Lifestyle Effects on Your Cycle
You know that so many aspects of your lifestyle affect decisions you make about pregnancy. You've taken corrective measures to help ensure a healthier lifestyle and body in preparation to have a child. Now you can see exactly what effects it has on your menstrual cycle.
You've heard the saying that “all work and no play makes Jill a dull woman.” The other part is that all work can also make Jill an infertile woman, or at very least a woman who has trouble conceiving. Your work habits can play into your fertility.
Do you work long hours? Do you work nights? Do you work rotating shifts? Changes like these to your body can play havoc with your menstrual cycle and your body's natural rhythm. While you can't quit work because of this, it may be easier to achieve a pregnancy when you're aware of this. Perhaps you can find a more permanent schedule, or maybe you can stop rotating shifts for a while.
What you eat will also affect your hormone levels. By following a healthy diet, you can eliminate some of the variations in hormones caused by nutritional deficits. This means eating a variety of foods that are high in the nutrients that you need.
Start keeping a food log to track what you eat — you'll be able to spot what kinds of cravings you get and when they are strongest. You may find that you are experiencing PMS cravings.
Your food log can also help you recognize if you aren't getting enough variety in your diet. This can indicate a nutritional deficiency — such as lowered body fat leading to infertility, B12 deficiency, or lowered folate stores — which, if severe enough, could affect your body's ability to become pregnant.
While stress can wreck havoc on your menstrual cycle, it is hard to prove that stress alone causes fertility problems. So when someone you know or love tells you to “just relax” in order to get pregnant, try to ignore the uneducated remark. It's not wise to stress over comments about stress! Only you need to know what is really going on with your body and how best to deal with it.
You have stress in your life. That's a fact. No one can remove all the sources of stress from his or her life. However, by eliminating stress where you can, you can help improve the odds of conception.
What does stress have to do with getting pregnant, you ask? Stress can affect the hypothalamus and the GnRH feedback system, which may lower the levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH) produced. Your menstrual cycle can be thrown off, which in turn can make it more difficult for you to conceive. Have you ever experienced a delay in your menstrual cycle due to feeling overly stressed? The same concept applies here.
Understanding the length of your cycle, when you ovulate, and other bits of information obtained from charting can help aid in conception. It's the first step in your journey toward conception.