How I Screwed Up My Fertility
During the three years we struggled to conceive, we didn't understand why we weren't successful. Here are the top 10 ways I supposedly messed up my fertility.
During the three years we struggled to conceive, we didn’t understand why we weren’t successful. Tests came back normal. We were both considered healthy even though I was overweight. We knew my irregular cycles were mostly to blame, but we didn’t know why they were abnormal.
Nothing stood out to us or our doctors at the time other than the suggestion for me to lose some weight. I’m not really sure how we finally “fixed” it, but looking back it’s easy to see all the things I was doing wrong. Some seem kind of obvious now while others… not so much.
Top 10 Ways I (Supposedly) Messed Up My Fertility
1. Smoking. Unfortunately, the stress of my infertility led me to pick up the habit again. I finally quit smoking when I was pregnant, but it decreases fertility in both men and women.
2. Drinking caffeine. I’m not a coffee drinker. My weakness has always been the sweet nectar of Mountain Dew. The amount I used to drink daily was not good for many reasons, including babymaking.
3. Not regulating my blood sugar levels. Most likely related to my weight, we did find that I had an elevated fasting blood sugar level. It’s not the same as being diabetic; however, the issues with insulin resistance and how it affects fertility are the same.
4. Being overweight and not eating my veggies. According to the National Infertility Association, 30% of infertility is due to either being overweight or underweight. Not maintaining a healthy weight affects hormone balance. Losing just 5% of your weight can make a difference. Well, I was certainly overweight and not eating the best. I’m not a big fan of vegetables, but a Mediterranean-style diet could have boosted my fertility.
5. Skipping breakfast. Apparently daily caloric intake isn’t the only concern—when you consume those calories can make a difference. A recent study found that eating more at breakfast (rather than later in the day) can increase a woman’s chance of overcoming infertility issues.
7. Letting my man eat bacon.
8. Being stressed out. Stress at work. Stress about trying to conceive. Stress about stress.
9. Sleeping in. I’m kind of damned if I do, damned if I don’t on this one. Not getting enough sleep is bad for blood sugar regulation, but too much sleep is also linked to decreased fertility. I was quite fond of sleeping in and staying up too late pre-kids.
10. Dressing up like a vampire. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? However, according to Cllr Roger Walters of the Essex County Council, “In past years we have tested plastic [vampire] teeth and found that they were well over the limit for phthalates which can cause reproductive problems in later life if used by children.” Growing up I dressed up like a vampire plenty of times, complete with fake fangs. Who knows what else I was exposed to back then?
Looking back at when we first started trying to get pregnant, my lifestyle habits don’t look so healthy, do they? Since more than one factor contributes to infertility in 25% of infertile couples, it’s really no surprise that we never pinpointed our issue(s). For something so natural for our bodies to do, it is amazing what a game of chance it can be to get pregnant. I only wish I’d known more about how all these factored in three years ago. Perhaps if my doctors asked more lifestyle questions?
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