Most people don't realise that a healthy pregnancy actually starts well before conception. It takes four months for all of our cells to regenerate, meaning that any healthy change you make will take this long to have an effect on a cellular level.
So what does this mean if you’re looking to conceive? To improve your natural fertility, you should start looking at making healthy changes at least four months prior to conception. These changes will ensure you and your partner have the best quality eggs and sperm, which will not only make it easier to conceive, but it will also positively impact the health of your baby in the long run.
If you’re thinking of conceiving, use our checklist to ensure you’re preparing yourself for a healthy pregnancy:
Achieve a healthy body composition – being either overweight or underweight can impact your fertility and delay the time it takes to fall pregnant.
Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. This will increase your energy and strength, help with stress and help prepare your body for pregnancy.
Reduce your stress - stress management techniques like meditation, yoga or tai chi can all help to reduce your levels of the hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which are thought to play a key role in up to 30 per cent of all infertility problems.
Eat fresh foods – eat organic where possible and cut down on packaged foods to give yourself the best possible nutrients for fertility.
Increase good fats - including monounsaturated fats in olive oil, polyunsaturated fats in oily fish and nuts and mid-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil.
Cut down on dangerous fats - including trans fats hidden in donuts, biscuits and lollies. These foods may actually increase your risk of infertility by as much as 70 per cent!
Increase vitamin E – this is crucial for the health of the uterine lining, boosting sperm health and motility, and protecting your cells from toxins. It has also been shown to help prevent miscarriage in women with a history of recurrent miscarriages. Good sources include avocado, raw nuts and seeds, raw vegetable oils, berries, cooked spinach, pumpkin and broccoli.
Catch some Vitamin D - getting a little sunshine before and while you are pregnant can radically reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, preeclampsia and Type 1 diabetes.
Take good quality pre-conception supplements, whether you are eating a healthy diet or not. Key nutrients for fertility include zinc, selenium, magnesium, calcium, B12, B6, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fats.
Have an STD check – infections like chlamydia, where symptoms may not be obvious, can interfere with fertility. These are more common than you may think.
Minimise your exposure to toxic chemicals – environmental toxins may dramatically affect both male and female fertility.
Cut out caffeine, alcohol and smoking to reduce your toxicity and oxidative stress.
Avoid dairy products – cow’s milk contains high levels of hormones that are disruptive to your healthy hormonal balance.
Avoid gluten – along with dairy, it is one of the most common intolerances and can lead to inflammation and nutrient deficiencies. Having an IgG Food Intolerance Test will help you determine any other intolerances.
Avoid unfermented soy – processed soy products contain phytoestrogens which may disrupt hormonal balance and affect thyroid function in some women.
If it’s too late for you, don’t stress. The main thing to remember is that any healthy change, whether it’s prior to conception or during pregnancy, will help to improve the health of your baby.
If you would like more information about natural fertility or pre-conception care, call us for a free 15 minute phone chat with a Naturopath. Click here to book now.
Yours in health,
Are you planning to have a baby? Or are you already pregnant and looking to provide the best start for your new family member?
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