The best way to think of preconception planning and optimising your fertility is like buying a new house. Before we buy a house, we do the diligence, right? We get pre-approval from the bank for a loan (a scarily big loan if you’re buying in Sydney!). We research the housing market. We do building and pest inspections. We team up with a solicitor. We spend a huge amount of time and energy to to give ourselves the best opportunity to find the house we really want. The same goes for prepping our bodies for pregnancy, motherhood and fatherhood. Preparation is key. It takes time - months, to address nutritional deficiencies, balance hormones and get your body in to tip-top shape.
Preconception planning can reduce miscarriage, gestational diabetes and postnatal depression and increase your chance of having a healthy baby
Preconception Planning and Pregnancy 101
Preconception planning aims to prepare your body for pregnancy, birth and motherhood or fatherhood. I recommend a minimum 3-month period and ideally a 6-month period, before conceiving or trying to conceive. This will allow time to get your vitamins and minerals at optimum levels, balance your hormones, modulate your immune function and optimise your fertility.
The reason I recommend 6-months preconception planning is because it takes 2 and a half months for men’s sperm to grow, develop and be ejaculated. For eggs to complete their journey to ovulation, they receive a signal to begin their final maturation process about 5 months before they would be released from the ovary. Therefore, a 6-month preconception period is ideal, to get eggs, sperm and health in to tip-top shape.
If you miss the preconception planning window and you’re already pregnant, it’s even more important to hop to it, get your testing done (there's more on testing below) and switch to a wholefood diet, while you reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins.
IMPORTANCE OF PRECONCEPTION PLANNING
Preconception planning can reduce miscarriage, gestational diabetes and postnatal depression and increase your chance of having a healthy baby. Whether it’s your first or fourth pregnancy, preconception planning can give your body and baby, the best to chance to be at optimal health.
Throughout pregnancy your body has different energy requirements, vitamins and minerals needed during each trimester and during breastfeeding, and for this reason it's recommended you get nutritional support. For example, blood volume increases in second trimester, which is when our need for iron increases dramatically. It’s estimated that at least 1 in 5 women have iron-deficiency anaemia during pregnancy, which increases the risk of preterm delivery and subsequent low birth weight. A key part of preconception planning and pregnancy care is to address nutritional deficiencies and ensure your diet is meeting your needs, which can reduce miscarriage, pregnancy complications and labour risks.
SIgns you need to focus on preconception planning:
- Hormonal imbalances
- History of PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids and absence of menses
- History of miscarriages
- Fertility issues or using IVF
- High stress living
- Modern diet - processed food, caffeine, alcohol etc.
- Planning on falling pregnant in the next 12 months
TESTING & WHERE TO FROM HERE:
To find out what is going on with your reproductive system, sex hormones and fertility, we start by changing your diet; focusing on a fertility diet that is high in antioxidants (to protect eggs and sperm) and hormone balancing, and look at testing options. We can use a range of tests to understand exactly what is going on with your hormones and fertility. The most common tests are hormone testing, sperm analysis, live blood analysis and Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis testing.
We support you with nutritional guidance, meal plans, shopping lists, recipes and a bespoke prescription pad so you can prepare your body for conception, a healthy pregnancy, low-risk birth and life with a little one. Contact us now to book in your consultation