Preconception care

TracyHarris

Most people make a decision, or not as the case may be, to become pregnant and begin the process of attempting conception. At this stage people often get distraught if this does not occur within the first few months. They start to take health measures towards a healthier lifestyle and hope that this is enough to improve fertility, achieve a healthy pregnancy and obviously a beautiful bouncing baby.

I would like to point out at this stage that taking a few months to conceive is completely normal however people who struggle to achieve a pregnancy only begin their change in lifestyle at that time and it can be a very emotional and stressful situation living from one menstrual cycle to the next hoping that pregnancy has occurred.

Causes of infertility can be unexplained and can lay 40% with the male, 40% with the female and the remaining 20% falls into the no label category.

Some of the reasons of explained infertility can be attributed to toxins in the body, immune reactions, nutritional deficiencies, inflammation and stress factors, hormonal imbalance, greater age of prospective parents, drugs and pollution.

Listed below are some statistics that indicate just why preconception care is so important:-

• 1 couple in 5 experience miscarriage

• 1 couple in 6 are infertile

• 1 woman in 10 experience toxaemia

• 1 woman in 5 experience caesarean

• 1 baby in 10 is premature or are born small for dates

• 1 baby in 30 has a congenital defect

• 1 woman in 3 has some post natal depression

• 1 child in 10 is affected by learning or behaviour problems

• 1 child in 5 suffers from asthma

Sperm counts worldwide have decreased by 50% in the last 50 years and in the U.S. women aged between 20-25 has tripled in the last 30 years.

Sperm take 116 days to mature and eggs are vulnerable to damage in the 100 day period in which they are maturing.

We make huge preparations to get married, buy a home, start a business and therefore just as much effort should be put into creating the miracle of life.

It is so easy to go along for a consultation. Around 4 months prior to attempting consultation take the time to prepare and follow some of these simple steps. Start changing your lifestyle habits, eat a nutritious diet, take folic acid, spirulina, omega 3 fish oils and a good prenatal nutrient.

Treat any infections, support the liver and cleanse the blood by doing a gentle detox programme. Having a hair analysis done can indicate heavy metal loading in the body which is obviously toxic and show up any allergies that may cause inflammation and impair fertility.

Check out your hormone levels and follow a temperature chart so that your naturopath or herbalist can assess when you are ovulating and also if there are any hormonal imbalances that may cause problems conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy.

Take a good antioxidant containing vitamin A, C and E, these help to protect the cells and prevent free radical damage.

Avoid alcohol, drugs, smoking and exposure to harsh chemicals.

Women take most of responsibility for not only contraception but infertility also. It is important that as a couple who have made the commitment to have a child make the same commitment to increase its long term health also and of course their own health. Every couple will have individual needs in terms of a preconception plan and it can be so empowering to feel you have taken the role to parenthood seriously.

Making a baby is fun, having the baby is beautiful and having a healthy happy mum, dad and little bundle of joy makes the experience complete.

Tracey Harris

Tracy Harris is a registered NZ naturopath and herbalist, and natural health writer, who has both a natural health shop and a natural mother & child store in Auckland.

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