CONTENT Nutritionist and Herbal Medicine Practitioner Jennifer Derham is a registered practitioner with Foresight - The Association for the Promotion of Preconceptual Care - and in her clinic addresses all the key infertility areas of concern in prospective parents. By improving natural health in both parents fertility is enhanced along with the chance of a successful pregnancy. We asked Jennifer to share her top five tips for preparing your body for pregnancy.
A preconception programme which looks at diet, cleansing, exercise, lifestyle, can help you and your partner boost your chances of a pregnancy, helps ensure a healthy pregnancy, and an easier and hopefully trouble-free birth. A preconception programme is particularly helpful if you're in your 30s or 40s, have concerns about your reproductive health or you have any other chronic health conditions or concerns.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet - Many people often do not recognise the connection between what they eat and their reproductive health. If you are not eating a diet full of nutrients, you may run into fertility issues that stem from nutritional deficiencies. A good diet is vital in preparation for and during pregnancy both for the mother and the father.
Improve Your Digestion - Regular consumption of fermented foods and drinks, rich in enzymes and beneficial bacteria, promotes the growth of healthy flora promoting good digestion. This helps ensure you are actually absorbing and consequently utilizing the vitamins and minerals contained in your food.
Reduce Stress - Managing stress should be part of every expectant couple’s life. In evolutionary terms, women were not meant to become pregnant during times of intense stress as the body innately recognizes stressful times as precarious and unsafe and procreating is not considered a priority at that moment. In modern times most of us are under some form of stress, which may prevent the release of essential reproductive hormones and is a definite drain on nutrient resources.
Rule Out Food Intolerances and Nutritional Deficiencies - Foods that are problematic for you often cause inflammation in your digestive system, leading to a wide range of symptoms such as headaches, spots and skin problems, infertility, stomach aches, hormone imbalances and sinus infections. While this is also the time to think about taking prenatal vitamins and minerals to boost nutrient needs. Infertility, miscarriages, still births, premature birth, post-partum depression, lactation failure, restlessness and upset babies, failure for the baby to thrive, have all been linked to deficiencies in key nutrients including essential fatty acids, B6 magnesium, and zinc.
Herbal Medicine Help - Herbs are fantastic tonics and may help increase fertility, reduce stress, improve blood and nutrient flow to the vital reproductive organs, as well as balance hormones. They can also be very useful for improving digestion and supporting the body during times of stress, for example dandelion root can be helpful for the liver function while Ashwagandha and Rhodiola help support the adrenals.