The end of the year and the beginning of another are usually intertwined with recurring rituals. Many will take stock of events that transpired in the ended year, and plan for the new year appropriately.
As you plan, don’t forget to incorporate reproductive health as part of your key goals. Optimal health will facilitate achievement of all your other endeavours.
You could start by reviewing your prevailing reproductive health status. If you did all the right things during the passing year, all you need is maintain the same tempo this year.
If, however, you slackened and are in a poor state of health, you need to remedy this.
Do a spot check
Check whether you have kept yourself up to date with gynaecological health screening. Depending on your age this means screening for cervical cancer, breast cancer, sexual health and other ailments depending on your specific characteristics.
Screening programmes save lives, and are easily available on demand in many health facilities. It’s not too late to start your screening if you have been reluctant to do so in the past.
Your gynaecologist will guide you on what you should be screened for, and how often.
What about your reproductive plans?
If you already have enough kids, this is not really an issue for you. All you need is effective contraception to negate any unwanted pregnancies. If you have been postponing pregnancies due to other competing interests, you should bring this back into the equation. Beware of the inevitable biological ticking clock, the potential to reproduce begins to decline sharply in the mid-thirties. And the process is irreversible, even with modern reproductive technologies. The older you get, the more complications you might suffer in pregnancy. So find a way of fitting in your pregnancies with other commitments, or get your eggs frozen as a back-up.
Don’t forget the other things
Reproductive health cannot be separated from your general health. You must keep your weight in check, both by physical activities and watching what you eat. Overweight women have poorer reproductive outcomes, and are more predisposed to gynecological diseases that include cancer. Toxic habits like smoking and excessive drinking are not just risk factors for cardiac and metabolic diseases, they also impact on your reproductive health. Keep yourself in a state of good general health.
Dr Alfred Murage is a Consultant Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist.
Reach him on [email protected]
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