Having a healthy body before you conceive increases your chance of having a successful conception and pregnancy and ultimately, a healthy baby.
While couples can’t control all of the causes of infertility, they can control their eating habits. Research has shown that nutrition and a healthy body weight for both partners can have a significant impact on the ability to conceive. Furthermore, an organic diet improves your chances of conceiving and reduces your risk of miscarriage.
Most women want to do everything possible to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Research shows that following a preconception care plan to get your body as healthy as possible appears to reduce the risk of miscarriage, premature labour, stillbirths and birth defects.
A preconception care plan may include the following recommendations:
Most complementary medicine practitioners will recommend doing a liver and gut cleanse for at least 3 weeks of a 4-month program. A naturopath or nutritionist can assess your body burden of heavy metals and guide you through a heavy metal detox during which time the couple should give up alcohol and coffee.
A large amount of research demonstrates how pregnancy and fertility rates can be affected by chemicals we are ingesting. Pesticides can disrupt both female and male hormones and affect fertility so eating as much organic food as possible will contribute to your body’s health.
Boost nutrient stores
The entire pregnancy and breastfeeding period is a long journey, and you need to prepare for it the way you might prepare for a marathon if you want to keep your energy levels up.
During the second half of pregnancy, there is a doubling of the woman’s blood volume and this essentially dilutes many nutrients in the blood including iron. If you can boost your iron stores (ferritin) prior to conception, you are less likely to become anaemic during pregnancy. If you have good stores of iron, you can also choose to take an iron-free supplement during the first trimester. Iron supplementation in the first trimester is known to aggravate the symptoms of morning sickness.
Zinc is another essential nutrient during the entire preconception, prenatal and breastfeeding period. Studies report that zinc deficiency can lead to impaired synthesis of sex hormones, abnormal ovarian development, disruption of the menstrual cycle, recurrent miscarriage, a prolonged gestational period, teratogenicity, stillbirths, a difficult labour, pre-eclampsia, toxaemia and low birth weight.
Folate is important for reducing the risk of neural tube defects, as well as vital for egg quality and maturation, implantation, placentation, foetal growth and organ development.
Both macronutrients and micronutrients are important to achieve balanced bodily functions. For example, macronutrients are necessary to build and regrow tissues, maintain internal body temperature, and regulate energy expenditure. In comparison, micronutrients are critical to most chemical reactions within the body.
This is probably one of the most challenging aspects to change for most people. The fast-paced lifestyles we have nowadays aren’t too good for the soul.
Slow down your pace of life and prioritise doing things that relax you. Switch off the device to spend more time in nature and be mindful of what and who is around you, can all help optimise the body both before and during pregnancy.
Taking care of yourself and your health will give you the confidence of a good outcome – a healthy pregnancy and ultimately a healthy baby.