Many couples see pregnancy as a good reason to get healthy. However for most the process only begins when the doctor has confirmed the pregnancy. This article looks at how to prepare your body for pregnancy and why getting healthy only once you are pregnant is not such a good idea.
Is this you?
‘I’ll quit smoking once I’m pregnant’
‘I’ll stop drinking alcohol once I’m pregnant’
‘I’ll stop eating junk food once I’m pregnant’
‘When I’m pregnant I’ll eat whatever I like’
‘I’ll cut down coffee or stop drinking it altogether once I’m pregnant’
Here are 4 natural fertility premises which demonstrate why this approach is not such a wise idea and why it’s a good idea knowing how to prepare your body for pregnancy:
1.Your baby is a 50-50 product of you and your partner’s genetic material.
2.Contrary to the common belief; that egg and sperm quality can not be altered, recent findings from nutrigenomic and epigenetic research show that your diet and lifestyle can alter your genetic material and the quality of your eggs and sperm.
3.It takes 120 days to produce a new batch of egg and sperm. During that time everything you and your partner consume and get exposed to (environmental pollution, air quality, radiation etc…) as well as your stress levels will influence the quality of the eggs and sperm from that batch.
4.Your baby’s blueprint – the layout of the body, organs, hands, feet, eyes, nose, etc… as well as organ function including the brain and nervous system, is already finished by the 8th week of pregnancy! All of his or her predispositions (good or bad) are already laid down; before many women even know that they are pregnant.
Think about it, two weeks pass by before your period is due. Another week or so before you realize that your period is late. That’s already 4 weeks during which your baby has been developing. By the time many women get a doctor’s appointment and the test results are back, they’ve been pregnant for 6-7 weeks. By this stage it’s too late to get healthy for the sake of your child.
I know many people got pregnant like this and went on to have normal babies. However how many of those babies developed asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, ADD, ADHD or some other health conditions by the time they were 10?
And while a lot of health problems can be attribute to child’s diet, lifestyle and exposure to food additives, second hand smoke and other chemicals in the house, a lot can be contributed to his or her genetic inheritance from conception.
Every Parent Wants to Give Their Child the Best Start in Life
It is every parent’s wish to have a healthy baby and a health child. Parents will do anything for their children to make sure they are safe and sound. No expense is spared when it comes to a child’s health. And as a parent I’m sure you will take preconception care more seriously and learn how to prepare your body for pregnancy now that you are aware of the consequences of the “I’ll get healthy only once I’m pregnant’ approach.
Multiple studies have shown the negative effects of coffee, alcohol and smoking on egg and sperm quality and the baby. Leading to miscarriages, preterm birth, and other pregnancy complications and compromised health of the child.
Some studies even suggest a higher incidence of childhood cancers among children whose father’s smoked during conception. Why? Because the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes damaged the genetic code of the sperm contributed to the baby.
Aside from the quality of the eggs and sperm, the baby is exposed to everything the mother is exposed to. The main difference is that the mother has a fully developed body with fully functioning organs capable of removing toxins and protecting the tissue from serious damage.
The baby, on the other hand does not yet have fully functioning organs, and the ability to detox or protect it’s tissue from damage. The placenta can protect the baby from high maternal hormone levels and some other chemicals and toxins but not all.
Caffeine, chemicals in cigarette smoke, alcohol, drugs and many other industrial pollutants can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s circulation, causing lasting damage, birth abnormalities, smaller body weight, retarded development and other complications which may only become apparent once the child is older.
1. Make a conscious decision with your partner that you want get pregnant.
2. Plan your pregnancy and find out how to prepare your body for pregnancy, don’t just dive in and see what happens. Having a child should not be one of those spur-of- the- moment decisions, which is why you should know how to prepare your body for pregnancy. And no, this is not taking all the spontaneity out of love making; this isn’t just about love making, but about another life and their quality of life. There are many other opportunities in life where you can have spontaneous sex with your partner; this should not be one of those occasions.
3. 120 days before conception remove all known toxins from your diet and adjust your lifestyle as if you were already pregnant (this includes both partners).
4. Eat a fertility promoting diet when seeking how to prepare your body for pregnancy.
5. Learn to chart your cycles to be able to time the conception during your most fertile time ensuring the freshest eggs and sperm possible.
6. Have an early pregnancy test, and if positive schedule an appointment with your doctor early.
7. Be diligent about not coming into contact with industrial pollutants (household cleaning products, gardening products, insecticides, herbicides…), food additives and artificial sweeteners, pesticides on non-organically grown food, coffee, alcohol, drugs and cigarette smoke, during your pregnancy.
This article introduced preconception care and how to prepare your body for pregnancy. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and/or personal experiences on this topic.
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.