As a Naturopath that specialises in women’s health, I’m often asked about the “best” tips for pregnancy and whilst every woman is individual, I have put together a list of the basics that I think that women should consider to improve fertility before they are looking at having babies.
It takes about 3 months for an immature follicle to turn into an egg to be released.
Everything that happens in this time can affect the egg quality so I always suggest starting care at least this amount of time before you try for a baby, including taking a good pre-pregnancy multi with activated B’s.
This is also relevant if you are doing IVF and I do suggest some more nutrients in addition to a good pregnancy vitamin if you are undergoing IVF. Egg quality absolutely matters.
There is overwhelming evidence that a Mediterranean style diet can assist in preconception care and egg quality but you don’t have to know the ins and outs of it to get benefits. Just follow the basics of lots of fresh veg, good plant-based fats, good complex carbs (eg. potato, sweet potato, quinoa, rice, oats etc) moderate protein levels and limited processed foods.
Now is not the time to go low carb unless you have PCOS (generally), in which case I would suggest seeking the assistance of a health professional that specialising in nutrition for women.
There have been estimates that by the time a woman leaves the house in the morning she has put on about 250+ chemicals on her body.
There is so much evidence about the potential effects of some chemicals on our body and babies. I’m not being an alarmist here, just last week a mainstream medical resource centre, Medscape, featured an article about “forever chemicals” being tied to earlier menopause.
Start with anything that goes on your skin because it absorbs everything. Go for the low tox version and continue with these when you are pregnant too. And please, please do not get a spray tan if you are thinking of getting pregnant or are pregnant.
It doesn’t have to be crazy – in fact, it’s better that it isn’t.
The simple reality is that we are supposed to move and we are healthier if we do. It helps regulate our hormones and our brain. Both are super important if we want to make babies. Little tip is that exercising while you are pregnant is also very important.
It is safe to start a (sensible) exercise program while pregnant even if you have not exercised before. Just go easy and maybe consult a professional that is qualified in giving guidance regarding exercise and pregnancy
Get Your Zen On
Our bodies are incredible and are programmed to preserve our life.
When there is constant stress or poor sleep (which is a stress anyway) in our lives then we are far less likely to get pregnant.
To our body stress = danger.
Beyond the biochemistry that exists when we get stressed and the knock on effect that has on our menstrual cycle – if we look at it from an evolutionary point of view why would our all-knowing body allow us to bring a baby into a world that is perceived as being dangerous? Totally makes sense.
Lastly – all of the above applies to men!
I always say in clinic that making babies is a two-person sport.
Whether that is through artificial reproduction techniques or through traditional means it doesn’t matter.
It takes about the same time for sperm to mature as it does for an egg to mature and sperm quality is affected by everything that egg quality is. It has been estimated that sperm quality has dropped by 50% between 1973 and 2011 and males contribute to about half of the infertility cases in Australia.
Also understand that the “acceptable” range in the average sperm test analysis is actually the lowest percentage range that the World Health Organisation identified as being fertile. By no means does that make it optimal.
What he does is important too and what’s more it can be improved with the right nutrients and lifestyle changes!
Come visit me if you would like an individualised plan made up specifically for you and your circumstances to help with fertility – I would love to help.