Taking good care of yourself impacts positively on the health of eggs, sperm and the uterus. A robust reproductive system influences the chances of successful conception and healthy pregnancy. There are a number of preconception programmes out there. The one I really recommend is Foresight by the Association For The Promotion Of Preconception Care which is a registered charity. Their programme optimises the chances of natural conception. They also offer hair analysis which measures the status of your essential minerals and levels of heavy metal toxins, which can impact upon the healthy development of the foetus.
Some suggestions of things you and your partner can do to prepare yourselves for conception …….
Fertility awareness - As ovulation nears your cervical mucus becomes, clear, still and stretchy. To help pinpoint your most fertile time you can also use fertility testing kits and monitors and/or chart your basal body temperature.
Basal body temperature is your temperature upon first waking in the morning before you get out of bed. Ovulation causes a slight raise in temperature and remains this way until it dips around day 28 when your period is due. You are most fertile on the day your temperature spikes and on the few days after this. Spikes can happen on other days but unless your temperature remains high then you probably aren’t ovulating. It might take a couple of months of charting your temperature to get an accurate picture of the day you ovulate. If your temperature remains elevated just before your period is due this is a strong likely hood of pregnancy.
Most experts agree that it’s best to have sex every other day for at least the week before and until a day or two after ovulation. This helps to keep the man’s sperm count high and ensures you will be having enough sex during your ‘fertility window’. Make sure any lubricants you use are ‘sperm friendly’ as most commercial lubricants are toxic to your partner’s little swimmers.
Exercise – Improves heart efficiency and blood circulation needed to direct essential nutrients to the reproductive system quickly.
If detoxing isn’t for you or if you want to a healthy plan after detoxing then focus your diet on the following healthy foods; organic, whole grains, meat, poultry, fish, fruit and vegetables, eggs and diary. Avoid refined (white flour) and processed foods, sugar, excess chocolate, tea and coffee, alcohol and smoking. Drink filtered water to avoid nasties (like lead).
Optimising your nutritional in take will maximise the amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy reproductive system. You can also supplement your diet with a multivitamin geared to conception; I used Pregnacare Conception which contains the recommended levels of folic acid, B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants like vitamin E to protect genetic material from free radical damage. You can also find a selection of supplements in Health and Wellbeing.
Avoid, reduce and eliminate toxins …….
Environment – There are a number of substances that are potentially harmful during pregnancy; lead and mercury. Lead is found in lead based paint. Traces can also leak into water from household piping so use a water filter if this is the case. Mercury is present in top of the food chain fish like tuna and shark. It is also found in dental amalgam fillings. If you need dental work and are trying for a baby or are pregnant ask for a white filling. Avoid chemical pesticides found in gardening products.
‘Organic your life’ for peace of mind that you are using safe and natural products. Use ‘green’ cleaning products. Avoid dyeing your hair during the first trimester, and if you really need to afterwards, best to use purely organic products. Also try to stick to organic skin care ranges and cosmetics.
Stress and relaxation - There’s nothing worse than blaming yourself for not getting pregnant because you are too stressed and then being too wound up to relax. In the Essential Over 35 Pregnancy Guide Ellen Lavin reassuringly dispels the myths about stress and points out that the relationship between stress and conception has been turned into ‘an elephant’. After all women get pregnant during very stressful times for example during war and as a result of rape. Ellen says that unless stress levels are so high that it interferes with menstruation and ovulation no emotionally stressful state can really influence the likelihood of pregnancy.
Having said that there is still absolute benefit in laying the psychological and emotional foundations for conception. There is enough evidence to demonstrate the powerful affect the mind has over the body. In fact, mind and body are deeply interconnected. The greater connection you feel to your body the more positive you may feel about getting pregnant. Also it makes sense to take care of your ‘mind, body and soul’ and approach preconception care from a holistic point of view. Relaxation can really help prepare your body.
Even taking regular breaks or going on holiday can help. How many stories have you heard of couples trying for years then going on holiday and conceiving whilst on holiday or shortly after? I conceived the month after returning from honeymoon where I’d also had a number of reflexology and massage treatments; I’m sure it all helped.
Regular meditation, even if only 10 to 15 minutes a day, can help reduce levels of stress and alleviate depression. It helps to relax and calm the breath and mind creating more awareness of your inner world and body. Creative visualisation and affirmation, which can be used in conjunction with meditation, are power tools for creating positive changes through imagining for example, a fertile womb and healthy pregnancy. Exercise like swimming, yoga and tai chi are also great ways of creating a healthier mind-body connection and increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the reproductive organs.
If you find relaxing difficult or uncover emotional blockages along the way then counselling can help you work through these. Therapy could offer invaluable support as you journey on the road to pregnancy.
Natural Treatments ….