Tune in with Dr. Serena Chen, Director for the Division of Reproductive Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas as she delves into the impact of nutrition, exercise, and self-care on fertility. She is joined by Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, along with Jeanne Pettrucci, MS, RDN, the founder of Living Plate. The three women discuss numerous ways in which you can go about preparing your body prior to pregnancy, in addition to exploring common myths regarding diet and fertility.
The dos and don’ts of nutritious eating prior to and during pregnancy seem to be ever changing but the idea that has remained constant is that a healthy diet contributes directly to a healthy pregnancy. According to Dr. Chen, there is some truth behind the fact that your diet can make you infertile. For example, obesity is one of the top causes for infertility in individuals. It has the ability to change the hormone levels in an individual and can actively cause damage to your tissues. This goes for both females and males. Diet has an effect on the fertility of both you and your partner. Additionally, while regular, moderate exercise 3-4 times a week is highly encouraged, speak to your doctor about what level of activity is right for you.
Age and physical condition are frequently the #1 and #2 determinants of an individual’s fertility and two things patients are in control of are their nutrition and their exercise. Healthy eating and maintaining an active lifestyle can slow your biological clock in various parts of your body. Women interested in becoming pregnant should be eating for their baby before even becoming pregnant. Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in folate such as asparagus, oranges, and leafy greens are key to a well-rounded diet. In addition, don’t shy away from the healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds! Jeanne Pettrucci claims that women embarking on a pregnancy journey should stick to a low glycemic index diet, one that maintains their overall blood sugar. This means consuming more whole foods and less processed foods. Have your diet contain 75% fruits and vegetables and shop for foods that are high in protein. Reach for fruits, broccoli, and nuts!
The takeaway message for individuals interested in beginning a pregnancy is to watch your nutrition, get sleep and exercise, and communicate with your health care professionals. The equation is simple: improved nutrition + improved weight = improved fertility.