Whether you’re continuing your fertility journey or just beginning, the dawn of a new year brings hope and a desire for change. Common resolutions around diet and exercise don’t just improve your general health, but can also boost your fertility. However, committing to a life change for a whole year can feel overwhelming alone. With the help of your partner, these tips can help you stay on track—together.
Eat Healthier Together
Healthy eating habits are important for so many reasons, but a Harvard study published in Frontiers of Public Health suggests that “nutrition can play an important role in altering fertility-related outcomes in both men and women.” Connecting with your partner to make positive health changes can be as simple as taking a moment to cook a meal together. Try selecting foods from our November blog that support your fertility – whether cutting out trans fats to rediscovering full-fat dairy.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Setting down the New Year’s champagne glasses is the perfect time to reassess your alcohol consumption. While holiday festivities are often naturally tied to drinking, studies have shown that excessive drinking negatively affects fertility in both men and women.
A Harvard study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women beginning in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment who drank four or more drinks per week were 16% less likely to have a live birth than those who drank less than that or not at all. If both partners drank four or more drinks, the impact rose to 21%.
Start the year with a dietary refresh, and kickoff with a sober month. There are a number of resources that can make the transition to sobriety (whether temporary or more lasting) easier and even fun for you and your partner. Try making date night mocktails, or picking up a different hobby on the weekends. For alcohol-free date night activities, learn more here.
Resolutions to work out more and lose weight are common for a variety of reasons, but doing so also can boost your chances of successfully having a child. A Dutch study found that obesity is tightly correlated with lower conception rates. Once one gets pregnant, extreme BMIs are associated with an increased risk of miscarriages in both spontaneous pregnancies and patients undergoing fertility treatments according to a study in Human Reproduction.
One of the best and easiest ways to stay within a healthy BMI is integrating daily movement into your routine. Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. If it’s not your favorite place, try doing something you enjoy—it will help you stick to your resolution in the long run. Try these three options to integrate more movement into your day.
1) Daily walks are a great way to start improving your physical health, but can also help to support healthy mental health. You can use this time to enjoy the outdoors, disconnect from your electronics, and take the opportunity to reconnect with your partner.
2) Reconnect to your childhood and go on a bike ride. Cycling is a relatively inexpensive way to start moving and most urban areas have bikes that you can rent for the day, or even for just a couple of miles (D.C. has Capital Bikeshare). Hop on and pedal at a leisurely pace to go run errands, visit friends, or coast through a local park.
3) Dance it out! Even if you’re not a seasoned dancer, taking an online Zumba class, working on your ballroom steps, or just breaking up the workday to you and your partner’s favorite tune is a great way to bring fun into your relationship while boosting your physical health.
Rekindle your Relationship
Take the time to learn something new, ask about their day, or simply just enjoy their company. Infertility and the treatment process can take a toll on your relationship due to how it affects men and women differently. A study from the University of Minnesota found that 83% of couples felt societal pressures to conceive, and women with infertility reported statistically lower scores on the Marital Adjustment Test, as well as lower quality of life. Men tend to report less emotional impact, and as with any major difference in a relationship, that imbalance can be a struggle to talk through.
These are strong headwinds for any couple, and that means that your relationship needs more intentional nurturing than normal. Take a step away from tunnel vision around fertility, and try to just enjoy each other’s company. Need some help remembering how to feel like you’re back on a first date? Try one of these games.
Find your Support System
Infertility can be challenging but know that you’re not alone. The National Institute of Health reports that about 9% of men and about 11% of women of reproductive age in the United States have experienced fertility problems. For additional support, reach out to a family member or loved one or make the first step and join our Dominion Fertility support group.
Reach out to an Expert
If you’re experiencing infertility, know that you don’t have to solve it alone. With over 33 years of experience serving the DC area, we’re here to support you (and your partner) throughout your journey, start to finish. For more information, schedule a consultation.