important is it to prepare your body for pregnancy before
you conceive? Well that
depends on who you ask! As a
holistic nutritionist and prenatal
wellness coach I believe
that the first opportunity you have to optimize your childís health is
in the preconception period. It also helps to boost natural
fertility, which could conceivably save you months or years of heartache
when you are ready to have a baby. Unfortunately medically unexplained
infertility is on the rise and I think that our high stress lifestyles,
nutritionally deficient diets and overwhelming amount of environmental
toxins are to blame. By starting to make small changes over the 6-12
month period before conception you can ensure that you are creating the
best possible environment for a baby to grow and thrive.
take a look at this concept of nourishing the soil before you plant the
seed. Farmers and gardeners understand the
importance of preparing, tilling and fertilizing the soil long before
they plant their crop. They understand that the nutrients contained
within the soil provide nourishment for the plants whole
life cycle, not just germination. This analogy is a great example of
why preconception health is so important. It should be considered a
component of preventative medicine, beginning up to 12 months prior to
women consciously trying to become pregnant. Creating a safe and
nourishing home for that little seedling to grow will help ensure its
survival from germination to maturation.
you know that it takes over 3 months to mature the egg to be ready for
ovulation and over 3 months for men to produce a new batch of sperm?
During this time they are extremely sensitive to nutritional
deficiencies and exposure to toxins - so much so that if the quality of
the egg and sperm are low enough you may not be able to conceive!
Knowing this, Iíd like to suggest that you ďAct
pregnant now, to get pregnant laterĒ which Gabriela Rosa, a
fertility expert in Australia highly recommends. The good news is that
better quality sperm and eggs lead to increased fertility, reduced risk
of miscarriage and healthier babies.
pregnant and didnít prepare in advance?
Donít fret. Applying these preconception tips during pregnancy will
also have a positive effect on the health of your baby.
you have the time, I recommend taking a minimum of 6-12 months to
prepare your body for pregnancy. Why so
long? Because we donít live in the same world that our grandparents
and parents grew up inÖ our diets now revolve around packaged and
processed convenience foods that are severely devoid of nutrients and
our homes and personal care products are filled with toxic chemicals. I
feel a strong pull now, more than ever to follow the guidance of our
ancestors and go back to traditionally prepared real
food to create a healthier generation of children.
should you start? The first step is to
create a positive mindset and intention for the changes you want to
make. Focus on gradually creating a healthier lifestyle through small
changes over a period of time and before you know it youíve set up a
great foundation for a healthy pregnancy! The more time you can give
yourself to integrate these changes, the better! Remember that it takes
approximately 120 days for our cells (eggs, sperm, red blood cells etc.)
to change from dietary and lifestyle modifications. Itís definitely
worth your time to take at least 4 months to prepare your body for
are 5 key tips to get you started:
taking hormonal birth control at
least 6-12+ months before you want to conceive. They are known to
deplete your body of the very same nutrients that you need for fertility
and to nourish a growing fetus during the first trimester. It can also
take months for your hormones to find their natural balance and for your
body to start ovulating again, which is essential for conception.
your body 6-12+ months in advance. I
recommend that you do this with the help of a qualified health care
professional to ensure that it is the right approach for you. Look for a
naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist or holistic nutritionist who
specializes in preconception health care for support. (I do NOT
recommend that you focus on weight loss or intense cleansing/detoxing in
the 6 months leading up to conception or when you are breastfeeding
because the toxins being released from your tissues can be damaging to
on building your nutrient reserves! This
is even more important for subsequent pregnancies. Both pregnancy and
breastfeeding require a lot of additional nutrients and if you are not
getting them through your diet your baby will take them from your body (ie.
if you are not getting enough calcium it will be taken from your bones.)
This can leave a mom very deficient and struggling to conceive the next
time around. The key to building your nutrient reserves is QUALITY.
Choose nutrient dense foods (not low calorie foods!) such as: organic
grass-fed meat and liver, pasture raised eggs, organic whole milk yogurt
and cheese, wild fish and seafood, unrefined fats and oils such as
butter, ghee, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic
vegetables that are mostly raw or fermented, leafy greens and sprouted
environmental toxins. Eat foods without
labels. Buy certified organic meat and produce. Switch to natural skin
and hair care products. Use only natural household cleaners. Canít
afford to buy all your fruits and vegetables organic? The Environmental
Working Group has found that people can lower their pesticide exposure
by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top
twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables (or buying them
organic) and eating the least contaminated instead.
Theyíve also put a really great Cosmetic
Safety Database where you can find safer alternatives for all
your skin care products. Donít forget to check out the 2010
Sunscreen Safety Guide as well.
months before conceptionÖ RELAX and act as if you are already
pregnant. What would you absolutely do or
not do if you found out you were pregnant? Since stress is probably the
number one fertility killer, looking at ways to reduce your levels of
stress and incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily schedule
can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of conceiving a
Di Domizio is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Prenatal Wellness
Coach and Birth Doula in Vancouver, BC. She is passionate about helping
women and couples prepare their body, mind and soul for pregnancy. You
can find her blogging about her personal journey to motherhood through
nourishing foods and conscious conception at http://prenatalcoach.com
You can also follow her updates through Facebook