I am grateful it took 8 months to conceive our baby boy (born in November 2019).
Why? Our ‘failed’ attempts in the 1st few months afforded me and my body the time needed to prepare for ‘optimal fertility’. No one would advise running a marathon without preparing for it by eating the right foods & building up stamina. Yet for arguably the most important ‘marathon’ women partake in we don’t take time to prepare our body. Another analogy to consider is that of growing plans and the preparation needed for optimal results.
“Gardeners know that you must nourish the soil if you want healthy plants…why should nutrition matter less in the creation of young humans than it dose in young plants?”Ina May Gaskin, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
How long do you need to ‘prepare’ for pregnancy? At minimum 3 months and ideally 6 months. Why? It takes 3 months for your immature eggs (oocytes) and your partner’s sperm cells to develop. During this time, your diet and lifestyle greatly influence the quality of your eggs and his sperm. That means both yourself and your partner need at least 3 months to start stocking up on nutrients before beginning the TTC journey. Allowing for 6 months of prep may result in better nutrient stores. According to ‘Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide’: “Studies have shown couples who made changes to their diet & lifestyle improved their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby by 80%.”
Your pre-conception diet & diet in pregnancy will likely influence how you experience pregnancy and early motherhood. For instance, your health may influence how you experience common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and/or your ability to produce milk. Your pre-conception diet and resulting nutrient stores will also play a large role in the quality of your placenta – which supports your baby’s development after the 1st trimester. When preparing our bodies for pregnancy, we cannot solely rely on food to provide the vitamins & minerals we need. This was another key learning from ‘Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide’ which shares: “Studies estimate the US Soil is 55-85% less nutrient rich than 60 years ago and trace minerals in UK fruits and veggies have fallen by +76%.” We can overcome this lack of nutrients in our food by taking supplements.
It’s important to understand that ‘not all supplement are created equal’. After researching all the supplement options, I ended up investing in (buying) brands that use nutrients extracted from or grown in food vs. synthetic alternatives. Alongside taking supplements, below are 4 other steps my partner and I took to prepare our bodies for the TTC journey.
1) Start Taking Fertility Supplements
2) Start taking Omega3 & DHA Supplements
3) CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS REDUCING CAFFEINE, SUGAR, ALCOHOL, GLUTEN AND DIARY
4) Evaluate YOur Environment
Reduce exposure to environmental toxins – especially ones shown to impact hormonal balance and sperm production. For example, switch from plastic bottles/containers to glass bottles/containers to reduce exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates.
5) Start Tracking Your Fertile Window
I am a firm believer in making small, sustainable changes… If you find this list overwhelming, focusing on one area and then try reevaluating after a month.
*source: Your Pregnancy Nutrition Guide by Henrietta Norton