How Can You Optimise Your BODY and MIND for a healthy conception?
Motherhood has changed through time, women have active roles in society and their pressurised life at work has transformed their approach to pregnancy.
Many women instinctively think that after a decade of contraceptives, cleaning their bodies is a good idea. I’ve often hear from my clients the desire to get healthier, this means eating more veggies and fruits, and increasing their amount of movement daily. However, all these women don’t know how or where to start. This is so common because we’ve been taught for many years how avoid pregnancy but nobody has actually teach us how to properly prepare our bodies to nest a life.
This responsibility is not minor because during this period is when your child’s DNA is being set up for success or where many future health issues could take root. This means that balancing your hormones and preparing your body properly for conception could impact the genes of your baby.
Eating a healthy diet and exercise is important but to optimally prepare your body to conceive a baby, you should take additional considerations.
Humans have the incredible power to adapt to different environments. But there is a critical period in which that adaptation happens, in utero.
Once you become pregnant and before conception, your body predisposes to send messages to your baby that determine their health. These days, we hear that autism has doubled in the UK (1), or that more than one million children in the UK have asthma. (2) Children younger than six years old are obese and developing a range of health conditions that make growing so challenging. (3)
Additionally, mums are having difficulty to conceive. A study in the UK has predicted that infertility could double in the next decade alone. Today, about one in six women struggle to have a baby. (4)
The good news is that your body can re-adapt and give your baby the best chances to be healthy. Also, by changing your lifestyle you will improve your chances of natural conception and recovery time after pregnancy.
So, where can you start?
So, where can you start?
Balancing your diet:
All the things that we eat become information for our bodies. Today, one in five women has iron deficiency and about one in five people has vitamin D deficiency. (5) Also, our diets are full of processed foods, vegetable oils, flours, and sugar that don’t have any nutritional content, as a result, we’re struggling to conceive and our children are lacking optimum health.
A nutritious whole foods diet * Think about eating unprocessed foods. Avoid pre-made foods or anything that could have preservatives.
Stop counting calories and aim for quality. Pesticides have a tremendous impact on your health, so whenever possible eat organic and pastured raised. (6)
Stay away from fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free products.
Avoid eating and cooking with vegetable oils. Use coconut and avocado oil or pastured raised Ghee butter. (7)
Vitamins A, D, and K2, folate, choline, iron and Omega 3s.
Aim for a diet high on saturated fats, organ meats, veggies and fruits.
Address your Chronic stress – fatigue:
Women and men live in a world with no pauses. They work, have an active social life and travel constantly. This means that people don’t allow their bodies to stop and recover. The average Briton gets just six hours and 19 minutes sleep a night. (8) In both men and women, the same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones (such as melatonin and cortisol) also triggers a daily release of reproductive hormones. Additionally, women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that marks stress, took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to those who had less (9), and women with infertility report elevated levels of anxiety and depression. (10)
Sleep hygiene and mindfulness practices. Identify strategies that help you cope with daily stress. (Acupuncture – yoga – therapy or coaching)
Minimise your exposure to environmental toxins:
Heavy metals and chemicals in air, water, food, and health-and-beauty aids are impacting fertility as these toxicants cause endocrine disruption in men and women; men experience decreasing sperm count and function while women suffer progressively worse anovulation, impaired implantation, and loss of fetal viability. This damage not only decreases natural fertility but also makes in vitro fertilization (IVF) more challenging. (11)
- Breathing fresh air, use clean beauty and house-cleaning products.
- Double check if you’ve been exposed to heavy metals or toxins during your life (Mould, Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic) More information on this can be found here.
- Create a detoxifying protocol – Work with an expert to get real results. More information on this here.
Identifying signs of Post birth control syndrome or hormonal imbalances:
Post-birth control syndrome is “a set of symptoms that arise four to six months following the discontinuation of oral contraceptives.
Symptoms range from irregular periods, migraines, GI problems, acne, anxiety and depression. (12)
Optimising your diet, supplement with zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, regulate your Circadian Rhythms, ensure enough carb and calorie consumption, manage stress, boost liver detox capacity. I always recommend to work with a functional medicine or integrative medicine practitioner to overcome this issue.
All this can be overwhelming, so find the support you need, particularly if you’re already having difficulty to conceive. Asking for help and getting curious about your fertility is the first step you can take to improve your chances of having a healthy conception.
List of Pregnancy Rich Foods Sources
List of Vitamin A, D, and K2-Rich Foods:
- Liver, beef, and goose (A, K2)
- Full-fat dairy products (A, K2)
- Cod liver oil (D)
- Salmon (D)
- Dark leafy greens, including kale, spinach, and collard, mustard, and beet greens (K2)
Folate rich foods:
- Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and turnip, mustard, and collard greens
- Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower
- Lentils and other legumes
- Liver, calf, and chicken
- Beef, liver, and muscle meat
- Eggs, whole (whites and yolks)
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower
Pregnancy-safe omega-3-rich foods:
- Cod and cod liver oil
- Liver, especially duck and pork
- Clams, cooked
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Dried herbs
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, it doesn’t mean you can optimise your health. You’d only need the support of a trained practitioner to ensure that your vitamins and minerals intake are optimum. This is important not only during pregnancy but for the rest of your life.
Focus on eating whole foods and avoid relying on processed foods that advertise vegan or vegetarian. This foods often have high levels of pesticides, preservatives, sugars and vegetable oils which aren’t good for your health.
Supplement and find the right balance for you and your baby!