Preconception Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips

by Angela Prest - Naturopath & Nutritionist on April 1, 2015 · 0 comments

Addressing preconception health will have lifelong benefits for you and your child.

Factors that may affect fertility include:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Toxicity
  • Pollution
  • Radiation
  • Increasing age
  • Immune system status
  • Drugs (including caffeine, tobacco and alcohol)
  • Previous contraceptive history
  • Genitourinary infections (eg Chlamydia, Mycoplasma)
  • Reproductive conditions (eg endometriosis, PCOS)

Fertility problems are due to male reproductive health about 40% and the female about 40% of the time, with both partners reproductive health implicated in the remaining cases.

Preconception Nutrition and Lifestyle

It is important that both partners are involved in a healthy eating diet to provide the nutrients required to produce healthy sperm and eggs to create a healthy baby. Ideally at least 3-6 months before conception start detoxifying and establishing healthy practices.

Diet

INCLUDE AVOID
  • Eat organic foods, especially meat, and enjoy a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables full of antioxidants
  • Lean protein (eg lean meats, fish, eggs legumes), at least a few serves a day
  • Essential fats (eg flaxseed oil, fish, nuts, avocado) for brain development
  • Drink filtered water (2L/day)
  • Folate rich foods (green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lentils) to reduce neural tube defects
  • Mineral rich foods such as zinc, magnesium and calcium (eg lean meat, wholegrains, sunflower seeds) often deficient and important for hormone health, healthy sperm and fertile mucus
  • 5 small meals throughout the day
  • Refined sugars and carbohydrates
  • Artificial sugars (eg aspartame and sucralose)
  • Trans and hydrogenated fats (found in margarine and packaged snack foods)
  • High salt foods (eg potato chips and pickles)
  • Caffeine (2 cups of coffee or 1 can of coke can decrease fertility by 50%!)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Recreational drugs

Note: Caffeine levels in the following = Espresso (100-150mg/150ml), Instant coffee (60-100mg/150ml), Tea (30-100mg/150ml), Hot chocolate (30-60mg/150ml), Coke (40-100mg/250ml), Milk chocolate bar (20-60mg/30g)

Lifestyle

  • Minimise stress (as stress alone can stop you from conceiving, your body will produce stress hormones over sex hormones), make sure you have some down time, find something that agrees with you – try mindfulness meditations, yoga or tai chi, massage, acupuncture
  • Avoid exposure to toxins (eg household cleaners, paints, glues, chlorine, insecticides, some medications, smoking, plastics (use glass wherever possible), heavy metals) and avoid radiation (eg computer screens, x-rays, microwaves, airline flights, mobile phones, television)  as they damage sperm and egg quality, reducing optimal fertility. See Naturopath for “Home detox guide”
  • Obtain a healthy weight (overweight and underweight can affect your child’s susceptibility to disease, including birth defects, obesity, cardiovascular and diabetes as an adult)
  • Exercise regularly (more than 2 hours a week), it will help reduce stress, normalise weight, maintain muscle tone and increase pelvic circulation, providing sperm and eggs with nourishment, preventing constipation and reduce back aches
  • For males: avoid pressure and heat in the testicular region (eg wetsuits, tight fitting clothes, sedentary lifestyle, excessive exercise, sauna/stream rooms, electric blankets, long distance bike rides and mobile phones in pockets). Turn off your mobile phone where possible or at least flight mode when you are sleeping. Increase zinc rich foods, such as, lean meats, spinach and pumpkins seeds for healthy testes, sperm count, motility and quality. Increase omega-3 essential fatty acids (these are the ones your body can’t make itself, therefore must be obtain through the diet!). Every cell in the body is made up of a fatty outer layer which is easily damaged by free radicals (from toxin exposure mention above), thus, best combined with antioxidant to protect them. This required a “rainbow diet” – a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables in a variety of colours.

Benefits of natural preconception care:

FEMALES MALES
  • Regulate ovulation
  • Balance hormone levels
  • Improves health of ovaries, egg (ova), uterus and fallopian tube function
  • Treat underlying cause of infertility
  • Manage insulin resistance
  • Enhances quality and quantity of fertile mucous and reduces hostile mucous
  • Reduces miscarriage antibodies and sperm antibodies
  • Reduces morning sickness (from detoxifying the liver, so it can process the pregnancy hormones with ease)
  • Improves sperm count, sperm motility, health and quality of sperm
  • Balances hormones and boosts testosterone
  • Reduces sperm antibodies
  • Improvement in circulation and health of the testes
  • Improves health of prostate and quality of seminal fluid
  • Treat underlying cause of infertility

 

 

 

Flower essences can be utilised to cleanse on both emotional and physical levels. For example the Purifying blend from the Australian Bush Flower Essences:

  • Dagger Hakea helps forgiveness
  • Bottlebrush cleanses emotional baggage and bowel cleansing
  • Wild Potato Bush may help clear heavy metal and renews enthusiasm
  • Bauhinia helps letting go of negative emotions

See you Naturopath for a special mix tailored to you! Further specific nutrients may also be recommended to you by your Naturopath depending on your symptoms and pathology results.

Making positive changes now to optimise your health will have an impact on your fertility and the benefits don’t stop there. Not only are you giving your child the best start in life, but these choices you make now can influence them for life!

 

 

This post was written by...

– who has written 12 posts on Vibe Natural Health Blog.

Angela Prest is a Brisbane Naturopath working from Vibe Natural Health - a leading integrative natural medicine centre at The Grange. She has a wealth of practical knowledge around healthy eating and offers Hemaview live blood analysis to monitor cellular health. Angela enjoys helping people with nutrition and herbal solutions for : Digestive conditions and Detoxification, Weight Loss, Cardiovascular health - cholesterol and heart disease, Skin conditions, including Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Allergic conditions including Dermatitis & Sinusitis, Preconception care and Post-labour care and Men's Health, including fertility, Andropause and Prostate conditions. To book an appointment with Angela call 07 3366 7970 or book online at http://www.vibenaturalhealth.com.au Phone or Skype appointments are available to those living outside of Brisbane.

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