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Maybe Baby… AgainMaybe Baby… Again
Planning for numero due? It’s time to practice some self-discipline again by revisiting the right choice of food and lifestyle options.
Now that your precious little one is quickly gaining independence and showing signs of wanting a playmate-cum-accomplice, it is time to relook at pregnancy 101 and put baby-making plans in full swing. However, with a ticking biological clock and a hectic working mum schedule, seeing a positive sign on the pee stick may not happen as quickly as you had hoped. Whatever the case, if you’re hoping to conceive again soon, here are some tips to prepare you for another bun in the oven:
As soon as your firstborn childstopped breastfeeding, you were clinking wine glasses and indulging in overdue champagne brunches with girlfriends. After all, motherhood hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park and you’ve been faithfully steering clear of boozeduring the gestational months. But now that it’s time to plan for another baby, you need to stow away those wine glasses again – not just from you but from your husband as well.
Dr Paul Tseng, Fertility Specialist at Virtus Fertility Centre, elaborates, “Studies have shown that binge or excessive consumption of alcohol by both the male and female partners can affect fertility. For a better chance of conceiving and preserving fertility, it is recommended to omit alcohol consumption from lifestyle habits. Studies have indicated that even drinking alcohol in moderation can reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving.”
Coffee looks like the culpable scapegoat where caffeinated beverages are concerned. But many tend to forget that caffeine is also found in tea, chocolates, cola, and energy drinks. In general, Dr Tseng comments, caffeine should be taken in moderation. If you’re planning to conceive, it is recommended that you consume no more than 300 mg daily. That works out to be about two cups of coffee a day. “While the connection between caffeine intake and fertility is still unclear, multiple studies have suggested that caffeine consumption increases the length of time it takes to conceive.”
If you’re a working mother with an active toothy toddler, it can be difficult to keep stress at bay. After all, there is always an endless stream of deadlines at work;you’ve hardly put back the hours from your maternity leave (cue colleagues with judgemental eyes); and all the while, you’re worrying about when your child is going to fall ill andlead to you taking another day off work. Heck, just thinking about it and the prospects of juggling work and motherhood is stressful enough to mess up your ovulation.For men too, stress can result in lower sperm count.
There are many ways to keep stress levels low. Start by being aware of your own breathing. Take slow deep breaths and shut out all the distractions for a few minutes each day.Or make time for a bubble bath, a massage, an hour-long meditation, or simply dance in the shower. You know what pushes your own relaxation buttons best.
Whether it’s a hot and heavy aerobics workout or a tranquilizing yoga session, you just need to break a sweat and get that heart pumping with happy hormones. You must remember how hard your body worked during that first pregnancy, walking around with a growing weight cemented around your tummy. Exercise helps to strengthen core muscles, build endurance and lower your risk of diseases – all of which are essential for pregnancy. Exercise also helps to keep your weight in check. A fluctuating waistline can affect your chances of pregnancy due to unstable estrogen levels and egg release.
Dr Tseng emphasizes that consumption of wholesome foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help to boost fertility. “Broccoli, spinach, asparagus as well as romaine lettuce are some of the greens that contain a high amount of folate, a type of Vitamin B which could help to improve ovulation and lower the risk of neural tube birth defects.”
“Salmon fish,” he adds,“is another essential food for women trying to conceive as it is high in selenium, a mineral which produces antioxidants to protect the egg from free radicals as well as prevent chromosome breakage, one of the reasons behind miscarriages and birth defects.”
In essence, a healthy reproductive system stems from a healthy and balanced lifestyle. As a general rule of thumb, giving up smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight with the help of moderate exercise, as well as having a balanced diet are the main factors to boost your fertility. These tips are as important to women as they are to men, and when both parties put in some effort to stay healthy, you should be starting that diaper-changing and milk-warming routine again in no time.
“Are prenatal vitamins necessary if I’m trying to conceive?”
Dr Tseng says that health supplements act as a safety net to support a healthy conception, but are usually not necessary if one maintains a balanced and healthy diet. However, if you wish to consume supplements as part of your daily diet, be sure to include these crucial ones: