A different type of article this week, as I am also a pre/postnatal and exercise for fertility specialist.  Becoming pregnant can be difficult for some but there are things both moms and dads to be, can do.  TAKE NOTE – even if not planning on becoming pregnant this article holds true for anyone’s body in regards to stress, mindset, exercise and good nutrition.

Having a healthy body weight, through exercise and nutrition will affect the body’s hormone regulation, digestion, self esteem, and stress levels, all of which influence reproductive health for both males and females.

Stress can be one of the biggest factors in infertility and both can cause each other.   Research has shown that stress can create levels of anxiety and depression equivalent to women with heart disease, cancer and HIV status.  Other stresses as, psychological or physiological, like loss of a loved one, excessive training or extreme dieting can also cause infertility – this holds true for men too.

 Here is how stress will affect the body:

  1. Alters hormones:
    • Disrupts Hypothalamus gland that controls ovulation.
    • Produces high levels of the “fight or flight” hormone – Cortisol
    • Decrease estrogen and progesterone, the reproductive hormones
  2. Diverts blood flow away from ovaries and uterine lining, effecting egg quality and successful implantation.

Trying to become pregnant can be very stressful when it doesn’t seem to happen especially when most everything else in your life you can control the outcome.  It becomes all consuming, affecting your relationship, social life and work.  Many times, women become withdrawn from friends and family to avoid hurtful conversations, jealousy, shame, guilt, sadness, grief and anger. 

There are ways to manage stress and get support:

  1. Relaxing enjoying your moments together instead of thinking of being baby machines is a better approach.   Many times, people will adopt, then become pregnant.  That is because the stress is lifted and the body is relaxed and able to function the way it should.
  2. Emotion is one of the most challenging stress to control.  Some exercises for the mind may help, as controlling your thoughts changes the state of mind.
  3. Identify stresses, warning signs and symptoms:
    • Physical:  Headaches, fatigue, teeth grinding…
    • Behavioural:  Restlessness, time management, phobias….
    • Emotional:  Aggression, Frustration, crying, 
    • Cognitive:  Impaired concentration, judgmental, blaming
  4. Practice the three A’s
    • Awareness:  Make a list or check off symptoms
    • Acceptance:  Accept how you are feeling it will be easier to move on
    • Action:  Move forward in dealing with some of these issues by taking a bath, going for a walk, call a friend…
  5. Understanding your menstrual cycle.  Having a healthy menstrual cycle means estrogen and progesterone are at proper levels.  If estrogen is imbalanced, cramping, fertility issues, fibroid tumours and mood swings will occur.  If progesterone is imbalanced women feel depressed, lethargic and sexually unattractive.  Liver and Kidney function is extremely important to fertility as they deactivate the excess estrogen and progesterone.  If the liver is sluggish the unneeded hormones are reabsorbed into the blood.  This has a lot to do with sleep and a detoxification period which is around 12-2am.  If it doesn’t happen at this time, the body will skip this process.  If this is skipped the body ends up with excess hormones than the body needs and heavy irregular periods happen.
  6. Exercise and good nutrition.  Again, when one is feeling good about themselves on the inside and out everything is more positive and balanced within the body for both males and females.  

There are also many specific exercises that help as well.  If you are looking to start a family and would like additional information on training and nutrition advise in this area, please contact me below.

Mikkie Nettles, Certified Personal Trainer/Holistic & Sports Nutritionist
Follow DEEM Health on Facebook, or contact info@deemhealth.ca

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