Over the past three weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and learn from many different sources. All of these sources support the concept of taking care of our bodies as a route of changing our overall health and our genetic potential. As many of you are aware, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut is focused on preconception health based on available data pointing towards increased chances for pregnancy and healthy conception associated with healthy lifestyle choices.
This same message, being able to modify one’s genetic potential, is being sent to us on many different levels from within the medical literature and the lay press. Epigenetics is the term that applies to this concept that we all have the ability to change our own gene expression and how our bodies work based on our lifestyle choices. These choices can affect our overall health, and potentially the health of an embryo, and the life of a child.
We are all aware of the stress associated with our daily lives in the New York Metro area. Most of us work too much, sleep too little, and don’t eat well enough. Well, as it turns out our choices are affecting all aspects of our lives. As a reproductive medicine physician, I read with interest an article in Vogue magazine called “Destiny’s Child.” This article discussed how choices of diet and exercise in pregnancy affect the health and well-being of the fetus and future child. It struck me as remarkable that an iconic fashion magazine such as Vogue chose to highlight the scientific concept of epigenetics. In fact, perhaps the greatest expression of epigenetics is the effect a pregnant woman can have on her unborn child. In addition, I had the opportunity to listen to a GYN Oncologist who also has a Masters degree in Integrative Medicine the Stamford Hospital education symposium. She discussed how lifestyle choices affect cancer rates and cancer outcomes in women and could be decreased dramatically if we all ate better, achieved a healthy weight, and controlled our stress.
I believe that the time is coming soon when Western medicine recognizes that your health is not only about taking the right medicine, but also about making the right choices in how you treat your body. That means as we all try to eat better, relax more, sleep more and make overall better choices we not only improve our own health, we also increase our chances for pregnancy, and your chances for a healthy child. These lifestyle changes are decisions that you and your partner need to make and should be lifelong decisions that will help us all be healthier and happier.