Do you know that as a woman, your diet can keep you from getting pregnant? Infertility is one of the major challenges faced in the modern world today and the quality of one’s diet plays a major role when it comes to having a healthy body as well as a healthy reproductive system. The essential building blocks for hormones are found in the foods consumed daily. Also, the antioxidants which help to protect the egg from free radicals are also found in the foods that are consumed as well. Just as nutrients in food can be helpful for fertility, there are some foods and chemicals additives in foods that can be harmful for your health and fertility.
Infertility defined by the World Health Organization is “A disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”
An estimated 34 million women, predominantly from developing countries have infertility challenges which resulted from maternal sepsis and unsafe abortion (long-term maternal morbidity resulting in a disability). Infertility in women was ranked the 5th highest serious global disability (among populations under the age of 60). There are two types of infertility that may occur in women:
This happens when a woman is unable to ever bear a child, either due to the inability to become pregnant or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth. Primary infertility may also include when women spontaneously miscarry their pregnancy or give birth to still born.
This happens when a woman is unable to bear a child, either due to the inability to become pregnant or the inability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth following a previous pregnancy or a previous ability to carry a pregnancy to a live birth. Secondary infertility may also refer to those who can no longer carry a pregnancy to a live birth (those who repeatedly spontaneously miscarry or whose pregnancy results in a stillbirth) following a previous ability to do so.
However, some factors may affect the fertility rate experienced in women. These factors include:
Factors that can affect the fertility rate in women
Age: The age of a woman affects the fertility rate of that woman and this fertility rate starts to drop after the age of 32 years old and more.
Obesity or being overweight: This is one of the principal causes affecting the fertility rate in women. Obesity or being overweight is often found to affect the fertility rate due to the presence of high levels of cholesterol and fatty tissues in obese women.
Eating disorders: Eating disorders may affect the fertility rate in women. Women who become seriously underweight as a result of an eating disorder may have problems of being fertile. It is advisable to stop eating disorders and adopt a proper healthy diet routine/plan.
Being vegan: If a woman is a strict vegan she must ensure to take the adequate amounts of iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamin B-12, otherwise her fertility may become affected.
Smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in women and may also undermine the effects of fertility treatment. If a woman smokes even while she’s pregnant, there is a greater likelihood of her losing the pregnancy (miscarriage).
Consumption of Alcohol: A woman’s fertility rate or even pregnancy can be seriously affected by any amount of alcohol consumption.
Sexually transmitted infection’s (STI’s): STIs are another major problem that affects the fertility rate in women. Some of them may cause infertility in women, for example: chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes. Routine checks should be done and it should be treated as early as possible to prevent further damage of the reproductive organs.
Exposure to chemicals: Exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, metals (lead) and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both women and men.
Over-exercising or not exercising at all: Exercise is good but too much or too little or the absence of it may not be beneficial. It has been said that a woman who exercises for more than seven hours in a week may have ovulation problems. Also not exercising at all or living a sedentary lifestyle may sometimes be linked to lower fertility in both women and men.
Mental stress: Studies have shown that female ovulation and sperm production may be affected by mental stress. If at least one partner is stressed it is possible that the frequency of sexual intercourse is less, which may result in a lower chance of conception.
Practicing a combination of good healthy lifestyle by changing specific aspects of one’s diets, exercising appropriately, taking out time to rest, avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption can help reduce the relative risk of infertility. It is also advisable to eat foods that contain less trans-fat and sugar from carbohydrates, eat more protein from vegetables than from animals, eat more fiber and iron, take more multivitamins, exercise adequately daily and maintain a lower body mass index (BMI).
Culled from The Guardian