Falling Pregnant Naturally….All the right steps….
In our segment in natural fertility, addresses the steps you can take (and there are oodles of them!) to increase your chances of conceiving naturally.
We live in a time of ‘busyness’; our diets are often heavy on processed foods and it’s not unusual for us to be surrounded by all sorts of chemicals, from cleanser to cleaners. However, if you’re seeking potent fertility and super-healthy babies, great strides can be made when you slow down, reduce your chemical load and change your eating habits.
“Research shows that modern lifestyles can adversely impact our reproductive system”. “Conversely, many studies show that boosting health and avoiding many common lifestyle factors can greatly improve fertility.”
Before you even start trying to conceive, experts suggest spending a few months focusing on wellbeing for ease of conception and a healthy pregnancy. “Preconception care has been shown overwhelmingly to result in healthier, brighter, more beautiful and well-adjusted babies“.
The Four-Month Rule
First off, both of you – yep guys, it takes two – need to commit to three to four months preconception care. This will ensure the eggs and sperms at their best and reduce risk of miscarriage, malformation and other maladies. You’ll need to wave bye-bye to things such as alcohol, ciggies and fast food. “It’s about cleaning up your act. Both of you should look at toxic exposure too”. “There is clear evidence that toxins affect motility. Some plastics, such as reusable bottles contain BPA (avoid ones marked with the no.7 at the bottom) plus horticultural sprays you use in the garden could be toxic.”
Embracing natural skincare brands and throwing out chemical-laden cleanser will repay you in spades. “Avoid any cleaning products containing ammonia”.
Natural fertility – a good guide includes:
- Eat a whole food diet – organic if possible.
- Give up alcohol, caffeine, smoking and all but absolutely necessary medical drugs such as antibiotics, anti-depressants and over-the-counter meds such as cold and flu aids and painkillers.
- Have a mineral analysis done (hair and/or urine).
- Use a water filter.
- Try and eat an alkaline diet – low on red meat, diary, white flour and sugar – an acidic environment is non-sperm friendly.
- Avoid microwaves.
- Get tested for rubella, allergies, mal-absorption, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis and candida albicans.
What To Eat
- Fruit Because of its high sugar content, try not to eat more than two or three pieces a day. This includes juice (dilute with water). Avoid dried fruits.
- Vegetables Aim for veggies to make up about 40 percent of your daily diet. Raw, juiced, steamed, quickly stir-fried or dry oven-baked is best.
- Whole Grains Wholegrains bread, whole meal pasta, brown rice, oats, rye, barley or millet.
- Protein Having at least two servings of quality protein a day is essential. Only eat red meat in moderation and trimmed of all fat. Unless sourced from organically fed animals, avoid offal, mince and sausages. Only eat organically fed chicken.
- Dairy Use as little cow’s milk and cheese as possible as it creates mucous in the fallopian tubes and can cause mal-absorption of foods. Choose low-fat varieties – natural acidophilus yoghurt, goat’s milk and soy milk are fine.
- Fats Use only olive, canola or coconut oil for cooking and stir-frying. Be liberal with cold-pressed oils such as olive sunflower, safflower and flax seed on salads and vegetables. Use butter sparingly and avoid processed fats like margarine. Use avocado, banana, hummus or nut spreads instead.
- Water Ten to 12 glasses of filtered, purified or bottled water daily is optimum. Use this for cooking and boiling also if possible.
Foods To Avoid
- White Flour Or Sugar Essential vitamins and minerals are removed during the refining process. In addition, vitamins and minerals such as chromium, zinc and folic acid are leached from your body’s stores when you eat these, as they are required for their metabolism. You’ll need to become an avid label reader – look out for glucose, fructose, corn syrup, honey, dextrose or sorbitol.
- Fats and Fried Foods Saturated fats (animal fats and fats or oils which have been heated) upset your hormone balance.
- Foods That Contain Additives If it comes in a can, packet or bottle it’s probably had chemicals added to stabilise, preserve or help retain its colour, flavour smell or texture. Your body uses essential nutrients to help detoxify these chemicals. Avoid deli or processed meats such as salami, as they are high in fat, salt and a group of cancer-causing preservatives known as nitrates.
- Foods Which Have Been reheated Or Left Standing These have lost much of their nutrients and may contain mould.
- Salt Avoid, unless your diet contains absolutely no pre-pared food ate all. Remember bread is pre-prepared and contains enough salt for your dietary requirements. When using salt, go for rock salt or sea salt (Maldon or Himalayan salt is good) and avoid iodised table salt.
- Tea And Coffee Replace with herbal teas, green teas, cereal coffees, freshly juiced fruit or filtered water.
Let’s Talk About Caffeine
It’s in tea, coffee, chocolate, some food and medicines and its controversial, but natural fertility pros agree: avoiding caffeine is recommended. The case against it concerns reduced fertility in women, miscarriage risk as well as irritable, colicy babies. Diet Coke especially, is believed to impede sperm.
Vitamins, Minerals And Herbs
This is a huge subject. It’s best to see a health professional who specialises in fertility, such as a naturopath or a medical herbalist for recommendations. Here are a few expert guidelines:
“Zinc and folic acid are two of the most important nutrients for preconception.”
Recommends the following supplements
- High-potency B-complex supplying 50 mg of the major B-vitamins, to be taken twice daily with meals, with an additional 800mcg of folic acid daily.
- 400iu of vitamin E (mixed tocopherols or alpha-tocopherol) to be taken with a meal containing fat. use a supplement, which also supplies selenium.
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids: 100 mg of vitamin C taken three times daily.
- Balanced multi-mineral formula supplying 50 mg of zinc and 400 mg of magnesium in chelate or orotate form. To be taken between meals.
“A lack of dietary vitamin E may contribute to decreased fertility in both men and women”. “The Greek name for vitamin E is tocopherol, meaning to ‘bear children’.
Food source include wheat germ, almonds, green leafy veggies, eggs and avocados.
- Multi-mineral formula supplying at least 50mg of zinc
- Vitamin E: 250iu three times daily.
- Vitamin C: 1000mg of ascorbic acid three times daily.
- L-arginine: 2g (200mg) twice daily with food,
There are many other recommendations to improve sperm quality and mucous, and lower miscarriage risk, including manganese, calcium, magnesium, copper, Coenzyme Q10, bee pollen, essential fatty acids, boron, iron et al. To find out which ones may help you as an individual, see a pro.
Herbal medicine is a very powerful tool for boosting all aspects of fertility. You’ll hear monikers such as Vitex (Chaste Tree), maca. Panax, Ginseng, Red Clover and many more. However, self-diagnosis is a bad idea as everyone is different. And because herbs are so potent, if they are used incorrectly some varieties have the potential to cause more grief than gladness. For this reason, its absolutely essential to see a registered medical herbalist.
Give Yourself A Boost
There are also some nutrient-dense extras such as Spirulina, green tea and wheat grass that you can add to your diet to increase your health and fertility. Add them to smoothies, cereal and juices for an extra dose of goodness.
Mind And Body
In part one of our natural fertility series, also mentioned the importance of reducing stress, balancing weight and taking time out when pursuing conception. Indeed, emotional wellbeing is every bit as important as nutrition in your quest to become pregnant. There are many studies that prove it. In light of this it can be helpful to add things like yoga, meditation, massage, EFT Tapping and acupuncture to your journey. “Traditional Chinese medicine doesn’t use the language of hormones, oestrogen and progesterone; we talk about the energetic balance of qui and blood and how it affects fertility”. “It’s scientifically proven that acupuncture brings about biochemical changes in the body – what is not understood is the mechanism.” Acupuncture can help regulate ovulation, menstruation, sperm count, PCOS, endometriosis and recurrent miscarriage.