Fertility can be affected by many factors, including lifestyle. So read on to find out how to maximise your chance of having a baby.
Having children is often taken for granted by couples as a natural progression of their lives. But becoming a mum or a dad is not always straightforward. Dr Vinita Tyagi, a gynaecologist at Al Hayat International Hospital in Muscat, has a Diploma in Reproductive Medicine. Here, she discusses how prospective parents can improve their chances of having a baby:
A person’s lifestyle can affect his or her life in many respects, including fertility. However, by modifying habits, a couple can conceive without undergoing therapy. I have seen many couples conceiving simply by adopting a better lifestyle and following the laws of nature.
Some patients are unaware of the effects that advancing age can have on their fertility, and often start planning a pregnancy in their late 30s. Age is a biological phenomenon that definitely affects females but does not spare males either. When a man passes 40, there is a risk of an impaired quality of sperm due to damage to DNA. Through various lifestyle modifications and artificial reproductive techniques, this can be overcome.
Hormone production also changes as a man ages. The children of older fathers can show a high prevalence of genetic abnormalities, childhood cancers and several neuropsychiatric disorders. Women are born with a fixed set of ova in their ovaries. As they ovulate these ova are lost and in their early 40s their reserve is limited and the eggs produced are of poor quality. Advanced maternal age is associated with Down’s Syndrome and birth defects along with many obstetrics complications.
These ageing women can often be diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis.
Obesity affects fertility in several ways and is associated with increased complications during pregnancy and during delivery.
A high BMI is associated with polycystic disease, which is a cause of infertility. Such women do not ovulate regularly and they show signs of androgen excess such as increased hair growth on the face and body, acne and obesity. Their fatty tissue starts producing extra estrogen, which can be converted to testosterone, a male hormone. They have insulin insensitivity, which can cause hyperglycaemia and eventually, diabetes.
Diabetes is a known cause of chromosomal anomalies so women are counselled to control diabetes at least six months before getting pregnant. They should start folic acid supplements and normalise their BMI. There are many medical reports that high BMI is associated with congenital malformations in the baby.
Too much caffeine is associated with infertility. Certain environmental toxins such as lead, certain radiations like industrial microwave, pesticides, and carbon monoxide from vehicle exhausts all have negative effects on fertility.
Psychological stress can also be a factor. Certain hormones produced during stress can affect the quality of sperms and ova.
a) For patients – do not defer child bearing
b) For doctors – do not defer fertility treatment
Advice for assisted reproduction to those who are over 38 years old and want to conceive:
*Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
*Regular moderate exercise and meditation for stress reduction,
* Adopt a healthy diet, rich in Vitamin C, folic acid and Omega 3 fatty acid and DHA.
* Al Hayat International Hospital, Gynaecology department’s OPD is open from 9am-9pm, Seven days a week (all 365 days).
For appointments, 2200 4000.