Bun in the oven. Knocked up. Pea in the pod. Being late. Eating for two. Wearing the bustle wrong. How ever you phase it it’s a mother-to-be’s main goal when thinking about pregnancy. This might be a new and confusing topic for many of you, as for years you have been trying to prevent pregnancy. In a sea of mixed information you might feel lost and overwhelmed but you want to do everything you can to ensure your future baby has the best start. The answer for you might be preconception planning! Let’s cover the importance of moving your body in advance, how to build your nutrient reserves, what to avoid in your environment and how to stop taking hormonal birth control pills.
How important is it to Prepare your Body?
I believe that the first opportunity you have to optimize your child’s health is in the preconception period. It also helps to boost natural fertility, which could conceivably increase your chances for conception.
Unfortunately, medically unexplained infertility is on the rise and I think that our high stress lifestyles, nutritionally deficient diets and overwhelming amount of environmental toxins are to blame. By starting to make small changes at least 3-4 months before conception you can ensure that you are creating the best possible environment for a baby to grow and thrive.
If you have the time, I recommend taking a minimum of 3-6 months to prepare your body for pregnancy. Why so long? Because we don’t live in the same world that our grandparents and parents grew up in… our diets now revolve around packaged and processed convenience foods that are severely devoid of nutrients and our homes and personal care products are filled with toxic chemicals. It’s time to ditch the chemicals and go au-naturel.
So, “where should I start?”
The first step is to create a positive mindset and intention for the changes you want to make. Focus on gradually creating a healthier lifestyle through small changes over a period of time and before you know it you’ve set up a great foundation for a healthy pregnancy! The more time you can give yourself to integrate these changes, the better! Remember that it takes approximately 90 days for our cells (eggs, sperm, red blood cells etc.) to change from dietary and lifestyle modifications. It’s definitely worth your time to take at least 4 months to prepare your body for pregnancy.
5 Tips to get you Started:
START MOVING YOUR BODY
Moderate regular exercise can not only improve fertility but also boost overall quality of life and emotional wellbeing. Don't think of it in terms of just weight. Your goal should be to be as healthy (from the inside out) as possible before getting pregnant. This may include losing some weight or gaining weight, but it may also include getting stronger, increasing your endurance and eating healthier. Pregnancy is difficult enough; anything you can do to be stronger for it will only help you during pregnancy and beyond. (Car seats are HEAVY ladies!) Moderate exercise before pregnancy is associated with many positive outcomes for mom and baby, including boosted fertility, less pain while pregnant and lower weight gains during pregnancy. And women whose weight is in a healthy range before pregnancy help lower the risk of serious complications for their babies, such as neural-tube and heart defects.
LOAD UP ON DENSE NUTRIENTS
Pregnancy requires a lot of additional nutrients and if you are not getting them through your diet your baby will take them from your body (ie. if you are not getting enough calcium it will be taken from your bones.) This can leave a mom very deficient and struggling to conceive the next time around. The key to building your nutrient reserves is QUALITY. Choose nutrient dense foods (not low calorie foods!) such as: organic grass-fed meat and liver, pasture raised eggs, organic whole milk yogurt and cheese, wild fish and seafood, unrefined fats and oils such as butter, ghee, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic vegetables that are mostly raw or fermented, leafy greens and sprouted grains. Pretty much the Italians have been doing it right for years. Eat quality foods, in the right portions, don’t skip meals and cook with love.
REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
My top tips when shopping to make it easy is to load your cart with foods without labels, buy certified organic meat and produce, switch to natural skin and hair care products and use only natural household cleaners. Cost saving tip: head to your local farmers market and ask what their farming protocol is. A lot of local farm stands follow the same quality control as organic but at a fraction of the price. The labeling of organic foods is very expensive, so its a win-win situation to support your local farmers and save yourself some money at the same time.
RELAX AND ACT AS IF YOU ARE ALREADY PREGNANT
What would you absolutely do or not do if you found out you were pregnant? Since stress is probably the number one fertility killer, looking at ways to reduce your levels of stress and incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily schedule can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of conceiving a healthy baby. Grab my FREE Calm guide that’s loaded with amazing tools to de-stress your life.
DITCH THE HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL
At least 6-12+ months before you want to conceive. They are known to deplete your body of the very same nutrients that you need for fertility and to nourish a growing fetus during the first trimester. It can also take months for your hormones to find their natural balance and for your body to start ovulating again, which is essential for conception. During this phase start tracking your cycles and don’t forget to use a barrier method to still prevent pregnancy while your body and hormones are balancing out.
Not sure where to start or too busy juggling a huge To-Do to even think about planning? Join our Fit for Fertility Lab and I’ll give you the steps and tools to help you prepare for body for pregnancy