Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a positive change you can make when undergoing fertility treatment.
To ensure you get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need to help prepare your body for pregnancy, you should include foods from all food groups in your daily diet. Seeing an Accredited Practising Dietitian can help you compare your own dietary patterns with your nutritional needs, taking into account any other medical or nutritional requirements you have (e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome, coeliac disease, vegetarian or vegan diets, diabetes). Being more active and cutting back on alcohol and caffeinated beverages are all helpful changes to make.
Losing weight, if you are above the healthy weight range, is recommended for good health now (and increasing your chances of falling pregnant), as well as for a healthier pregnancy. Research (and experience) tells us there are many effective ways of losing weight, but not all of these methods help us to keep the weight off in the long run or maintain our nutritional stores. Ideally, when losing weight to improve fertility and health, you follow a nutritious, balanced meal plan to ensure your nutrient stores are optimised. Being outside the healthy weight range when you fall pregnant increases your chance of a preterm birth (if underweight) or longer hospital stays, caesarean sections, high blood pressure, and diabetes (if you are above the healthy weight range).
Regular moderate-intensity exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, and has many additional health benefits, including lower stress levels, more energy and better sleep, better bowel habits, better mood, less anxiety, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. To get the most health benefits, a good goal is at least half an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably, all days. You do not have to do it all at once. Your exercise can be spread over the day, in ten minute blocks. Try three ten minute walks, or two fifteen minute periods of activity. Moderate intensity means you are exercising at a comfortable pace. A good guideline is the 'talk test' - you should be able to maintain a conversation easily without being short of breath.
If you haven’t exercised for a long time, if you are very busy, or you find the idea of starting an exercise program daunting, then a great place to start is by increasing your incidental exercise. Incidental exercise means looking for opportunities to move your body during the day when you might otherwise take an easier way out. Wearing a pedometer and recording the number of steps at the end of the day is a great way to challenge yourself to move more. Breaking up your sitting time is also important – don't sit for longer than 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
We have outlined some general healthy lifestyle information above. You might also choose to review your nutritional needs or get some advice about tailoring information to your lifestyle and preferences during an appointment with a specialist women’s health dietitian at Mater Health and Wellness. Topics we can discuss with you include:
To make an appointment with a Mater Health and Wellness dietitian please phone 07 3163 6000