Improve Your Fertility With Preconception Care | Fertility Naturopath
For couples with fertility problems - improving fertility and falling pregnant can require some preparation. When you decide to support your and your partner’s health and fertility, it may just be what it takes to solve the problem.
In this blog post, I will cover how, preconception care can help improve your fertility and hopefully get you inspired to take action. 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 getting pregnant is to be at your best fertility weight.
Your BMI or body mass index is an approximate measure of your fat mass based upon weight and height.
An optimal BMI falls between 19 and 25 for a woman. Anything outside of this range indicates that you are either underweight or overweight. When it comes to fertility - a BMI close to 25 is considered optimal.
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 worsen endometriosis and fibroids.
Your cycle depends on a fine 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 overweight – he too can produce too much oestrogen, which can affect his libido and sperm quality.
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 can make 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.
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.
If you are planning to get pregnant you should get at least a basic pre-pregnancy health check-up from your GP. This include checking for immunity to rubella, iron stores, genitourinary infections, thyroid function etc. You should aim to correct any issues found during testing should before attempting to conceive.
It is important to be proactive and seek further testing to rule out any underlying causes, if you have been trying regularly for more than 6 to 12 months without falling pregnant. Don't forget to send your partner for testing as well - his sperm makes up 50% of your baby's DNA.
Below is a diagram showing the most common reasons for female infertility - many which can be successfully improved with natural medicine and lifestyle changes.
Severe tubal obstruction most often requires medical intervention to ensure the fertilised egg has enough space 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 help prevent any new growth of endometrial lesions.
Ovulation disorders should be investigated further. Failure to ovulate makes it impossible to conceive naturally and infrequent or irregular ovulation makes next to impossible to plan your baby making attempts. Knowing the fertile time of your cycle is the single most important information you need to know, when trying to make a baby - as long as you grab your partner and act on it. One very common cause of lack of or irregular ovulation is PCOS.
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. Here investigations come in again! you need to know what it is you need to correct or rebalance. Lifestyle changes and 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 is often the case in people with food sensitivities.
Unexplained can be caused by 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 identified and 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.
With a little patience, the pregnancy success rate for sub-fertile couples is usually very good.
All in all, there are plenty of reasons for why couples find it difficult to get pregnant. Not having optimal 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. Good egg and sperm quality will greatly 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.