Preconception Care: Preparing for Pregnancy
Preconception health is the ultimate preventative medicine. By taking the proper steps to optimize health before conception, you are reducing potential risks of complications and promoting the health of your future child.
Proper nutrition is crucial to all stages of life, especially before conception occurs. Preconception care should begin at least 4-6 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, however it is important to start taking when trying to conceive as most spinal column defects occur at fusion very early on in pregnancy, often before women are aware of their pregnancy. I also advise taking a folate supplement over folic acid (the synthetic form of folate).
-Essential fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are key for brain and nervous system development.
-Probiotics will help maintain a healthy gut and immune system by providing beneficial flora for your baby.
-Iron requirements increase during pregnancy, so it is important to assess levels to ensure adequate levels through pregnancy, as women will also need additional supplementation during this time.
We can’t forget to address preconception care for dad! Specific nutrients have been indicated for male fertility and sperm health. I recommend both partners run a comprehensive nutritional panel to identify any deficiencies. It can take several sperm cycles to improve sperm quality, so it is best to optimize health at least 3-4 months before planning to conceive.
The home is often a major exposure source of many different toxins. Cleaning agents, laundry detergent, flame-retardant bedding, carpets, and more, all contribute to toxic burden. Lots of these chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors and may disrupt hormonal balance. Replacing chemical-laden cleaning products with natural ones can help create a healthier living 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 to. IQ Air and Austin Air are my two favorite air filters.
Many pregnant women come to me wanting to detox. Detoxing while pregnant is a hard no. Our bodies process toxins by releasing them into the bloodstream for excretion via urine, sweat, feces, etc. While you are pregnant, this blood will be given to your fetus first based on demand. I recommend assessing potential stored toxins, such as heavy metals, with a targeted detox protocol at least a year prior to conception so that your body has a lower toxic burden during pregnancy.