Are you planning to have a baby, or do you know someone who is? Let’s talk about the importance of preconception planning. Embarking on a lifestyle clean-up at least 12 to 6 months before trying to conceive will increase your fertility, your baby’s health and intelligence. That’s right, health and intelligence. In research on diet and pregnancy, mothers whose diets highlighted fruits and vegetables had children with higher than average IQs when compared with the children of mothers whose diets did not.
Here are the most important four steps you can take now in your journey toward having a healthier and smarter baby!
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is one of the most crucial parts of preconception planning.
Research on fertility shows that optimum nutrition for men and women includes:
- Removing grains, sugars, starches, processed foods and processed dairy products from the diet.
- Getting carbohydrates by eating plenty of vegetables, some fruits and starchy sources like sweet potatoes and squash.
- Increasing healthy fats in the diet especially from sources like coconuts, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, butter, grass-fed meats, eggs, avocado and nuts.
- Switching to organic fruits and vegetables. Pesticides and herbicides found in conventional produce disrupt hormones and can negatively impact fertility. There is a body of research that shows pesticide residues in produce are linked to infertility and especially to poor semen quality, mobility and sperm counts.
2. Reduce your Toxic Load
In the documentary The Human Experiment, researchers reported finding more than 300 chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. These chemicals mean our babies are in danger of being pre-polluted even before birth. This is why it is essential that we do what we can to lessen our toxic load.
Here are some things you can do:
- Be mindful of the personal care products you use on your body.
- Be mindful of the cleaning products you use.
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables.
- Filter your drinking water and shower water.
- Avoid plastics (food containers, water bottles, plastic wrap), which contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals.
3. Reduce your Stress level
New evidence suggests that preconception stress increases the risk of infertility. a recent study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, have a harder time getting pregnant.
Here are some things you can do to help manage stress:
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Good news! This is already on our list.
- Get regular exercise. This is a powerful, well-studied antidote to stress.
- Try a mindfulness practice such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
- Make time to relax. Take a hot bath, walk in nature, get a massage, ...
- Practice Gratefulness. Research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
- Find your tribe. Strengthen your network of friends, family, and community.
4. Move your Body
Not a surprise that this is on the list! It’s important to exercise during pregnancy and your fertility will benefit from it. Find something you love to do and do it. Staying fit is important to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy labor and delivery.
We welcome you to call us to schedule a pre-pregnancy or pre-natal consultation in which we will look in depth at your diet and nutrient levels, microbiome gut health, environmental toxin concerns, and stressors in your life.
For those who want to go deeper or feel they have already mastered the guidance discussed above, wellstead health can also work with you on advanced investigations (e.g., looking into methylation issues and immune system regulation). These deeper investigations can address a wide variety of pediatric and parent health topics, including the possibility of decreasing the likelihood of future allergy, asthma, eczema, etc.
There is a lot to consider when planning to have a baby and at wellstead health we want your child to have as many advantages as possible and this is why we are committed to helping you develop healthy habits for the best possible outcomes when it comes to preconception, pre-natal and early childhood care.
For more information, click here to request a complimentary 15-minute consultation with Dr. Jeff Kreher.