If you’re planning to have a baby soon, focusing on your own health first could set you up for success
Recent reports in The Lancet shed light on the importance of improving your health prior to conception— same holds for your partner.
Now another study out of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst published in Human Reproduction gives more information on one of the ways to improve your health — walk more.
The researchers say that walking may improve a woman’s chances of conceiving and while this isn’t the first time this has been suggested, the study takes a deeper dive than most.
Researchers looked at 1,200 women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old who had experienced one or two pregnancy losses.
“There was no overall relationship between most types of physical activity and the likelihood of becoming pregnant for women who had already had one or two pregnancy losses, except for walking,” Lindsay Russo, a recent graduate and study author, said. Walking was linked to a higher likelihood of getting pregnant among women who were overweight or obese.
“What we eat and what we do are potential factors we can change to shape our health. So this sort of research is important because it helps provide information on the things people can actually do something about,” added Brian Whitcomb, her advisor. “Walking has great potential as a lifestyle change because of its low cost and availability.”
Among women who were obese or overweight, walking at least 10 minutes at a time was linked to improved fertility. When they adjusted models, they found that women who walked more than four hours a week vigorously had better chances to conceive compared to those who did not walk.
“We don’t know what to make of the finding that high-intensity physical activity may have different biological effects than walking, but our study doesn’t offer enough detail to get at why vigorous activity would work differently than other levels.”
Serena Chen, M.D., a fertility specialist from New Jersey, said that everyone—men and women—need to prioritize their health…especially if they are trying to conceive.
“We really do need to take a new approach to pregnancy health. Everyone needs to start preparing for a healthy pregnancy months possible years before conceiving to optimize their health, the health or the pregnancy and the health of the child,” she added.