When you start planning a pregnancy, the first step on the right path is to consult a physician specializing in women’s reproductive health to ask any and all questions you may have. Make sure you find a physician you trust to help you along the way, through pre-pregnancy, and each trimester until the birth of your child. You want what’s best for yourself, and for your family. You want to take all the necessary steps to starting a healthy, happy family. There are many ways you can optimize your lifestyle for your plans to start a pregnancy. Many people think of prenatal health as just your health during pregnancy, but maintaining excellent health prior to becoming pregnant is crucial, as well.
There are many guidelines to follow to live your healthiest lifestyle and protect your fertility. This is because proper pregnancy preparation can ease the most common issues of pregnancy and helps to ensure the health of both you and your child from conception to childbirth and beyond. In fact, health experts often recommend planning for pregnancy at least one year prior to attempting to become pregnant. However, some begin their preparations as early as two years prior to when they plan to become pregnant. There are many ways to prep your body for pregnancy but overall, it is important to build a base of wellness by developing your best mental, physical health for pregnancy.
Prior to conceiving, both men and women should have their thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone levels tested. It is also recommended to check for insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Please note for women on thyroid medication, your doctor may need to adjust your thyroid hormone replacement medication dosage if necessary to aim for the target TSH of 1.0 mU/L. Toxicity testing should be done 3 to 6 months prior to trying to conceive. This allows for the elimination of any heavy metals or chemicals from plastics or pesticides from the body as toxin buildup can cause serious harm to both mother and child during pregnancy. One of the first steps in pregnancy planning should be to stop using any toxic substances such as recreational drugs or nicotine products while also limiting alcohol intake. Aspiring mothers should also consider limiting their exposure to toxins found in everyday products. Many cleaning, beauty, and health products contain endocrine-disrupting substances that can disrupt hormone balance and inhibit fertility. Ideally, these toxin-reducing practices are implemented far in advance, so the body has time to flush out any residual toxins prior to becoming pregnant.
It is also important to consult a physician in order to ensure your body is receiving proper nutrition as it is hugely important for overall wellness, especially when prepping for pregnancy. One of the best ways to attain better nutrition is through diet. Maintaining a diet composed primarily of high-quality whole foods that are rich in protein and healthy fats like omega-3 (which support neurological function and development) is an effective way to prepare for pregnancy. It is also advised to avoid highly processed and sugary foods as they can disrupt hormones and negatively influence fertility. Diet is also one of the best ways to normalize hormones after getting off a contraceptive such as the pill. There are certain beneficial bacteria in your gut, known as the estrobolome, that help remove used estrogen from your body. Synthetic estrogen bombards your body – and especially your gut – when you are using estrogen-containing birth control. When you compare that to how estrogen in a normal cycle changes over time, the constant stream of estrogen in birth control can be a lot for your body to handle. Being mindful of your gut health can help stabilize your hormones and help you prepare for pregnancy. There are a myriad of factors that play into pregnancy so it is always advisable to start considering what might affect you and your individual situation. For example, as it becomes more difficult for women over the age of 35 years to carry a pregnancy, you should also talk to a physician if you are planning on delaying having children until later in your life. The quality of sperm also declines as men hit their mid-thirties, but there are fertility treatments available to assist people with becoming pregnant later in life, such as in-vitro fertilization.
Ask a specialist at Holtorf Medical Group to learn more about the steps you can take towards a healthier, and happier, pregnancy.