Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Healthy lifestyle childbirth

A healthy lifestyle does not simply mean a crash diet. As the word (lifestyle) implies, it is a complete change in the way you live your life. Changing your life also means changing the way you think and feel about leading a healthy life. Most of us cringe at the thought of switching our bag of chips for a lettuce leaf, or spending time on the treadmill instead of on the couch. The trick to a healthy lifestyle is actually wanting to do the healthier activity. Once you achieve this mindset change, you will find yourself making healthier choices without even thinking about it (or missing that bar of chocolate!).

There are many infertile couples that can increase their chances of conceiving and completing a healthy pregnancy by adjusting to a healthier way of life. Many causes of infertility are directly linked to unhealthy lifestyles. Smoking, obesity and unsafe  sexual habits all contribute towards a person's fertility or lack thereof. To find out more- become a member - it's free!



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Definition of Healthy Weight

Maintenance of a healthy weight is still a major goal but is now secondary to weight maintenance at any level. Use of a cutoff Body Mass Index (BMI) to establish the upper bound of a healthy weight is based on the use of a definition of obesity that is related to pathologic sequelae rather than an arbitrary definition. The cutoff point used to define obesity will depend on whether the cutoff point is based on morbidity or mortality. For example, several recent studies designed to address this problem have demonstrated that mortality increases significantly above a BMI of 25 (5-7). However, the prevalence of diabetes begins to increase well below a BMI of 25 (8,9). Because the most significant and reliable consequence of a disease is mortality and because the designation of obesity at a point below a BMI of 25 will label well over half of the population obese, the committeesuggests that use of a BMI of 25 to define the upper boundary of healthy weight appears the most reasonable definition. Use of this cut point is consistent with the cut point recommended by the American Institute of Nutrition Consensus Conference (10). Because body fat cannot be readily measured, weight appears to be the most appropriate surrogate.

Inclusion of a graphic that shows a graded risk for weights for height above a BMI of 25 has substantial merit, insofar as a graded risk is consistent with the dose effect of a rising BMI and helps move the perception of weight from an either-or discussion. The principal difficulty with a graded risk approach is the determination of where to draw the lines. The use of colors to indicate that the risks are not clear-cut is a format preferable to the use of lines. A relative risk of two for death and diabetes occurs between a BMI of 25 and 33 (range 26.9-32.9)(references 5-9). Although arbitrary, these data would suggest that a risk-related gradient should utilize a BMI of 25 to 28 or 29. Use of shading reflects the lack of a clear-cut point or consensus on where the line should be drawn and emphasizes that risk varies with the severity of the disease.

The area below the healthiest weight represents a BMI of less than 19 (15th percentile). This area is not named because it is not clear whether a weight below this BMI is unhealthy. Further data are necessary to demonstrate the point at which the risks associated with a low BMI increase. The revised guideline states that there may be risks associated with a low BMI, particularly if involuntary weight loss has occurred.

To calculate body mass index for a given height and weight, use the formula below.
BMI = ---
Where w is weight in kilograms (pounds divided by 2.2), and h is height in meters (inches divided by 39.4).2

1Dietary Guidelines, National Institute of Health, 1995
2W. Wayt Gibbs, "Gaining on Fat," Scientific American, Issue #8 1996

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Exercising While Pregnant


If you exercised before becoming pregnant, then you should be able to maintain your exercise plan and level of activity, for the most part. If you are just beginning an exercise program to improve your health, start slow and don't over-exert yourself. A common misconception is that exercising during pregnancy increases your chances to miscarry. Not true.


Exercise Cautions for Pregnancy


If you're exercising while pregnant, your body will send out natural signals. If your body is telling you to slow down, listen to it! Under no conditions should you exercise to the point of exhaustion. The American College of Gynecology guidelines no longer set an upper limit on pulse rate, but you should still stay within your capabilities. Exercising while lying on your back is counter-indicated after the first trimester, and, especially toward the end of pregnancy, avoid activities that have a risk of falling.


When Not to Exercise During Pregnancy

If you should develop high blood pressure during your pregnancy, it is probably best to put your exercise program on hold. Exercise in this instance can actually worsen the condition.

ALWAYS check with your doctor, throughout your entire pregnancy. Let him/her consult with you about your exercise plans.

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Pregnancy is not the only time that getting the correct nutrients is important. Before even trying to conceive BOTH potential parents need to ensure that they are getting adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals. This will help to ensure that their future child will have the best possible nutritional start. There are both do's and don'ts when it comes to nutrition before, during and after pregnancy and these should be discussed in detail with your doctor.