There is more to conception than having sex. Conception for couples with fertility problems can require some preparation, and this is where Preconception Care comes in. If you decide to support your and your partner’s reproductive health and fertility, it may just be what it takes to solve the problem.
In this blog post, we will cover how, preconception care can support your reproductive health and fertility. To be most effective, preconception care is usually started 3-6 months before pregnancy.
When it comes to improving your health and fertility - the most obvious place to start is with your diet:
You usually don’t have to take drastic measures. Making small lifestyle changes to enhance your body’s readiness for pregnancy is a positive first step.
Supplementing your body with a professional preconception multivitamin for him and for her along with some low toxicity fish oil is great start.
You can download our Fertility & Pregnancy Diet Guide from our website.
Although this is not widely known to most, your weight might be the reason for your inability to conceive. Use the following tips about weight to support your reproductive health and fertility.
One of the best ways to increase your chance of conception is to obtain your best fertility weight.
Your BMI or body mass index indicates how much fat the body has based upon weight and height.
An optimal BMI falls between 19 and 25. Anything outside of this range indicates that you are either underweight or overweight.
Your naturopath can advise and recommend a suitable diet and exercise plan if your BMI is outside of this range.
If you are underweight or overweight, ask your naturopath for recommendations on how to gain or lose weight in a healthy manner whilst improving your fertility.
Did you know that extra body fat increases your oestrogen levels and this is true for both men and women? Excess estrogen can throw the menstrual cycle out of balance and cause a relative lack of progesterone.
Your cycle depends on a meticulous balance of progesterone and estrogen in order for ovulation to occur at the right time. If you ovulate too early or too late in your cycle or if you do not ovulate, something is clearly not as it should be.
You may be surprised to hear, that your partners weight also has an impact on your ability to conceive. If he is over weight – he too can produce too much oestrogen, which can affect his fertility.
There are healthy, natural ways to lose or gain weight. Do not take over the counter pills that can harm your body. Taking drastic measures such as this makes it harder to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
Preparing for pregnancy before conception has been shown to result in healthier, brighter and happier babies, born with fewer malformations.
A few months of preconception care and you can not only reduce the severity of fertility problems, but maximise your experience of a healthy pregnancy.
From conception to the end of the first trimester, the size of an embryo will increase over 2 ½ million times.
During this period of development cells differentiate and organs are formed. This stage of rapid growth requires levels of nutrients which are many times greater than those required by your body before pregnancy.
Diet deficiencies which may have gone undetected in everyday life may be inadequate to sustain a pregnancy.
This early development also follows a strict timetable. For example, if the nutrients necessary for the complete closure of the neural tube are insufficient, on day 28 or 29 of the pregnancy, the development will take place anyway with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida as the end result.
Of course, many more nutrients are important for preconception and during pregnancy, but the most commonly required nutrients are the ones listed above. If you have specific fertility issues you should consult with a naturopath or other health care professional, who is trained in nutrition for preconception and pregnancy care.
Infertility affects men and women equally. It is estimated that 40% of infertility issues are due to male factors and 40% to female factors, 10% are due to combined factors and 10% unexplained. All too often male factors are being ignored when it comes to failure to conceive, and a simple semen analysis can be a worthwhile investment.
All women planning to get pregnant should get a basic pre-pregnancy health check-up from their GP. This include checking for immunity to rubella, iron stores, genito-urinary infections, thyroid function etc. Any issues found during testing should be corrected before attempting conception.
Some women will need further testing to rule out any underlying causes if pregnancy isn’t occurring within the expected time frame.
Below is a diagram showing the 4 main reasons for female infertility some which can be successfully improved with natural medicine.
Severe tubal obstruction most often requires medical intervention to ensure the fertilised egg has enough room on its journey from the ovary to the uterus for implantation.
Minor obstruction due to accumulation of mucous in the fallopian tubes can often be successfully managed with natural medicine.
The same goes for endometriosis, in severe cases medical intervention is often needed, followed by herbal medicine to try to prevent any new growth of endometrial lesions.
Ovulatory disorders should be investigated further and salivary hormone testing gives an excellent picture of what is going on with the hormones.
If your periods are irregular, very light, or very heavy, if you suffer from; PMS, sore breast, bloating or headaches before your period - your hormones are most likely out of balance. Herbal medicine can do a very good job of balancing hormones whilst at the same time preparing your body for pregnancy.
If you think you suffer from hormonal imbalances, contact a naturopath or likewise qualified health care practitioner, who specialised in female hormonal health and organise an appointment to get your hormones tested.
Unexplained infertility is often a case of not enough investigation and can often be explained with further testing.
However, in a few cases, the reason may be explained as sub-fertility. This could be a less that optimal diet or poor absorption of nutrients as in persons with food sensitivities.
Unexplained is often subtle factors in both partners which on their own would cause no problem, but when added together, is enough to prevent conception from occurring.
These subtle health issues can often be corrected during the preconception period. However, couples with unexplained infertility may have to extend their preconception period beyond 3 months for optimal health to return.
The success rate for sub-fertility is usually very good.
All in all, there are plenty of reasons for why couples cannot get pregnant. Not having the ideal fertility is one of the main reasons, but there are ways to change this.
The important thing is to get started! The egg and the sperm takes just over 3 months to mature, which means that in 3 months you could have improved the quality of both egg and sperm, which will improve your chances of conceiving the following month.
Would you like more information on how to support your reproductive health and fertility? Do you need more information? Do you have questions? Post your question below - We will love to hear from you
Hi there, I’m Henriette Selch and the founder of Perth Natural Fertility. I believe in empowering people to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives. Over the past 15 years, I have helped hundreds of couples improve their health and fertility. Apart from being a naturopath, I spend most of my time reading, learning and developing new skills to help others. I also love traveling and spending time with friends and family.