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Each year, nearly 40% of American adults make a new year’s resolution. Top considerations for resolutions often involve improving one’s health, such as sticking to a fitness routine or committing to a proper diet. While these are reputable health goals, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., OB-GYN, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine encourages women to prioritize all aspects of their physical, mental and emotional health in the new year and offers her advice for setting resolutions.

“Making goals for the new year is a great way to re-evaluate one’s health routines,” says Dr. Minkin. “I encourage women to consider all the different changes – large or small – that they can make to improve their health and wellbeing from vaginal, sexual and reproductive health to mental health.”

Dr. Minkin offers the following considerations for women’s health resolutions in the new year.

  • Schedule a Visit with Your Gyno (HCP) Many women postponed their regular gyno visits because of the pandemic. The new year is a good time to get back into the habit of regular visits to the gynecologist, so start the year off strong by scheduling an annual checkup. Women avoid the gynecologist for a number of reasons ranging from feelings of personal intrusion to general discomfort. Having a trusted HCP can mitigate discomfort and allow for open and honest conversations surrounding vaginal health.
  • Swear Off Scented Products – The vagina is a naturally acidic environment with a pH that should remain in the 3.8 to 4.5 range to encourage the balance of good, helpful bacteria like Lactobacillus. However, this delicate balance can easily be disrupted with the use of scented soaps, douches and perfumes, which typically work to mask abnormal vaginal odor caused by a pH imbalance versus solving the problem at hand. Keep the vaginal hygiene routine to a minimum as the vagina is self-cleaning and simply wash the vulva with water. Use clinically backed products like RepHresh Gel which rebalances pH and eliminates odor for up to three days.
  • Get Adequate Sleep – Sleep quality can impact a variety of aspects of a woman’s health, including pregnancy, postpartum periods, perimenopause, menopause and aging. Studies have also shown links between reproductive hormones and sleeping patterns in men and women. A long-term lack of sleep in women affects the release of the luteinizing hormone (LH) that triggers ovulation in the menstrual cycle. If you’re trying to conceive in the new year, it’s important to note how cycle irregularity can postpone the chances of getting pregnant.
  • Make Changes to Support Fertility – Couples may look to the new year as the time to start trying to conceive as well as reevaluate certain lifestyle habits that can impact fertility. Excessive exercise, for example, can affect ovulation, and smoking and overconsumption of alcohol have been shown to affect fertility in both men and women. Keeping a clean lifestyle and speaking with a health care provider about what maintaining a healthy weight looks like is recommended. Ordinary lubricants often interfere with sperm quality and motility, so it’s important to use a fertility lubricant such as Pre-Seed that supports sperm health and allows it to meet the egg safely.
  • Ditch Dryness Down There – Vaginal dryness, while typically experienced by menopausal women, can affect those going through stress and depression, postpartum, and taking birth control, among other factors. Incorporating a vaginal moisturizer, such as Replens Long-Lasting Moisturizer, into wellness routines to alleviate dryness at the source, as well as a quality silicone lubricant like Replens Silky Smooth just before sex, can help alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Establish a Vitamin + Supplement Routine – Taking a multivitamin like vitafusion Women’s Multivitamin is a good way to jump-start one’s day by providing the body with essential nutrients and essential vitamins like C, D, and A. However, while vitamins help, it is still important to have a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables to get all the necessary daily nutrients to stay healthy. For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, I recommend adding vitafusion’s PreNatal Gummy Vitamin into their routine to keep health a priority before and throughout pregnancy. Prenatal varieties with extra folic acid help to prevent birth defects and help women who are trying to conceive.
  • Carve Out Some Time for Yourself – In the U.S., 35% of women are experiencing feelings of anxiety and stress is at a ten-year high. Carving out time for oneself helps recharge and declutter busy brains. “Me time” acts as a reset button and has countless benefits, including relieving stress, boosting self-confidence, and improving relationships between oneself and others. Try creating a schedule with pre-set blocks of time for yourself, even if just a five-minute walk around the block.

“To ensure a healthful year ahead, it’s important that women educate themselves on all aspects of health. Speaking with a health care provider to understand resources available and staying informed on the latest health innovations and trends can help one conquer their health goals in the new year,” adds Dr. Minkin.

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