Recent Developments in Fertility Research

Keeping Your Eggs Unscrambled: Putting Motherhood on Ice

By Plum – The Pregnancy & Parenting Guide for Women

You can’t do much to stop yourself from getting older, but there are other things your can do–and avoid doing–that will increase your chances of being able to have a baby later in life.

  • Stop smoking. Not only are cigarettes a terrible idea while you are pregnant, they can also prevent you from conceiving in the first place. The nicotine and other chemicals they contain interfere with your body’s production of estrogen, which regulates ovulation, and can make your eggs more likely to have genetic abnormalities. Smoking is also linked to early menopause. The good news is that at least some of the damage can be reversed if you quit.
  • Watch you weight–both ways. Turns out you can be too thin. Nearly one in every eight cases of infertility is caused by a woman weighing too much or too little. Thanks to the body’s complex chemistry, thin women may have too little estrogen and obese ones too much; either can cause failure to ovulate.
  • Have safe sex when you’re not trying to conceive. Not only for the obvious reason of avoiding unwanted pregnancy, but because infection with sexually transmitted diseases can damage your fallopian tubes and shut down your chances of ever getting pregnant.
  • Exercise and eat right. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who exercised regularly ate balanced diets were significantly less likely to suffer ovulatory disorders. That means avoiding trans fats and sugary sodas, getting more protein from beans, nuts, and vegetables instead of meat, eating whole grains, and, happily, indulging in the occasional full-fat dairy product. The study is the basis for the new book, The Fertility Diet (McGraw-Hill, 2007) by Jorge Chavarro, MD, Walter C. Willett, MD, and Patrick J. Skerret.

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