Pre-Conception; Optimising your Health.
How to optimise your fertility and ensure your body is in the most healthy state pre-conception.
Did you know that it takes 90 days for an egg to mature in your ovaries? This means that approximately 3 months prior to conception there is a period of time in which certain factors can affect the health of the eggs preparing for ovulation. This provides us with a window of opportunity whereby the diet and lifestyle of a mother (and father – which I will touch upon in a separate blog post) is of paramount importance in terms of both the health of the egg as well as the body’s readiness and willingness to ‘take on’ a baby.
Some of the factors contributing to egg health include:
- Blood Flow
- Proper oxygenation
- Hormonal Balance
- Nutritional intake
Blood Flow and Proper Oxygenation
Oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries is essential for good egg health. Blood flow can decrease from lack of exercise, dehydration, and thick blood. To increase blood flow to the ovaries, follow these suggestions:
Get at least 8 glasses of filtered water every day. An easy way to get some good hydration in at the start of the day is to drink a pint of water upon waking every morning. You could add a slice of lemon for a little vitamin C hit.
Exercise also increases blood flow in the body. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. If this is difficult, look for ways to implement it into your daily routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift, walk up the escalator, get off the bus a few stops before your stop and walk. Making these small changes can really help.
Hormonal balance is increasingly disrupted by the environment we live in. Air pollution, smoke, car fumes and processed foods are just a few of the endocrine disruptors we are exposed to on a daily basis. Taking steps to minimise these disruptors such minimising plastic use and removing toxic cleaning products in the home, switching for less toxic alternatives or making your own can all help to reduce the toxic overload we are bombarded with daily!
Regular exercise, good quality sleep, reduced stress, adequate hydration, a diet rich in antioxidants and a rainbow of fruit and vegetables are also all important factors when it comes to hormonal balance.
Alcohol intake should also be kept to an absolute minimum (preferably eliminated) in the months prior to conception for optimal health of both the sperm and egg. Furthermore, cigarettes are an obvious no go and caffeine consumption should also be minimal.
Nutrition is an essential element for optimal fertility. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit (in moderation) as well as essential fatty acids, adequate protein and water intake all plays a vital part in both your physical and mental health.
A daily, good quality multivitamin is a good choice for ensuring you are covering all bases. This could be in the form of a prenatal vitamin or for men, a vitamin specifically for boosting fertility. One of my personal favourite brands is Terranova as they do not add any fillers or binders into their supplements and use very high quality inputs.
Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Allen Morgan and Fertility Specialist Dr. Douglas Rabin discovered that “stress also has a detrimental impact on fertility. Women who are constantly under stress produce prolactin, cortisol, and other hormones, which can interfere with or even block regular ovulation.”
Stress can be manifest from a broad range of situations, from bereavement to being stuck in a traffic jam. Regardless of the trigger, it is imperative that stress is managed and minimised as much as possible. You need to find what works for YOU. Whether it be carving out 10 minutes each day to just sit and shut your eyes, breathing techniques, a relaxing bath, exercise or whatever it may be, it is crucial that you actively seek to reduce and manage it.
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