I’m giving up coffee! This is not as simple as it may seem. First, coffee is part of my spiritual practice; I ALWAYS drink make that “drank” coffee when I write. You can bet seven children’s novels, an adult novel, countless short stories and op-ed essays on that. Interestingly, I don’t need it or want it at any other time of the day, but in the morning, when I’m writing, nothing is nicer than a steaming cup of java.
Ob/Gyns have long advocated for future moms to start eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables before becoming pregnant, and to bump up their intake of iron and folic acid (a B vitamin to help prevent neurological birth defects that may occur in the first three months of pregnancy). Now, there is a strong case to be made that couples struggling with infertility can benefit from dietary changes.
You eat a giant bagel and wash it down with an extra large coffee mixed with plenty of cream and sugar. Then you spend the next 6-plus hours stuck at your computer to make a pressing deadline. Your regular workout? There is no time. And when the day finally ends, you unwind by staying up to watch The Tonight Show or Conan and only drop off when full fatigue sets in.
Trying to conceive? Gearing up for fertility treatment? Surely you are taking all steps possible to get your body ready for the journey to parenthood. But, have you given enough thought to the amount of folic acid in your prenatal vitamin?
Infertility is a growing problem in the United States. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) reports that one in six U.S. couples have difficulty conceiving a child. Infertility has numerous causes, involving both male and female health problems. In fact, 30 percent of cases are attributed solely to male causes and another 30 percent are attributed to solely female causes. There are some steps you can take -- naturally -- that may boost your ability to get pregnant.
Exercise has a variety of effects on the body, so it’s no wonder that it can also play a role in fertility. Too much exercise, and fertility levels can drop greatly, especially if you’re underweight. On the flip side, too little exercise can also lower chances of conceiving, especially if you’re overweight.
Written in Partnership with Prenate, May 6, 2015
All women of childbearing age are encouraged to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, which can help reduce the risk for birth defects involving the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. The fact that these birth defects occur in the first month of pregnancy – often before a woman even knows she is pregnant – underscores the need for sufficient amounts before you conceive.