most harmful to your body and your fertility. On the flip side however, they can be the most reliable form of contraception for many. Every woman has to make a choice about what will suit her lifestyle and a woman in her late teens and twenties has different issues to consider than a woman in her thirties.
If you are younger - 18 - 30 years of age, and know that having a baby is still 5 years down the track then hormonal contraception may be a good choice for you. In this is the case - I think it is better to choose the Pill rather than Depo Provera or Implants as the latter are much longer lasting drugs, and have a greater potential to compromise natural hormonal function. It takes a lot longer to get the effects out Depo out of your system. That being said if you are using the Pill and you do not have a regular sexual partner - remember to use condoms.
If you are older 30 plus, and having a baby is important to you in the next few years, then its probably time to come off the Pill, and start using non hormonal contraception like the diaphram, condoms, natural fertility methods. This way, you will give yourself lots of time to establish a healthy natural hormonal system and menstrual cycle without the pressure of having to conceive quickly.
That's basically it - all the things that contribute to a happy healthy body will ensure that your body remains in tip top shape fertility wise.
I gratefully acknowledge the book "Stay Fertile Longer" by Mary Kittel as a source of inspiration for this months newsletter. I found it at my local library yesterday and it provides lots of good detailed informtion. We hope to stock the book onsite in the next month or so.
Written by Nadia MacLeod