It takes just a few minutes to understand the trauma of a woman or a couple who are coping with infertility. Infertility as we know is the inability to get pregnant while fertility is the natural capacity to produce an offspring.
Failure to produce healthy offspring may sound like a minor medical problem but for men and women who are eager to traverse from being infertile to fertile, the journey can get arduous. The Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction has stated that infertility is a rapidly increasing problem. It is currently affecting between ten and fourteen per cent of India’s population, both in urban and rural India.
In recent times, it has been found that women who are in good health condition were unable to get pregnant. What you do everyday can affect your chances of having a baby and this applies to both men and women. In other words, Lifestyle factors do affect fertility and quality of life.
Some of the lifestyle choices that can affect a person’s fertility include:
Sleep disorders- If affinity to TV and late night work schedules are affecting your sleep pattern, it may have a direct effect on various reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone etc.
For women who sleep 4-5 hours at night are likely to increase the risk of infertility as compared to those who sleep for 7-8 hours Unhealthy dietary habit-Poor diet can jeopardize our hormones and eventually lead to ovulatory issues. If carbonated drinks, packaged/processed food is part of your diet plan, then you may have to think twice before reaching for that packet of chips. Women who are planning to get pregnant should include fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as part of their dietary regime to maintain normal BMI, improve reproductive performance and thereby reduce the risk of infertility.
Sedentary lifestyle- Lack of physical activity and exercise is a leading cause of health problems including infertility. Moderate physical activity can promote weight loss, a healthy body and combat stress.
Increasing stress levels-Several studies have indicated that women’s level of day to day stress can affect her chances of getting pregnant. Infertility can cause stress and stress can lead to infertility. It is important to understand the connection. Stress hormones such as cortisol can disrupt the signals between the brain and the ovaries while some experts believe that stress causes the pituitary gland to release higher level of prolactin which may lead to infertility. Practice yoga, meditation or take a walk with your partner to distress.
Lifestyle woes are certainly linked to infertility. Some experts also believe that injectables like anabolic steroids which some people use while gymming can have an adverse impact on fertility. In addition, there is strong evidence to support that alcohol consumption, smoking and drug abuse leads to infertility in both men and women.
Why and when did this change set in? In the fast paced world that we live wherein stress has become an omnipresent factor, people are in a race to lead a comfortable life. In their quest for comfort, they often embrace habits that hamper their physical health and mental well being. Couples who are keen to welcome their bundle of joy, but battling with infertility need to make lifestyle choices to increase their chances of being successful.
Making time for moderate physical exercise, adequate sleep, following a healthy diet and spending quality time with your partner is a healthy step to prevent infertility and improve your mental and emotional health. Lifestyle adjustments are well within our control and all it takes is a will to start healthy habits and kick out the bad ones.
As the old saying goes, ‘The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens’. However, quitting should never be an option especially when infertility is due to lifestyle habits and not clinical factors. Instead, you should resolve to modify your behavior and choose a healthy lifestyle to increase your chances of welcoming a miracle (read baby) into your life.