This February Celebrate American Heart Month
Aw, sweet, romantic February, a month where we take time to celebrate matters of the heart with roses, candlelight and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that the American Heart Association chose February for matters of the heart, too – albeit literal cardiac matters – designating February "American Heart Month."
And remembering to focus on your own heart health during your fertility journey – and not just February – is also just as important.
With heart disease as the leading cause of death for American men and women, it’s critical to take charge of your health and adopt new, heart-healthy practices that can not only help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, but can also help to ready your body to sustain a healthy pregnancy and family.
So as you focus on your fertility, you should also (re-) commit yourself to a heart-healthy lifestyle and to making the small changes that will help lay the foundation for a lifetime of health. Here are few ways to achieve heart-focused preconception health:
- Diet: Nutrition is vital to your health, and the healthier you are, the healthier your pregnancy could be. Be sure to include lean proteins, low glycemic index carbohydrates, and healthy fats. You can also include some prenatal supplements – with the guidance of your health care provider – to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
- Sleep: Adequate amounts of rest revitalize us and help maintain the natural rhythm of menstrual cycles and hormone levels. Moreover, studies have linked poor sleep quality to an increased risk of high blood pressure, a potential cause of heart disease.
- Exercise: Start – or continue – exercising. With the help and guidance of your health care provider, determine if you want to lose or gain weight, build muscle, or improve lung capacity. Yoga is an excellent choice as it’s a calming, centering exercise, and because it incorporates posture, breathing and concentration, it can also prove beneficial during labor.
When we’re trying to conceive, we narrow our focus and train all of our attention on our fertility and any subsequent issues. Our minds become highly attuned as we try to make the best possible decisions for ourselves and the life we so long to conceive.
So this month, make the commitment to nurture yourself from the inside out by taking small, actionable heart-healthy steps that will yield big results one day soon!