Last week I told you guys the month of May is National Pregnancy Awareness Month. Since I am fully aware that I am NOT in fact pregnant. I thought I would dust off some Sprouting Wellness tips and talk about getting pregnant. It’s funny, as women we tend to spend the majority of our early adult lives trying our hardest not to get pregnant, then somewhere around our late 20s to early, mid or late 30s we realize we do in fact want to get pregnant. We try like hell and realize, it’s not so friggin easy!
While each path to conception may be different one thing everyone can do is take proactive steps to get their body ready for conception. Many parent’s to be think caring for baby begins at conception; once you see the little blue line, or the pink plus on the stick, it’s time to quit smoking, stop drinking and start buying organic. The truth is, prenatal health begins with preconception and fertility health.
Another important (often unrealized) fact to remember: it takes two to tango. Even in the world of artificial insemination, it still takes two to tango. And what I mean by this is, the health responsibility doesn’t solely fall on us women folk! Our men need to get healthy too. You don’t want their little swimmers crapping out before they reach the finish line, right?!
The ability to get pregnant, carry a child, fetal development, give birth naturally and breastfeed are all intertwined. Each is dependent upon lifestyle choices, diet, stress and yes, our environment. As many as one in six couples will experience fertility problems within the first year to trying to conceive, however, you can increase your odds of conception by making a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Fertility and preconception health awareness should begin with both parents, ideally six months to one year prior to conception. This starts with two basic tenants; the removal of toxins and the infusion of nutrients. Both male and female reproductive organs are highly susceptible to free radical or oxidative damage from environmental toxins. Environmental toxins include additives and preservatives in our food, toxics in household cleaning products as well as the products we use to clean our bodies and guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
Simple changes in our diet will boost your fertility and bring your body into top baby making shape. The diet of both men and women trying to conceive should be high in folic acid, vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc. It’s imperative that both parents eat clean, organic foods free from pesticides, fungicides, additives and preservatives.
Men and women eating for fertility should incorporate the following foods into their diet:
Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal are good for insulin function. Refined grains (bleached flour, rice and pasta) should be omitted as they cause insulin spikes.
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and conifers such as broccoli, cauliflower and rabe are high in folate, which is important for conception and fetal development.
Protein. Vegetarian protein from sources like beans, peas, legumes and nuts are high in iron and preferred to animal proteins. You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but meat should be limited to small occasional portions.
The right fats. Omit trans fats and saturated fats from your diet, but include monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These will reduce inflammation and any insulin sensitivity. The can be found in avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon.
Fresh organic fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that will promote general, and fertility health. Many fruits such as citrus, oranges, strawberries (and green leafy vegetables) are high in folate.
Taking a conscious approach to fertility simply by adjusting your diet and lifestyle will increase your chances of conception. Removing environmental toxins and making positive, organic food choices has been shown to increase the chances of having a healthy, happy and comfortable pregnancy, a positive, safe birth with little or no intervention, a shorter postpartum recovery period and a baby who is healthy and present.