If you want to get pregnant, you need your ovaries and eggs to be healthy.
Congratulations if you and your husband have decided to start a family or expand yours! But ﬁrst, make sure your body is primed for conception by taking care of your ovaries.
They are a cornerstone of fertility and can have a big impact on whether or not you’re able to get pregnant. Dr Fong Yang, a fertility specialist at Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore, explains: “A woman’s fertility and reproductive health is largely dependent on the state of her ovaries. Women struggling to conceive are likely to have poor egg conditions, and will need to pay closer attention to the various factors that can improve egg health for a viable pregnancy.”
If you and your partner have been trying for some time with no success, don’t fret. There are many ways to boost the heatlh of your ovaries and improve egg quality to optimise fertility. Here are some tips from Virtus Fertility Centre on improving your ovarian health.
1 EAT AND LIVE WELL
Keeping your mind and body healthy is of utmost importance since your eggs develop and mature on a monthly basis. Fuel your ovarian health by eating a nutrient-rich diet and drinking at least eight glasses of puriﬁed water daily. And make sure you get enough vitamin A and D, as well as omega-3 from your food.
Vitamin A helps to kick-start the cell division process in the production of eggs. Foods containing vitamin A include eggs, milk, spinach, pumpkin and carrots. However, as it can be toxic in high doses, do not exceed the recommended daily allowance especially when taking it in the form of supplements or pills.
Vitamin D is not only beneﬁcial to bone health, but it also plays a critical role in ovarian health by regulating the levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) that can assess a woman’s ovarian reserve. Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, mushrooms and eggs.
Besides being heart-friendly, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in membrane ﬂuidity and cell health to protect against oxidative damage and promote ovarian health. Sources include salmon, mackerel, walnuts and soybeans.
Apart from eating well, schedule regular sweat sessions, too. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends getting in at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week for a healthier you. Doing so will reduce your risk of chronic diseases and obesity. Aim to do a mix of cardiovascular and strength-based workouts.
2 KICK BAD HABITS
If you’re a smoker, it’s time to stop. Smoking decreases the ﬂow of blood and oxygen to all parts of the body, including the ovaries. This could lead to an increased rate of genetic damage to the eggs and a heightened risk of miscarriages.
It’s also wise to limit your caffeine consumption to no more than two cups of coffee or ﬁve cups of tea a day. Abstaining from alcohol is also highly encouraged.
3 MONITOR YOUR PERIODS
Irregular menstrual cycles are an indicator that something’s not right. If this is accompanied by increased facial and body hair growth, unexplained weight gain or difficulties in getting pregnant, seek professional help.
One of the most common ovarian disorders that affects roughly ﬁve to 15 percent of women in Singapore is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It can also lead to infertility as a patient’s ovaries will contain small cysts or follicles, making them unable to produce healthy eggs.
While there is no cure for PCOS, the most common treatment is an ovulation induction process where a woman is prescribed an oral medicine or a series of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) injections. These aim to spur the growth and development of eggs to increase the chances of conception naturally or through artiﬁcial insemination.
SCIENCE SAYS: PUT A PIN IN IT
All the talk about meridians and chakras may make you wonder: is acupuncture for real? Well, it is, according to a new study from LA BioMed, a US non-proﬁt research organisation. When you get pricked, the skin releases nitric oxide, a gas that improves circulation. “This allows a ﬂush of analgesic or sensitising substances, which contribute to beneﬁts like pain relief,” says Dr Sheng-Xing Ma, the lead author. Using a heating pad afterwards further increases the release of nitric oxide.
ASK THE EXPERT
How do you deal with friends who don’t support your healthy lifestyle?
“First, explain that your aim in progressing your health is to assist you in many ways, including making you a better friend. But you don’t want any obstacles in your life that will keep you from pursuing what’s best for you, and this includes people,” says Jen Widerstrom, celebrity trainer, life coach and US Shape advisory board member.
“It could be that those unsupportive friends are struggling with their own motivational issues and your success just highlights their struggles. If they’re on board with a happy, healthy you, keep ’em. If not, time to drop ’em.”
Compared with sedentary individuals, women who ran for this long ﬁve times a week reduced cellular ageing by nine years, a new study found. Regularly biking for 60 minutes or strength training for 75 has the same effect. One possible reason: exercise reduces the inﬂammation and oxidative stress that can shorten telomeres – the protein caps on the ends of chromosomes that prevent age-accelerating damage.
SOURCE: BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY