Preconception care is a proactive approach to consciously improve your health before conception, to create the best possible health and vitality for your beautiful baby-to-be.
There are many factors in everyday life that can jeopardize male and female reproductive health, negatively affecting the health of your eggs and sperm. We live in a lightning speed world and with 1 in 6 couples now having fertility challenges, there has never been a better time to look at the factors that are creating that.
The exciting news is, our bodies are so amazing that it only takes about 4 months to produce healthy new eggs and sperm! Let's take a look at 7 tips to consider to put you on track to a healthy preconception journey.
1. Kick The Nasty Habits
If you struggle with some nasty habits, you're not alone. Whether it's binging on chocolate mud cake too often, or more serious problems like alcohol, cigarette and recreational drug addictions, kicking them can be difficult, but entirely achievable. It's also important to review and seek advice about your prescription medications in the process, as they can have side effects that impact fertility health.
Make a plan, right now, to mentally and physically prepare yourself to quit nasty habits and review pharmaceutical medication. You can absolutely do it! Getting advice from your health professional and support groups is a great way to start.
2. Look Under Your Hood
When you buy a new car, you look under the hood to make sure everything's working as it should. Embrace this concept by doing the same with your body, so you have all the information you need before conception.
To check if everything's in working order, your health professional can help you with tests for liver function, blood glucose, MTHFR gene mutations, sexually transmitted diseases and blood pressure. Vitamin and mineral screening can establish if you need a boost of important nutrients, including B and E vitamins, selenium and iron, to fine tune your baby-making engine.
3. Clean Up Your World From The Outside In
From scrubbing the shower to talking on mobile phones, we're constantly doing things that may result in toxic build up. Unfortunately, storage of toxins in the body can disrupt the hormonal system in both guys and girls, creating negative effects for reproductive health.
You can minimize your risk of exposure by making a checklist of possible pollutants in your environment and seeking alternatives. These include eating organic food, drinking purified water, reducing your use of plastics and swapping chemicals for natural personal care and household products. Don't keep mobile phones in your pockets or rest computers on your lap, and turn your Wi Fi off when possible.
4. Create A Healthy Download From Parents (You) To Baby
Isn't it a fantastic feeling to jump in the shower after a long day at work? We love to clean up on the outside, as it revitalizes us. When you detox on the inside too, your organs get the break they need to function at maximum capacity.
According to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, the reduction of increased heavy metal body load improves the spontaneous conception chances of infertile women. Your body eliminates waste through the liver, kidneys, bowel, skin and lungs - and here's where the detox enters center stage.
Think of detoxification like shaking a dirty rug. Without a broom, dustpan and waste basket, the dirt will just be moved from place to place. Internal cleansing programs can remove unwanted toxins, in order to decrease the risk of miscarriage, birth defects and post-partum depression, while increasing energy and improving breast milk quality.
Combined with a personalized regime of targeted herbal and nutritional medicines, it's possible to balance intestinal microflora for improved digestion, encourage circulation to the reproductive organs and improve egg and sperm health (yes, a detox is for the guys, too!)
5. Stress Less
It's so easy to become stressed in our fast-paced world! The problem is, stress can be taxing on our bodies, especially over time. In terms of fertility health, excess stress can impair your adrenals' ability to produce and balance hormones which are essential for reproductive health, including DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Nourishing your nervous system and adrenal glands with specific nutrients and herbal medicine can restore hormonal balance. Simple lifestyle and mindset changes, with the help of tools such as meditation, exercise and positive thinking, prepare you mentally and physically for preconception.
You can find more great articles dealing with stress here...
6. Come Home...It's Time!
There is only a short window of "fertile time" each month and, for some women, this timing can be all over the place. Your menstrual cycle has a story to tell, and Mother Nature has equipped you with many clues to help you identify your hormonal balance/imbalance and ovulation patterns.
Arming yourself with knowledge about your body's unique cycle, via patterns in temperature, cervical mucous, and physical and mental symptoms, allows you to identify your 'fertile time' each month, so you know when to go for it!
7. Take the Holistic Approach
Stress reduction, dietary therapy, and herbal and nutritional medicine help to support both male and female hormone systems. Add to this exercise to regulate cycles, improve sperm health and release the 'feel good' chemicals, endorphins, and you're well on your way to overall preconception health.
The key to balance is also remaining spontaneous and fun with your sex life and being present on your journey to conceiving. When you take the steps towards improved fertility health before conception, you can relax, enjoy and allow the process to unfold - safe in the knowledge you're doing everything you can to give your baby the best start in life.
Do You Have Any Tips For Preparing For Conception? Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Below!
To learn more about James and Laurentine's pregnancy journey, watch Baby Matters - an extended interview series featuring their personal experience with the birth of their son Hugo. From preconception to birth, and 6 months postpartum.