Taking preventative measures and knowing the importance of fuelling your body BEFORE baby is conceived can not be overstated.
“But if the baby isn’t even created yet what does the health of my body have anything to do with it?”
It’s important to remember that that little human is created through an egg from you and a sperm from your husband. It takes approximately 3 months for those cells to mature and be released into potential human beings. The health of these cells is largely important in the health of your fertility and the health of your future baby. Also remember that as a women, that tiny person is taking up residence in your body for 9 entire months and it’s so utterly important for that home to be in good condition for that baby to have the best start at life, that pregnancy to be maintained and for the babies health as they age.
More and more research is being done on the importance of a healthy preconception body for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Traditional preconception diets have been used in diets throughout the world for hundreds of year. In some cultures women are required to eat certain foods and live a certain way before they are even allowed to get married to ensure the child is given the best start. My goal is to not only help those struggling to get pregnant conceive but to ensure that all women who are looking to start a family do so in the healthiest way possible. Establishing proper preconception bodies is the ultimate form of preventative health and preparing for healthier communities.
Research has now shown that healthy bodies before pregnancy can reduce the risk of a low birth rate, as well as your baby’s risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cognitive issues and many more chronic health conditions as they grow older. It is so important that we take the time to do this for our future babies to allow them the potential for healthier lives which in turn will create healthier and happier communities.
“For more than two decades, prenatal care has been a cornerstone for improving pregnancy outcomes in the United States. “ (1)
The best time to begin these changes is minimally 3 months before you wish to begin your family (although the longer the better). The reason for this is that it takes 3 months for egg and sperm (yes guys you too can do this!) to mature and be released. Therefore it will take that long for the effects to be applicable. Don’t forget that these two cells – eggs and sperm – are your future babies. This is their beginning, their DNA and everything that makes them who they are on the day they are born.
By the time you realize you are pregnant some critical areas of the baby’s body have already been well started. During this time is when the baby and the mother are most vulnerable to negative health outcomes. Neural tube defects can happen within the first few weeks of pregnancy, as this part of the body is one of the first to be created and closes up quickly within the first few weeks. (2) Making sure you have proper folate levels before pregnancy will be essential in preventing this too common issue.
“The quality of a woman’s diet during pregnancy has an influence on positive fetal and maternal outcomes; therefore, a healthy, balanced diet is important before as well as during pregnancy.” (2)
A lack of nutrients and women’s health can also cause issues with placental attachment. If this is not completed correctly research has shown a link to an increased risk of preeclampsia for the mother and preterm births for the babies. Placental problems can also have negative impact for the future health of the baby and may lead to chronic health issues.
It is so essential that we focus on improving our overall health and properly balancing our body systems before conception. When our body systems get out of sync, stress on the body can increase, as well as inflammation and therefore lead to a decrease in essential nutrients that our body needs. These issues have been shown to increase the risk of pregnancy complications for baby and mother, which can have negative long term effects for both. (1) Starting off with healthy bodies can also help decrease the risk for complications in your pregnancy including weight gain issues, gestational diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc) The good news is that so much of this can be improved with proper self care and nutrients preconception. Weight gain issues, gestational diabetes hypothyroidism, preterm labour, etc can all be improved through diet and proper supplementation.
“Furthermore, several studies have shown that most women of reproductive age are not getting enough vitamins A, C, B6 and E, folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium in their diet.” (2)
“Maternal pre-pregnancy weight is a significant factor in the preconception period with underweight contributing to a 32% higher risk of preterm birth, and obesity more than doubling the risk for preeclampsia, gestational diabetes. Overweight women are more likely to undergo a Cesarean delivery, and their newborns have higher chances of being born with a neural tube or congenital heart defect. Among nutrition-specific interventions, preconception folic acid supplementation has the strongest evidence of effect, preventing 69% of recurrent neural tube defects. Multiple micronutrient supplementation shows promise to reduce the rates of congenital anomalies and risk of preeclampsia.” (3)
Don’t underestimate the power you have in your own hands to change your life and that of your future children! Ensuring you are receiving the right nutrients, eating a healthy diet, exercising and a positive mindset can truly change the world! These things have a significant impact on your fertility and health.
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