I have spoken about the 80/20 rule in a previous article, and how it relates to fertility and life generally. This time, I am more interested in the 80/20 rule as it relates to our health. When I was trying to conceive, the only things that took me to the doctor’s office were my fertility issues, and the only supplements I took were those that could boost my conception chances. I suspect this isn’t peculiar to just me. When couples are trying to conceive, we focus so intensely on our reproductive health, relegating our general health to the background. Now, it’s all about sperm count, ovulation, cervical mucus and all of that. What we probably do not know is that our general health directly impacts our reproductive health. Below are key areas to look into, just to be sure that your general health is not suffering because of your reproductive concerns.
I happen to be an emotional eater; I indulge in comfort food when I am depressed, and you know comfort food is anything but healthy from red velvet cake, to sweets, ice cream, biscuits and chocolate. Often, I would have my mouth full while sitting on the couch and thinking about my life. Diabetes and obesity were none of my business I wanted a baby. Full stop. Luckily, I didn’t go over my BMI, but I thank God for slapping common sense back into me through my husband, that wasn’t finding my eating habits funny. My unhealthy eating was affecting my overall health, because I would get high and hyper from the sugar, and then fall into mood swings and depression when the sugar high was gone. I was lacking protein and vitamins in my diet, because I fed off bad carbs, which made me tired frequently. I even once suffered a dizzy spell, taking a walk one morning. It was at that point that I knew I wasn’t helping myself, and had to pick up my slack and eat more healthy. I slowly broke my relationship with sweets, and started taking more of fruits instead. I am so glad I did, because even now that I am no longer TTC, I still maintain a level of discipline when it comes to my feeding. I want to live long and look good abeg!
Before I got married, I was quite slim, so luckily, all my excessive bad eating didn’t push me out of average BMI, but I did put on some extra pounds. Weight gain can be an indication of a lot of things, and for our general health, it is important that we watch it. It could be a result of bingeing on all the wrong food, or a result of our emotional state. When you are trying to conceive and you no longer throw yourself into such activities as dancing, jogging, and general exercise, apart from gradually going out of shape, your heart might suffer for it too. My best form of exercise is aerobics but trust me, dancing, running or moving around were the least things on my mind when I was trying to conceive. But I soon realised that my heart needed the aerobics! And I also needed to get my groove back, in order to lose the extra pounds I had gained, as well as help my heart pump better. If nothing else motivates you to watch your weight while TTC, remember that you will put on even more weight when you get pregnant, so it’s better to remain trim now, so you don’t get too big when pregnant.
Stress affects our overall health, including reproductive health, but we sometimes ignore the stress triggers when we are trying to conceive. Juggling the home front, work, personal affairs with fertility treatments is not a walk in the park and can lead to an increase in blood pressure. These triggers should not be ignored. It is important to rest and relax as often as we can, be mindful of the emotional strain, and give ourselves space to rejuvenate. This is why it is advised that a woman takes a break after a failed cycle, before trying again. For me, my major stress trigger was worrying and then more worrying. I could spend hours researching and asking questions and simply getting myself worked up, that my whole body ached severely at the end of the day. If you notice that you have been stressed lately, maybe you need to try some simple yoga at home, or go for a massage.
It is important for us and our partners to be attentive to our general health, because it is so easy to get consumed by the cravings for a baby. Our general health and wellbeing affects our fertility too, so the next time you go to the hospital for an Ob/Gyn appointment, check your vitals too and be sure you are doing well generally.
I am just looking out for you, ok? Cheers! 😉
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