What if we spent just as long preparing to get pregnant as we do preparing to get married?
Preparing for a Wedding vs. Preparing for Pregnancy
Couples know that preparing a beautiful wedding takes work. Many people take 12-18 months working on the details for this one day. They know it takes a plan. It doesn’t just fall together, unless perhaps they simply elope.
Yet when a couple decides to try to have a baby, they often jump right in without preparing themselves or their bodies. Our society doesn’t understand that there are many things a couple can do to prepare themselves for a healthy pregnancy. It’s like we think everyone can do the equivalent of eloping in this area.
When Pregnancy Doesn't Happen Quickly
When a couple does not achieve pregnancy quickly, they are often told that it just takes time and to keep trying.
Although this is intended to be encouraging, this isn’t an empowering message. I would rather offer the couple a clear plan towards health, helping them see this as a time of preparation instead of just waiting.
Focusing on helping the couple achieve ultimate health increases their chances of a healthy pregnancy and a radiantly healthy baby.
How Long to Focus on Preconception Health
Did you know that the egg takes about 120 days to mature from a follicle to an egg? And that sperm matures in about 60 days?
Since the health of the egg and the sperm are vital to the health of the baby, it is important to focus on being as healthy as possible for at least that long before trying to conceive.
Rebecca Fett’s book, It Starts With the Egg, explains that egg quality is the single most important reason for age-related infertility and recurrent miscarriages. But preconception health is a vital for both individuals in the couple.
The Father's Role
We often focus on the woman's health when a couple is preparing to conceive. If a couple struggles with fertility, it is often viewed as the woman's issue. But that is absolutely not the truth!
According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, about a third of the time infertility is due to an issue with the man. About a third is an issue with the woman, and the rest of the time there is no known cause.
The health of the man and his sperm is so important to the health of the baby. In fact, the father's sperm is actually responsible for creating the placenta and umbilical cord! These structures have a huge responsibility, supplying the fetus with oxygen and nutrients while removing toxins throughout the entire pregnancy.
If the man's sperm is responsible for this vital structure, shouldn't we consider men's health and lifestyle just as much as the women when trying to conceive?
Health Practices that Impact Preconception Health
My work with preconception clients follows the Schaefer protocol. In it, there are eight essential health practices that are vital for preconception health. This is a brief look at these essential principles.
- Chiropractic: Regular adjustments support the health of the nervous system, which is the main communication system in the body. A spine that is out of alignment creates interference with the communication pathways. When trying to conceive, it is especially important for your whole body to work together.
- Hydration: We know that hydration helps liver and kidney function, but did you know that staying hydrated actually can affect your hormones and allows your cells to function better? In addition, it increases proper production of cervical mucus in women & better sperm quality and quantity in men.
- Glycosylation: Glycosylation is a process that helps the 30 trillion cells in our body communicate better. Cell-to-cell communication within the body is vital in conception and throughout pregnancy. It is imperative that we support it through a good quality supplement.
- Rest: Getting adequate sleep affects our hormones, weight, and blood sugar. Without proper rest ovulation can be disrupted.
- Movement: Being physically active isn’t just good for us, but can have a positive effect on your reproductive health. A recent meta-analysis of studies showed promising data that indicated being active could help with reproductive health outcomes.
- Real Food: The power of real foods can not be replaced by a supplement. The foods you eat can have a great impact on balancing your hormones and stabilizing your blood sugar. Getting the proper nutrients is even important in building up the lining of your uterus.
- Essential Nutrients: Studies are showing that certain vitamins and minerals may significantly increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. One such study found that women with adequate levels of vitamin D were four times more likely to get pregnant. Taking the right dose of high quality supplements can support the health of your body. When using the Schaefer Protocol we help both mom and dad determine which essential nutrients they are likely lacking in and supplement with these.
- Empowerment: Excessive stress is not good for the body. It affects both hormone levels and the nervous system ability to function properly. Dealing with past trauma and handling stress is an important aspect of overall health.
If you (or someone you know) wants to start a family these health practices can have a huge impact and I would love to work with you. My mentor, Dr. Marcia Schaefer, has already assisted over 100 couples (many of which were previously diagnosed with some sort of diagnosed or unexplained infertility), whose journey towards health led them to having a healthy baby.
At DuPage Family Wellness, we have a plan to guide you on your health journey. Whether you are on a preconception path or not, these principles can be applied to your situation.
Preconception health is my passion, so we would be especially delighted to come alongside couples looking to start their family from a place of health.
Let us know if you’d like us to join you on this journey from preconception forward!