By Michelle Mitchum, MPH HHP –
I am a Gen Xer, born in 197? (ha), and within the last five years, I have been to more than five 40th birthday celebrations. Just when did 40 get so close? When I was a child, I thought being 40-years-old meant that a person was OLD. And here I am, just a few years shy of 40, feeling young and vibrant, and judging by the lifestyle of my peers, 40 is actually not as old as we thought it was. We live our lives very differently from the way our parents lived theirs. In their generation, chances are likely that they were married with children by the time they were 25, women were housewives, and husbands typically worked 9-5 jobs, and retired from their jobs after 20 years of service.
Well, I can confidently say that Gen Xers believe, (in the words of Sweet Brown), “ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.” We are living in a different time, and we are living our lives very differently. Gen X men and women work diligently to build careers first, and only after we have established ourselves professionally, do we consider building families. Women are no longer just housewives; we are career focused, sometimes building two or three careers before we start building our families.
Gen Xers have opportunities to live extraordinary and comfortable lives independently of a partner and family, if we choose. So there is not much attention given to building a family at a young age (20s). But, biologically, the optimal time for childbearing is 20 to 35. While we are living our lives footloose and fancy-free, our biological clocks are ticking –literally. As a result, there are parts of our health that require special attention if we expect to have healthy babies in our late 30s and 40s. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Practice fertility yoga. Fertility Yoga increases relaxation, and opens blood flow to reproductive organs (improving egg and sperm quality), and decreases stress levels that affect infertility.
2. Take multivitamins and folic acid. Women who take a multivitamin three times a week have a reduced risk of infertility.
3. Eliminate stress. Stress, either low-level daily hassles or one-time big events, causes a release of hormones that can interfere with the delicate balance needed to create a new life.
4. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
5. Consume fertility boosting foods. Whole Foods are food sources that are minimally processed and are usually found in their raw or natural state. These foods have no added ingredients and are unprocessed. Antioxidant Rich Foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. These foods help combat free radical damage within the body and assist in decreasing cellular inflammation. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are healthful such as Omega 3, 6 and 9. These oils are free from chemical additives which can cause free radical or cellular damage within the body. Examples are fish and fish oils, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, hemp, flax or walnut oil and avocados. High quality dairy products and full fat dairy products are encouraged if one is not lactose sensitive. Particularly recommended is Kefir which is fermented yogurt and has antioxidant properties.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice. Missionary position; some believe that the missionary position is best for conception. The idea is that you use gravity to your advantage. The after-sex position: lie with a small pillow under your hips for 20 minutes. This can help the sperm swim toward your uterus.
Michelle Mitchum MPH, HHP, is a graduate of Morgan State University, (Baltimore, MD) and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, (New York). She has been featured on Fox Business News, Essence Magazine and is a contributing writer to Heart and Soul Magazine as well as other notable publications. In 2013 she founded the OrangeMoon Holistic Health and Wellness to empower people to make intelligent and informed decisions about their health and to introduce and educate clients on holistic lifestyle alternatives.