Perhaps in the olden days making babies was simpler. Bing bang boom momma is "in the family way." Times have changed with women waiting longer to have children, nutrients dwindling from our diet and more and more toxins appearing in our environment. Currently, one in six couples is infertile, one woman in five will have a
miscarriage, one in ten babies is born prematurely and one in thirty children will be born with a congenital defect. Believe it or not having a healthy baby starts months before conception with mom (and dad). That is why a naturopathic preconception plan is great start for a new life. Here are some of the ways to help boost fertility as well as lead the road to healthy and happy pregnancy and baby.
This B vitamin found in leafy greens, beans, and orange juice is important in preventing many pregnancy complications. Taking folate before and during pregnancy helps to decrease the risk of neural tube defects, miscarriages, and preeclampsia. Recently, a Swedish study, showed women taking folate had a decreased risk of having an autistic baby by 40%. However, some women are unable to convert folate to it's active form and should take methylated folate (5-MTHF). Women who are prone to depression/anxiety, early onset cardiovascular disease, and miscarriages most likely need 5-MTHF.
Cleaning things up
Most women pay special attention to their diet during pregnancy, but it's essential to choose wisely during the months prior to conception as well. For example caffeine and alcohol, can directly impact a woman's chance of conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Also, women should limit exposure to plastics and other potential hormone disruptors like parabens, bisphenol A and pthalates found in many personal care products. If you can't pronounce it, you might want to think twice before putting it in or on your body! Besides avoiding toxins, it is important to eliminate the toxins that have already been stored in the body. Some signs of excess toxicity include headaches, acne, rashes, aches, pains, fatigue, and elevated cholesterol and blood sugar. There are many methods of detoxification and whatever method you choose should be completed 4 months prior to conception.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA )
Got hips? Thank mother nature as women's hips are DHA storage houses for our future offspring. DHA is important for brain development during pregnancy and lactation. It has been shown that pregnant women who took daily supplements of DHA, a type of omega- 3 fatty acid, had longer gestations, bigger babies and fewer early preterm births, according to a new clinical trial. DHA is also important for mom as well. When her stores are zapped, she can become depressed which is one of the reasons many women suffer from postpartum depression. So maintaining DHA levels before, during and after pregnancy can help ensure that she experiences better moods.
As women age so do their eggs. Oxidative stress due to the aging process causes egg quality to decrease and ovarian reserve to diminish. There is even some evidence that reactive oxygen species are produced during ovulation and that there is less glutathione reductase, an enzyme that protects against oxidative damage, in infertile women. This is why it is important to have a diet that is rich in antioxidant containing fruits and vegetables. Some powerful antioxidants include Vitamin C and E and selenium. These help to maintain egg reserve and protect DNA in our eggs from oxidative damage. One study showed that vitamin E supplementation increased fertility as well as improved maintenance of pregnancy.