Addressing preconception health will have lifelong benefits for you and your child.
Factors that may affect fertility include:
- Poor diet and nutrition
- 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.
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)
- 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:
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!