There are eight different stages that take place in the process of reproduction:
- Reproduction in women - the production of eggs
- Reproduction in men - the production of sperm
- The sperm meeting the egg
- Fertilization of the egg by the sperm
- Movement of the embryo
- Implantation of the embryo
- Development of the embryo
A general good level of health and well being is really crucial if you are planning a pregnancy. It means eating the right foods, exercising, taking the right supplements, adopting a positive mindset, minimizing stress, and increasing rest & relaxation.
Planning to start a family is one of the most important decisions you can ever make. It is important to prepare and ensure you are in good health. The healthier you are, the healthier your pregnancy and baby will be. By taking the time to make positive lifestyle changes you will more likely enjoy a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby.
Making a positive lifestyle change will make you feel better, your energy level will increase, you can lose excess pounds, you will feel more rested, and you will feel more positive with an increased self esteem.
Men and women who are fit and healthy are much more likely to have a healthy baby. Everything we put into our bodies makes us what we are.
Proper diet, exercise, stress reduction, lifestyle choice, positive attitude is within your own control. Small changes to your lifestyle can make a big positive impact on your health, fertility and pregnancy.
Negative Lifestyle Factors:
The lifestyle factors that have a negative impact on health, fertility and pregnancy are:
For some people, alcohol plays a big role in their social lives, but if you are planning a pregnancy or trying to become pregnant, it is important that you are not letting alcohol get in the way of your chances of conceiving.
If you are trying to conceive, be aware of the amount of alcohol you are consuming and keep it to a minimum. Excessive drinking when pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage and can lead to severe development of abnormalities in the baby. Alcohol is one of the most common causes of male impotence.
Smoking has a toxic effect on the body. Research has found that women smokers can experience difficulties in getting pregnant. Women who smoke are putting their fertility at risk. Smoking also significantly increases the time it takes to conceive.
The greater the quantity of cigarettes smoked, the longer a woman is likely to take to achieve pregnancy. Smoking increases the chances of complications during pregnancy and labor. The risk of losing pregnancy increases with the number of cigarettes a woman smokes.
Smoking can harm the health of your child. Children born to maternal smokers are known to have weakened immune systems and be more susceptible to illness than children of non-smokers. Smoking can also seriously jeopardize men's fertility.
Caffeine does not just mean normal coffee; it is also an ingredient in tea, dark and milk chocolate, chocolate milk, regular and diet colas. Moderate caffeine intake does not affect fertility or increase the chance of having miscarriage or a baby with birth defects; however caffeine can impair your body's absorption of iron and calcium, upset your stomach, lead to anxiety and keep you from getting the sleep you need.
Being Overweight Or Underweight
Weight is so important, when it comes to fertility and pregnancy. As long as you are within a weight range for your build and height and eat a balanced diet, you should not have to worry. There is no ideal weight; there is only a healthy weight range.
Positive Lifestyle Factors:
Lifestyle changes that can help your healthy pregnancy are:
It is important that you make time to exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week if you can. Some ways that would be very effective include going to the gym, walking, or swimming. Exercise in moderation. Try to incorporate a little more activity into your daily routine such as:
- Use stairs whenever you can
- Park further away so you can walk longer
- Do some gardening
- Walk more to work
Healthy Balanced Diet
Before and during the pregnancy it is so important to maintain healthy eating habits. A healthy diet will help to keep your hormone levels balanced and will provide your body with all the nutrition it needs.
Try to start your healthy lifestyle sooner rather than later. Adopting a healthy diet is not about giving up all the food you like and enjoy; it is about taking responsibility for your own health and well being. Keep things simple. Changing your diet does not have to be complicated. By making small changes to your diet, you increase your chances of maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
What we eat effects our bodies and has an enormous impact on the functioning of our body's systems: from our circulatory system and nervous system to our digestion and reproductive organs. It can also affect our frame of mind.
I am encouraging you to eat lots of food rich in nutrients and essential food groups; all of which will contribute to your healthy pregnancy. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are crucial and play different roles in preparing the body for fertility and pregnancy. Carbohydrates are the body's basic fuel source.
Carbohydrates are vital for fertility. They help to maintain healthy hormone levels and balance sugar levels. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates tend to produce a fast increase in insulin and blood sugar, but not much in the way of nutrients. Food sources include sugar, white breads, some snack foods made from refined white flour, and processed foods. In order to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, the amount of simple carbohydrates in diet should be kept to a minimum.
Complex carbohydrates are made of more complicated sugars and starches. They can help protect from high insulin levels and energy swings and can regulate bowel movements. Food sources include whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, some vegetables, beans, certain fruits. They can help to maintain energy levels and provide you with some of the fiber your body needs.
Fat is a nutrient that, in the right form and right quantity, can balance hormone levels and support the circulatory system. Fats can be separated into two categories: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are found in meat, eggs, dairy products and some oils. The more saturated a fat, the harder it is for the body to digest, and this can lead to weight gain.
Unsaturated fats are found in nuts, seeds, grains, fish and olive oil. Good sources of essential fatty acids include oily fish, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Protein is an essential nutrition made up of amino acids. Protein is necessary for growing muscle and tissue and for making antibodies to help fight infections. Good sources of protein include white meat or lean beef and lamb, white fish, rice, some vegetables, cheese, nuts, and eggs.
Overall, nutrition has a subtle but powerful effect on all of the body's systems including the reproductive system. Try to limit your intake of the following foods, wherever possible: salt, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, processed foods, fried foods, unpasteurized foods, alcohol, sugar, foods and drinks with added and sugary breakfast cereal, saturated fats, additives, preservatives.
Over time, stress can take its toll on the body and reproductive system. You may find it hard to sleep, lack energy, become irritable, suffer from digestive disorders and notice a decrease in sex drive.
The body is highly sensitive and will respond to stressful situations and periods of consistent stress in a number of ways. This may include interfering with the normal workings of the reproductive system—in both men and women.
In some cases a particularly stressful lifestyle that continues over a prolonged period of time may affect your fertility. The important thing here is to be aware of where the stress lies in your life and to take steps to minimize it. By recognizing where the stressful areas of your life are and taking small steps to alleviate them, you will start to feel more positive and in control and this will have a good effect on your health.
When we experience stress, our adrenal glands release the steroid hormone cortisol. If this is happening over a prolonged period of time, the excessive amount of cortisol in the body can upset the balance of other hormones.
In women, the hormone prolactin may be overproduced and interfere with normal ovulation, causing menstruation to become irregular. In men, research has shown that stress can lead to a drop in number of sperm with abnormalities. It is important that you do not let stress become just another aspect of your life. Identifying the cause of stress in your life is the first step in starting to overcome it. To minimize stress, learn to relax:
- Relax - Relaxation can create a state of well being and improve your ability to cope.
- Breathe - The way you breathe reflects the amount of stress you are under. When you are feeling relaxed, your breathing will be calm. When you are feeling anxious or tense, you're breathing speeds up and become more irregular.
- Think Positively - Positive thoughts lead to positive results. We can often make stress worse by concentrating too much on the negative and allowing negative thoughts to overwhelm us. The idea of positive thinking is to challenge the negative thoughts that play over and over in your head.
- Massage - Is an excellent way of relieving stress and one of the oldest healing techniques.
- Sleep Well - Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of lack of sleep, which in turn becomes a main reason for stress. A good night sleep is essential for our mental and physical well being. This is why when we go without sleep for too long we become depressed, irritable, unfocused and more susceptible to illness.
Getting your body ready for pregnancy can be one of the most useful and effective steps you take. Give yourself three months to really boost your overall health.
Remember good health and balanced hormones can mean you will conceive quickly and have more healthy enjoyable pregnancy.