Healthy Parents, Healthy Babies, Healthy Planet
So, you are planning to become pregnant! What an exciting time. Preconception folic acid supplementation and a basic prenatal vitamin is a step in the right direction for preparing for your pregnancy, but there are other important components to preconception health care.
A preconception health care program should be started at a minimum of 4 to 6 months prior to conception. Of course this depends on the health history of the individuals involved. Preconception health is as important for men as it is for women.
The following describes the components of a preconception health care approach:
1. Optimize Nutrition: Since nutritional status has implications for gene expression, diet, supplementation and herbal remedies can be used to ensure all nutrients are available for fetal development.
2. Avoidance of toxins: We are exposed to a slew of heavy metals and chemicals on a daily basis. There is no safe level of heavy metals! These can act as endocrine disrupters effecting fertility, but can also have an impact on a womans ability to carry a pregnancy to term and on fetal health. Remove mercury containing amalgam dental fillings and reduce your heavy metal and environmental toxin body burden; remove toxic chemicals from your home and your work-space; eat whole organic foods; avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, reduce exposure to electromagnetic pollution in your bedroom.
3. Strengthen Immune system: resolve any chronic infections, allergies or other immune system abnormalities. Frequent infections can effect your ability to get pregnant and carry a baby to term, not to mention cause a great deal of fatigue.
4. Achieve desired weight: being underweight or obese can increase the risk of infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and premature birth
5. Balance Hormones: hormone imbalances can influence your ability to conceive and may contribute to pregnancy loss. A healthy balance of hormones will support pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and your future fertility.
6. Cleanse your body: sperm and eggs need a toxin-free environment to generate and mature.
7. Relieve Stress: Low levels of stress are conducive to conception and a healthy happy pregnancy. Get weekly massages, find some time for meditation, yoga or nurturing activity that brings you joy…when you experience joy, the baby growing inside you does too!
8. Adequate Exercise Regmine: Pregnancy isn’t the time to start on new or intensive exercise programs so best get on it now! Choose activities that you enjoy, that are challenging but not overly strenuous. Get your heart rate up, build and tone your muscles ( you will need them for carrying baby in one arm while you are accomplishing your many day to day tasks), and stretch out tight muscles. At a minimum get out walking at a good pace for 1/2 hour a day.
By addressing the health of parents to be, we can have a positive impact on declining fertility rates, and reduce the increasing prevalence of chronic illness. Cells are replicating at exponential rates during the embryonic and fetal stages, and this continues through early childhood. This is a stage of great vulnerability and amazing potential, and we are responsible for protecting and nurturing healthy development. The ultimate goal of preconception health care is healthy mom, dad and baby. You do not need to be dealing with fertility problems in order to participate in preconception care, it is appropriate for everyone wanting to conceive.
Preconception health care lays the foundation for healthy conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant nutrition. The future of our families, communities, society and planet greatly depends on the health of mothers, fathers and their children. Parents, who participate in their health and the future health of their unborn child, will benefit immensely from living more consciously and in alignment with nature.