28th November 2017 by Grace McGettigan
Sometimes pregnancy is easy. But often it's not.
Another day, another headline about the functional aspects of the female bod. We’re all about a woman’s right to choose, and know that for many women, that choice is wanting to be a mam at some stage. So, here are some rundowns from recent studies to keep you in the know for when you want to start planning a fam
We need to talk about men
A lot of media around fertility relates to women. Stop waiting until you’re financially solvent and mentally ready for a child and over 30 you selfish harridan! *rolls eyes* However, a recent study has caused the world to sit up and stress about the state of men’s stuff. Earlier this year, scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published research, which encompassed data from more than 100 previous studies and showed that sperm counts among men in western nations have more than halved in the past 40 years. They are projected to continue falling by 1.4% on average a year.
The aftermath of this news revealed just how focused we were on wombs as reports quoted the World Health Organisation who acknowledged the data on male infertility was “very low”. Some experts put the declining rates down to couples delaying childbirth until they are older. It’s not just women whose fertility declines with age, men’s does too. Rolling Stone members fathering babies as they approach the grave just isn’t a plausible plan of action for most males. Some scientists wonder why it’s western men being so heavily affected though? So, keep an eye out for further research into this area.
Secondary Infertility is an emerging concern
Sometimes pregnancy is easy. You take a test, hey presto, nine months later you’re debating whether posting an Instagram the day after is gauche or The New Done Thing. But then you try for a sibling, and it just doesn’t happen. And people keep being nosy and asking when you’ll be having another one. Awkward, and plain rude. Secondary Infertility (SI) is when a couple struggles to concieve a child despite earlier success. It’s said to be more common that primary infertility, which is when first-time parents have trouble conceiving for more than a year.
SI can affect around 20 to 25 per cent of couples. Sometimes it can be related to a man’s low sperm count, meaning it’s still possible he can have a child, it just might take longer for conception to occur and a fertlity clinic may be an option. In women, age can be a factor as she’s attempting to conceive into her late thirties, early forties. Emotional issues like stress can also be part of suspect line-up. An unhealthy lifestyle can also take a toll on egg and sperm count.
Don’t go to extremes with exercise
While every Instagram account and its mother is going fitness cray, rethink those abs goals if you’re looking to get knocked up in the near furture. Exercise is key to keeping healthy, especially if your day job involves a lot of arse on seat, and daily half hour sessions can help with ovulation issues thanks to improved metabolism and lower stress levels. But if you take to the gym and concrete pavements too intensely, you may upset your cycle and hormone production. In super extreme cases of weight loss or shredding, your periods might stop for a time. If you’re going through IVF, you may have to take a break from any intense activities, as temperature is a key component to success during the process. Upping your core temperature can lead to complications. Stick to low impact activities like water aerobics and steady weight training.
After-care is so so important
After having a baby, your body changes. You won’t be in flying form, no matter what a Daily Mail headline about a back-to-her-slim-frame model tries to shame you into thinking. And while you’re obviously focused on taking care of the human you created, you need to make sure you take care of yourself too. “Obviously during pregnancy, the baby gets first dibs on all the nutrients,” nutritionist Marilyn Grenville explains. “If [the mother] not eating as well as they could be or find they’re being sick a lot of the time, then they can end up being deficient but the baby won’t be, so that means once the birth happens, espcially if they’re breastfeeding as well, they’ll be completely floored.”
This is why Grenville advises clients to keep taking the antenatals and nutrients they were taking during their pregnancy. She’s also a huge advoacate of being conscientious about your postnatal diet. “It’s just hard once they’ve got a baby,” Grenville admits of post-baby self-care. “Because all the emphasis goes on looking after the baby.” You moght be living your live to a breastfeeding schedule and if you have a toddler missing meals and eating while standing up might be the only way you can get all your tasks done. (Check out marilynglenville.com for details of talks Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD will be holding throughout Ireland this Autumn.)
This article first appeared in the November issue of STELLAR Magazine, our December issue is on shelves now.
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