Be Fruitful: How to maximize fertility and have a healthy baby

BOYNTON BEACH, Fl. - Erin Haag is used to achieving her dreams. She opened her own Pilates studio in Boynton Beach called Pilates of Palm Beach. She completed numerous marathons and has been married to her dream man, Eric,  for 7 years.  Her biggest dream, though, hasn't been as easy to achieve.

Erin Haag says, "My husband and I are big overachievers but the one thing you want more than anything you can't seem to achieve."

It took them 2 and a half years, two rounds of in-vitro fertilization and a miscarriage before they had a successful pregnancy.

Dr. Victoria Maizes understands the heartache and anxiety infertile couples go through. She's a women's health expert and author of of the new book "Be Fruitful. The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child."

"One of the most important myths is that you can wait," says Dr. Maizes. "And you can thank Hollywood. Celebrities who are seen having babies in their 40's and even late 40's and early 50's make it look too easy. What's not being said is they are probably using donor eggs."

Dr. Maizes says the biological clock is real for women and men. "

Fertility peaks for women at age 28 and decreases quickly after 35. For men, the issue isn't having a hard time impregnating but the risk of having a child with autism or schizophrenia go up after the age of 40."

Diet plays a big role in fertility.

"She says, "Vegetable protein is associated with higher fertility than animal protein. Carbohydrates such as cereals, even the ones that claim to be heart healthy, are not healthy if you are trying to get pregnant. It turns out anything that bumps up our blood sugar makes it harder to conceive."

She says eat fish, but avoid the kinds known to contain high levels of mercury such as shark, swordfish, tile, king mackerel and limit albacore.

Dr. Maizes says, "If you don't eat fish at all you'll have a child with a lower verbal IQ."

Milk is fine to drink when you are trying to get pregnant but the doctor recommends drinking whole milk.

"When you drink skim milk or lowfat, you are drinking milk with an altered balance of hormones and altered in the direction which makes it harder to get pregnant."

Avoiding stress is key, but try telling that to a woman who's having a hard time getting pregnant. Dr. Maizes recommends doing yoga to reduce stress.

"It's a wonderfully centering, quieting practice that can be part of the fertility journey for women."

And poses, she says like the butterfly and the "half moon"  can actually help when you're trying to conceive.

"These poses really open the lower abdomen and opens the pelvis. It's wonderful. You can't grip in this opening pose for the abdomen."

Dr. Maizes also recommends acupuncture, especially for women undergoing in vitro.

"If you do acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer you are almost twice as likely to have a live birth."

Erin Haag started getting acupuncture when she was trying to conceive. She went to Dr. David Green of Green Acupuncture in Boynton Beach.

Dr. Green says. 'Right now we help Erin with things like her back pain and swelling. Acupuncture is great in this stage of pregnancy because she can't take pain medication due to the potential risk to the fetus."

Erin believes all of these recommendations diet, yoga ,acupuncture and fertility treatments helped her and her husband conceive. She is due to deliver their daughter by the summer.

Additional information:

Victoria Mazes, M.D. is the executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and a professor of medicine, family medicine and public health at the University of Arizona. Her book is titled, Be Fruitful.

Erin Haag is the owner of Pilates of Palm Beach in Boynton Beach.  (561) 244-5566

Dr. David Green AP,DOM is the Clinical Director of Green Acupuncture in Boynton Beach. (561) 244-5424 

Dr. Maizes website.

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