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How Lifestyle Affects Your Biological Clock

Your biological age is a concept that’s a bit abstract. What it means is the way your body operates or functions compared to other people in the population who are in the same age group. This is largely determined by your genetics but lifestyle choices can play a significant role. Based on this thinking, it may be possible with some lifestyle improvements, to slow down reproductive aging and improve chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Here are some lifestyle changes that we suggest:

Don’t Smoke
Smoking is a known cause of early aging of the ovary.  If you don’t smoke, then don’t start.  If you do smoke it is imperative that you quit to maintain healthy ovaries

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is also important to conception and goes hand-in-hand with your exercise regime and diet. Work with your doctor to determine your best weight for chances of conception and the appropriate exercise regime necessary to maintain a healthy weight.

Cut Back on Caffeine & Alcohol
Alcohol has been proven to lower fertility, even in moderation. And, while studies on caffeine are less clear, it’s a good idea to limit consumption. A good rule of thumb is if it’s recommended while pregnant (no drinking, low amounts of caffeine) than it’s safe to practice the same rule while trying to conceive for best results.

Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural reaction to stressors on the body, which can increase risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and infertility. One way to fight inflammation is to eat anti-inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, nuts, fruits, leafy greens, and fatty fish, and to avoid refined, processed food, fried food, and soda.  CoQ10 is an antioxidant supplement that may reduce inflammatory processes and may protect ovarian function.

Reduce Stress
Reducing stress can be difficult, but can have a drastic effect on your overall health. Meditating, relaxing techniques, exercise, and yoga can have a positive impact on lowering your levels of stress.

Get Regular Exercise
This is a tricky one. Exercise is rarely bad; however, extreme amounts of exercise can actually decrease your chances of conception. Low impact, moderate exercise is the best suggestion in order to be active and increase chances of conception.

Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is extremely important to help maintain your immune response and reduce your stress level. It also increases Melatonin, which is important in the process of protecting egg quality. Ensure that you are getting the best sleep possible by unplugging and turning off electronics two hours before bed, and making sure you are sleeping in total darkness.

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in the quest to conceive. If you would like to discuss fertility, lifestyle, and egg quality with us further, please contact us.

WENDY SCHILLIGNS, MD, FACOG

Dr. Schillings is a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, obstetrician and gynecologist. She leads all aspects of patient care at RMAPA. In addition, she formerly led the medical team at RE & I Specialist with the Lehigh Valley Physician Group. Dr. Schillings is chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network and Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State College of Medicine.