Pregnancy

Pre-conception Care

Infertility is defined as not conceiving with on 12 months of unprotected sex. The causes of infertility vary from hormonal disturbances, autoimmune diseases, congenital abnormalities, infection and oxidative stress. With naturopathic care you can be assured that the underlying factors preventing pregnancy are resolved in most cases and the essential phytonutrients and minerals that are essential for optimal fertility are replenished easily. Healthy fertility is not just dependent on the woman, the man produces the sperm and if it is not in optimal health then miscarriages or natal defects can occur.

Many studies have been conducted on the theory of epigenetics, where the environment affects the way our DNA expresses itself due to structural modification. We now know that improvements of the parents’ epigenietics health before they conceive will reduce mental illness in your child at any age of their life and allergies including atopic allergies (asthma, eczema etc…). Cognition and development as well as generalized increased immunity also improves with proper preconception care. Many women focus on getting enough folate to prevent spina bifida, although this is good, we now have the education to know that many other nutritional factors including optimal levels of Calcium, Vitamin D, Zinc, Essential fatty acids and other essential nutrients are essential for the health of the parents and the baby.

Back in the good old days, our parents may have been smoking during their pregnancy and showed little awareness of what they are doing with their body and how it would affect us. Now days we know that smoking is incredibly harmful and we wouldn’t think of smoking

whilst pregnant. Why? We know that the chemicals in cigarettes have a teteragenic effect, cause malformations and mental disorders. We also know that many foods, environmental and mental factors can also have a teteragenic effect and these foods need to be avoided prior to and during conception.

During pregnancy a concept known as foetal programming has led to a greater understanding of how foetus’s time in utero can influence their susceptibility to future disease. This concept ties in with epigenetics and increased health in both of these areas reduces risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. I find it fascinating to see the correlation between the mothers mental state and the ability for the new human to adapt to the world at all ages.

Starting with drinking only filtered water and having a healthy diet and supplement regime as well as eliminating alcohol and cigarettes for 4 months prior to conceiving is a great start.

Preconception health plans are also great for gender choice. The practices are not infallible but they do give you a higher chance of determining the gender of your baby. Post natal support is imperative to ensure your milk supply is adequate and nutritious as well as your health as a new mother needs to continue to be supported so that you continue to feel energetic and happy.

By improving the health of the parents we may be able to make a dent in the growing incidence of chronic disease and positively influence the life of the next generation.

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