READY FOR BABY?

If you want to get preg­nant, you need your ovaries and eggs to be healthy.

Shape (Singapore) - - Live Healthy -

Con­grat­u­la­tions if you and your hus­band have de­cided to start a fam­ily or ex­pand yours! But first, make sure your body is primed for con­cep­tion by tak­ing care of your ovaries.

They are a cor­ner­stone of fer­til­ity and can have a big im­pact on whether or not you’re able to get preg­nant. Dr Fong Yang, a fer­til­ity spe­cial­ist at Vir­tus Fer­til­ity Cen­tre Sin­ga­pore, ex­plains: “A woman’s fer­til­ity and re­pro­duc­tive health is largely de­pen­dent on the state of her ovaries. Women strug­gling to con­ceive are likely to have poor egg con­di­tions, and will need to pay closer at­ten­tion to the var­i­ous fac­tors that can im­prove egg health for a vi­able preg­nancy.”

If you and your part­ner have been try­ing for some time with no suc­cess, don’t fret. There are many ways to boost the heatlh of your ovaries and im­prove egg qual­ity to op­ti­mise fer­til­ity. Here are some tips from Vir­tus Fer­til­ity Cen­tre on im­prov­ing your ovar­ian health.

1 EAT AND LIVE WELL

Keep­ing your mind and body healthy is of ut­most im­por­tance since your eggs de­velop and ma­ture on a monthly ba­sis. Fuel your ovar­ian health by eat­ing a nu­tri­ent-rich diet and drink­ing at least eight glasses of pu­ri­fied wa­ter daily. And make sure you get enough vi­ta­min A and D, as well as omega-3 from your food.

Vi­ta­min A helps to kick-start the cell divi­sion process in the pro­duc­tion of eggs. Foods con­tain­ing vi­ta­min A in­clude eggs, milk, spinach, pump­kin and car­rots. How­ever, as it can be toxic in high doses, do not ex­ceed the rec­om­mended daily al­lowance es­pe­cially when tak­ing it in the form of sup­ple­ments or pills.

Vi­ta­min D is not only ben­e­fi­cial to bone health, but it also plays a crit­i­cal role in ovar­ian health by reg­u­lat­ing the lev­els of anti-Mul­le­rian hor­mone (AMH) that can as­sess a woman’s ovar­ian re­serve. Foods high in vi­ta­min D in­clude salmon, mush­rooms and eggs.

Be­sides be­ing heart-friendly, omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in mem­brane flu­id­ity and cell health to pro­tect against ox­ida­tive dam­age and pro­mote ovar­ian health. Sources in­clude salmon, mack­erel, wal­nuts and soy­beans.

Apart from eat­ing well, sched­ule reg­u­lar sweat ses­sions, too. The Health Pro­mo­tion Board (HPB) rec­om­mends get­ting in at least 150 min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity every week for a health­ier you. Do­ing so will re­duce your risk of chronic dis­eases and obe­sity. Aim to do a mix of car­dio­vas­cu­lar and strength­based work­outs.

2KICK BAD HABITS

If you’re a smoker, it’s time to stop. Smok­ing de­creases the flow of blood and oxy­gen to all parts of the body, in­clud­ing the ovaries. This could lead to an in­creased rate of ge­netic dam­age to the eggs and a height­ened risk of mis­car­riages.

It’s also wise to limit your caf­feine con­sump­tion to no more than two cups of cof­fee or five cups of tea a day. Ab­stain­ing from al­co­hol is also highly en­cour­aged.

3 MON­I­TOR YOUR PE­RI­ODS

Ir­reg­u­lar men­strual cy­cles are an in­di­ca­tor that some­thing’s not right. If this is ac­com­pa­nied by in­creased fa­cial and body hair growth, un­ex­plained weight gain or dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting preg­nant, seek pro­fes­sional help.

One of the most com­mon ovar­ian dis­or­ders that af­fects roughly five to 15 per cent of women in Sin­ga­pore is Poly­cys­tic Ovar­ian Syn­drome (PCOS). It can also lead to in­fer­til­ity as a pa­tient’s ovaries will con­tain small cysts or fol­li­cles, mak­ing them un­able to pro­duce healthy eggs.

While there is no cure for PCOS, the most com­mon treat­ment is an ovu­la­tion in­duc­tion process where a woman is pre­scribed an oral medicine or a se­ries of Fol­li­cle Stim­u­lat­ing Hor­mone (FSH) in­jec­tions. These aim to spur the growth and devel­op­ment of eggs to in­crease the chances of con­cep­tion nat­u­rally or through ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion.

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