Preconception Care: Preparing for Pregnancy
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Preconception health is the ultimate preventative medicine. By taking the proper steps to optimize health before conception, you are promoting the healthy development of your future child.
Proper nutrition is crucial to all stages of life, especially before conception occurs. Preconception care should begin at least 3-4 months prior to conception and continue through pregnancy and breastfeeding. The moment egg and sperm unite an irreversible blueprint is created to guide the development of the baby. This blueprint will reflect the health of the egg and sperm in the months leading up to conception.
-Most women are aware of the importance of folate during pregnancy. It is important to start taking folate during the conception period as most spinal column defects occur very early in pregnancy, often before women are aware they are pregnant. I advise choosing a prenatal that contains folate over folic acid, the synthetic form of folate.
-CoQ10 is a cofactor involved in ATP production within the mitochondria for healthy cell division and reproduction.
-Essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are key for brain and nervous system development.
-Iron requirements increase during pregnancy, so it is important to check your levels to ensure adequate levels through pregnancy, as many women need additional iron during this key time.
We can’t forget to address preconception care for the men! Specific nutrients have been indicated for male fertility and sperm quality. I recommend both partners run a hormone and nutrient panel to identify any deficiencies. It can take several growth cycles to improve sperm quality, so it is best to optimize health at least 3-4 months prior to conception.
Preconception Lifestyle Tips
The home is often a major exposure for a variety of different toxins. Cleaning agents, laundry detergent, plastics, fragrances and more, all contribute to total toxic burden. These chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors and can interfere with hormone pathways. Replacing traditional cleaning products with natural ones can help create a healthier space for you prior to and during your pregnancy. A high-quality HEPA air filter can help remove dust, pollutants, metals and other small particles from the air. IQ Air and Austin Air are my two favorite air filters.
I never recommend detoxing during or shortly before pregnancy. Our bodies process toxins by releasing them into the bloodstream for excretion via urine, sweat, feces. If you are pregnant, this blood is also shared with your fetus. I recommend a targeted detox protocol at least a year prior to conception so that your body can clear these toxins well before conceiving.