It’s on the mind of many women as they approach that time of feeling ready to start trying. If you want to have a baby some time soon, you want to do everything possible to ensure you & your baby are as healthy as possible.
Here is a list of what to know before getting pregnant. Of course, speak with a licensed health care provider before implementing any changes here to make sure you find a plan that’s right for you.
- Start your supplements: This could be its very own topic as there is lots to consider but here are some of the basics. Start your supplements at least 3 months before you hope to conceive. Speak with your Naturopathic Doctor to get a customized supplement plan unique to your needs.
- Good quality prenatal vitamin: Should contain 1mg of folate (the bio active form of folic acid). Some ND-friendly options are: NFH, Genestra, Progressive & Mega Foods.
- Vitamin D: I prefer a liquid & be sure to take with food as it is a fat soluble vitamin. Most Canadians are vitamin D deficient so it’s probable that you are too. To be sure, get your levels checked with your MD or ND.
- High dose probiotic: I’m talking 15 billion+ of a multi-strain probiotic. This is because gut bacteria plays a very significant role in many things including hormone health. Your flora is also what will be passed to your baby via their exposure in vaginal canal & breast milk and will be the basis of their own immune system.
- Fish Oil with higher concentration of EPA: The majority of brain is made of fat. While you are making a baby it is important you are giving your baby healthiest essential fatty acid suitable for brain formation.
- Liquid Calcium/Magnesium: Babies form bones in the womb so making sure your levels are up to snuff will mean you will be less depleted when baby pulls from you to make up its own skeletal structure.
- Eat Well: It goes without saying but opting for a well balanced plant based & whole foods diet is crucial. Eat the rainbow of your vegetables & fruits. Have 1/2 your plate be plants, 1/4 plate be protein and 1/4 plate be complex carbs (like sweet potatoe, quinoa etc.). And don’t forget your healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, grape seed oil & coconut oil.
- Cut out harmful foods: If you know or suspect you have a sensitivity to a certain food, make sure to cut it from your diet at least a few weeks prior to conception. Signs of a sensitivity to certain foods could be: bloating, diarrhea, constipation, skin concerns etc. NDs offer food sensitivity testing to confirm what foods your body is reacting to. Removing those foods will optimize the environment where your baby will be growing. Some common inflammatory foods are: gluten & dairy.
- Decrease toxic burden: Limit drinking/smoking exposure and opt for more natural based cleaning supplies like good ol’ baking soda & vinegar and natural based beauty products (Check out EWG.org for more information on all things green).
- Eat organic: Eating organic will lower your consumption of harmful pesticides which are known neurotoxins. This will help to reduce toxic burden in your body. Babies are born already being exposed to chemicals/toxins due to what they are exposed to in the womb. It’s a good idea to reduce that burden on our little ones.
- Track Your Period & know when your fertile: If you haven’t already, download Kindara or P tracker App to your smart phone. These apps will allow you to get an idea of when you are most fertile (Hint: Its a 24 hour window around Day #14 of your cycle). Check out the book: “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler to become an expert on your cycle.
- Check your levels: It’s a good idea to get updated blood work done to see specifically your iron, B12, thyroid & even vitamin D levels are at. If these levels are sub-optimal, pregnancy will highlight those deficiencies as baby pulls from you what it needs to grow.
- Get a family doc & research midwives: If you haven’t got one already, get yourself a family doctor in your community. When pregnant, you can have your blood levels checked to confirm a pregnancy as well as have on going post natal care and pediatric care for your little one. Additionally, if you are hoping to use a midwife with your labour, ask local moms or do some research ahead of time for the midwife collectives close to you & specifically which ones have access to the birth centre or hospital you’d like to labour in (https://www.ontariomidwives.ca).
- Reduce Stress: There is many reasons to reduce stress but as it applies to fertility; being stressed can delay or completely hinder ovulation. To stay regular & have healthy cycles, stress is a factor to look at. Reducing stress can be done through exercise, meditation, rest, self care, therapy, yoga, nature walks etc. NDs can recommend herbal supplements to combat stress as well called: adaptogens.
- Savour pre-pregnany/pre-baby time: Don’t forget to enjoy & savour this time before pregnancy. I have been told by new parents to take some time to travel before baby because that can get difficult with an infant. Soak up this time while it’s just the 2 of you.
This is such an exciting time & a time where a little goes a long way for your future baby. There is lots we can do to optimize the health of our body and therefore our future little ones. Speak to a Naturopathic Doctor about optimizing your fertility & preparing for pregnancy!
Information above is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please seek medical advice before implementing changes to your own life.