Monday, May 20, 2013

Infertility Awareness Week 2013

Not only is it Victoria Day here in Canada, but it's Infertility Awareness Week!

To kick things off, I've got information on how to maximize your fertility provided by Dr. Victoria Maizes, who has just published a new book: Be Fruitful.

Simple Ways to Increase Fertility
Seven Tips from Victoria Maizes MD
 Age matters! Today many women are putting off child bearing until later in life, and it is affecting their fertility when they do finally start trying to conceive.  Women in their 20s have a 25% chance of conceiving each month while women in their early 40s have only a 5% chance. 
 Don’t stop eating fish!  While women should avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, other fish are safe and very important to the pregnant woman’s diet.  Fish is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical to a baby’s brain development and can even help prevent post-partum depression.
 Ditch the junk food!  Processed foods are filled with exactly the wrong kinds of carbohydrates and fats that lead to high glycemic indices and interfere with fertility.
 Take folic acid!  Taking multivitamins with folic acid BEFORE conception and through the third trimester helps protect against autism as well as neural tube, cardiovascular and limb defects.
 Exercise, but not TOO much!  Too much exercise can cause infertility.  When trying to conceive, it is not the time to train for a marathon, or even participate in very vigorous yoga classes.  Vigorous exercise may temporarily stop menstrual periods or shorten the latter half of the cycle interfering with conception.
 Make your home green!  When planning a pregnancy, either avoid buying new furniture and carpet, or buy green products instead.  Also avoid new paint, which releases high levels of chemicals into your home.
 Be particular about containers!  Stay away from plastic food containers, Tupperware and refillable water bottles while trying to conceive.  Plastic contains BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical that has strong estrogen-like activity that interferes with normal hormone function.  BPA is also found in the lining of many canned goods.
 Stay calm!  Hormonal changes associated with chronic high stress signal the brain that this may be the wrong time to reproduce.  The brain responds by altering its signaling to the ovaries.
 Victoria Maizes MD is the executive director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and a Professor of Medicine and Public Health.  Her newest book is

Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child.  For more information about fertility visit her website or follow her on twitter @vmaizes. 

While all of Dr Maizes suggestions are valid, I do feel it is important to mention that many causes of infertility have nothing to do with lifestyle.  For example, you could be born with a bicornuate uterus or endometriosis, or a genetic disorder that causes sterility.  You could have blocked fallopian tubes or a pituitary tumour.  So please, never ever assume that someone you know facing infertility will overcome the problem just by 'relaxing' or changing their diet.  Often medical intervention is necessary and this is very frustrating and upsetting for individuals struggling with infertility to hear.

Also, while poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can definitely age you prematurely, don't assume that living a really healthy lifestyle can allow you to beat age-related infertility.  Fertility begins to decline after a certain age and often this is genetically determined, so believing you can wait until your 40s to conceive because you eat all organic food and do yoga is simply wishful thinking.

Please visit the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada for more information and resources and check out this very short awesome video:

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