For women of childbearing age, paying attention to your health is very important not only prior to getting pregnant, but also during your pregnancy. Regular physical activity before pregnancy helps one to reach a fitness level that will support health and maintain a healthy weight through the duration of the pregnancy. Many women looking to get pregnant and even pregnant women find that Fertility Yoga helps the mind, body and soul. A healthy diet also goes hand in hand with an active lifestyle. Below you will find some do’s and don’ts from our very own Marie D. Werner, MD, FACOG, HCLD/TS (ABB). You can also visit our Collaborative Wellness page for additional solutions to help manage stress and maintain balance.

Why is important to start paying attention to your health early when it comes to having kids?

Health and nutrition is important when planning to start a family. Before trying to conceive it may be important to adjust lifestyle habits to get your body baby ready.  Simple adjustments like taking a prenatal vitamin to ensure there is enough folic acid (400mcg daily) in your diet and eating organic foods may be helpful.  If you live or work around toxic chemicals, it may be time to talk with your doctor about safety risks while pregnant.  You also want to make sure any medications you are currently taking are safe during pregnancy and you are up to date on all vaccinations.

What are some health warning signs to pay attention to if you want to have kids someday?

1. Tracking your period is important…and there’s an app for that.

Most women will have their period every 28-30 days.  Keep track of your timing, as this is a good sign ovulation is occurring every month.  If you go months without a period this could indicate an underlying problem such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, so check in with your gynecologist if you are concerned.

2. Mosquito Bites! 

These tricky little pests can have a big impact on the health of a pregnancy and it is important to avoid areas that have mosquitos carrying Zika virus.  Zika virus has been associated with severe birth defects when infection occurs during pregnancy.  If a male partner contracts Zika virus the recommendation is to avoid pregnancy for 6 months.  So protect yourself and your partner by avoiding areas with known transmission from mosquitos to humans and check out for more details if you are planning travel.

3. Extreme Fatigue, unintentional weight gain, and intolerance to changing temperatures

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it could be an early warning sign of an autoimmune disorder.   Thyroid function, for example, is extremely important to regular menstrual cycles and to the health of an early pregnancy, and the good news is that inadequate thyroid function can be easily treated. So if these symptoms sound familiar, see your primary care doctor for a checkup.

4. Bloating and inability to tolerate specific foods (pasta, pizza….gluten!)

Celiac disease is a disorder in which you may have symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, or loss of appetite.  Untreated celiac disease has also been associated with infertility.  Treatment for celiac disease does not require medication, but it does require a big change in the way you eat (no gluten!).  While this may be a tough diet to follow it is very effective in reversing the symptoms of this disease.

5. Guys: low semen volume, difficulty with ejaculation, or testicular pain

Listen up guys!  Your health is important too.  If any of the above symptoms resonant then it would be important to get checked out.  An evaluation with a urologist may be necessary and they may even recommend a semen analysis. Men interested in finding out more information can check out our Options for Men page.

6. Smoking: just don’t do it.

We know that cigarette smoking can have a big impact on both female and male fertility.  In women it has been associated with more rapid ovarian aging and in men it may decrease sperm counts or quality.  In addition, smoking is completely off limits during pregnancy because it has been associated with illness for both moms and infants.  If you are smoking, seek help to quit now.