If we are to solve the world’s infertility epidemic – then the most obvious place to start – is bringing more awareness to preconception care. A topic that has increased in public awareness over recent years – but still hasn’t received the widespread understanding and recognition it very much needs. Why? My guess – unlike assisted reproductive technology – there’s no BIG money in it.
It is estimated that one in four women in the UK have pregnancies that end in miscarriages. Many are diagnosed with conditions that prevent fertility. And in at least 25% of all cases, a cause of infertility cannot be identified. While millions of women around the world may feel disheartened and disillusioned – in many cases – a preconception care plan may be all that is needed.
From the earliest record time, the ancient spartans ordered their maidens to increase their level of wellness, exercise and to avoid hazardous substances. This is not a new concept. But an age old one. In it’s very essence, preconception care is about getting both partners physical, mental and emotional health into the very best place possible before trying. It is a process which addresses the underlying medical, behavioural and social factors – with the aim to optimise fertility health.
The preconception care process:
The latest research suggests the process should take anywhere between four months up to two years. Be it naturally or via assisted reproduction. But don’t let that put you off. While there are many (sometimes complex) factors to consider, a good basic starting point is to clean up your diet and lifestyle:
- hydrate through drinking glass bottle or filtered water – and plenty of it. As a general guide – aim for six to eight glasses per day BMI dependent.
- follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Coined as the healthiest diet in the world. It offers a rich spectrum of nutrient dense foods to nourish your body and boost your base line nutrition.
- avoid non-organic produce (where possible) and boost your nutritional status by eating an abundance of organic fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. Aim for 6-10 servings per day. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it. Aim for 5-6 servings a day and work your way upwards. Homemade juices and smoothies are a great and effective way to pack in lots of goodness.
- Detox by avoiding alcohol, refined sugar, coffee, black tea, wheat and cow’s milk.
- Avoid endocrine disruptors – found in plastics and dirty skin care products. Switch to clean, non toxic skin and hair care products. Most good health food retailers these days sell a wide range of great alternatives to commercial beauty products.
- take a fertility boosting/preconception care multi vitamin mineral supplement containing 600mcg to 800mcg of folic acid.
- drink herbal teas to balance, tone and nourish your uterous, e.g. red clover, red raspberry leaf tea, ginger and green tea are all great options.
- try a digital detox once a week. Thousands of studies confirm that radiation emitted from wifi devices, hot spots and cell phone towers etc. are harmful. EMF is everywhere and now 5G is being rolled out. While it’s impossible to avoid, here are some things you can do limit the affects:
- Turn off all digital equipment in your room at night. EMF is linked with sleep disruption.
- If you use your phone as an alarm clock, put it on flight mode. It will still work.
- Avoid putting your phone in your pocket, due to close proximity to reproductive organs.
- Avoid putting your laptop or ipad - on your lap.
- Text more – talk less. Use a landline at work or at home when you can.
Actively working to manage and lower your stress levels through yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, jogging, pilates, gym or walking. Aromatherapy, massage, hot baths, walks in nature. Whatever you enjoy that helps you to feel less stressed and more relaxed.
Working with an experienced Naturopath/Nutritionist and BodyTalk practitioner who can prescribe key herbs and nutrients tailored just for you – will help to fast track the process. I myself have successfully facilitated in helping so many struggling women go on to conceive and have strong, healthy babies. Often in a matter of a few weeks to several months, case dependent.
Overall health status has a profound impact on our hormones. The above ‘clean up’ will play a role in helping your hormones to normalise and more effectively signal to each other in a more balanced and communicative way. Ultimately helping to optimise your endocrine system – and the health of it.
Key areas of concern that are often overlooked in fertility health include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Thyroid and adrenal disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, early menopause etc.
- Genitourinary infections, i.e. pelvic inflammatory disease, cystitis etc.
- Digestive disorders, i.e. parasites, candida etc.
- Emotional health
- Stress and anxiety
- Autoimmune conditions, e.g. hashimotos thyroiditis and Crohn’s disease etc.
- Allergies and intolerances
- Electromagnetic frequencies and radiation emitted through cell phone towers, mobile phones, electronics, microwaves, x-rays etc
Preconception care can also enhance your baby’s health and wellness outcomes:
So you have little to loose and everything to gain by giving preconception care a try. Preconception care will boost your fertility health and increase your chances of conceiving and sustaining a pregnancy through to full term. Not only that – but science tells us that preconception care can increase the physical, emotional and intellectual health of your baby – ultimately giving your baby to be – the very best start to life!
The approach of preconception care is one of the best gifts you could give yourself and your newborn child. Taking care of ‘you’ will allow for YOU to take even better care of your baby.
London naturopath, nutritionist, medical herbalist and BodyTalk practitioner Merran Lusher, ND offers science-based intuitive holistic health consultations and healing for mind, body and soul. Merran consolidates other natural therapies into her treatments including energy work, homeopathy, reiki, dietary and lifestyle advice and much more. She runs a busy weekly remote clinic to clients around the world and also consults across two busy London practices in Chelsea and North London. You can read more about her here.