baby-fingersby Rebecca Word ND

The following condensed guide is Part 1 of a talk given this year at the Annual Open House for CREWC. Click here for Part 2.

Thinking About Babies: the Preconception / Prenatal Phase

Cleanse your body of toxins before pregnancy:

Note: the timing of cleansing practices depends on the woman — from 3 months to 1 year before you try to get pregnant.

  • Daily diet should emphasize the addition of whole foods and the elimination of processed or refined foods, sugar, chemicals
  • Infra-red saunas assist with detoxification
  • Liver cleansing promotes hormonal balance, and reduces your prenatal toxin load

A bit more about your diet:

  • In addition to a focus on whole foods rather than refined and processed foods, you should avoid alcohol (dad also, since excess can affect sperm viability), caffeine and artificial sweeteners
  • Be aware of your glycemic index: there is a correlation between insulin resistance, high blood sugars and fertility issues
  • Hydration: Plenty of water promotes detoxification
  • Healthy oils such as evening primrose, flax, pure fish oils, and hemp
  • Ideal body weight: being either underweight or overweight can throw off hormone balance

Your emotional health is an important factor:

  • Babies feel what mom feels.  Emotions are accompanied by chemical/hormonal shifts in your body that can cross the placental boundary
  • Strong bond between parents and with the developing life equals a healthier baby. Loving your baby begins before birth
  • Stress absolutely affects fertility (both mom and dad).  A stress relieving practice such as meditation, yoga or daily walking can help you get pregnant and should be continued throughout
  • Why do we desire babies in the first place?  Be aware that you are bringing a human into the world not just a baby.  It’s a long-term commitment where the early days can be the most important

Supplements to consider in your daily diet:

Note: natural supplements do not automatically ensure a compatibility with pregnancy, so when in doubt, check it out with your practitioner.

  • Folic acid: minimum 400 mcg/day
  • Prenatal vitamin: (B-carotene, iron)
  • B-complex: 50/100 mg/day
  • Vitamin C: 80-100 mg/day
  • Zinc: up to 20 mg/day since folate depletes zinc (best zinc supplements will have small amount of copper also)
  • Omega 3 oils (1 tsp/day)
  • Adrenal support (such as Ribes nigrum, homeopathic glandulars or glandular extracts — this is where practitioner guidance becomes necessary)

Herbs to consider:

A note of caution: practioner advice and care is necessary when using herbs, ex: chamomile seems so innocuous but is considered unsafe during the first trimester of pregnancy.

  • Vitex (Chastetree): decreases PMS, helps balance hormones
  • Black cohosh: estrogenic, not considered safe after conception
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine approach: dong quai, ligusticum, rehmania, white peony

What about the role of your partner?

  • Emotional health is as important for dad as mum
  • Work to lessen daily stress (particularly since pregnancy can cause stress to both people)
  • Connectedness and communication between partners is so very necessary
  • A healthy diet is not just for the mother
  • Exercise is important to health as well as stress relief

Supplements for your partner to consider:

  • Zinc: 100mg/d (again with proper amount copper)
  • Calcium/Magnesium: 800/400 mg/d
  • Adrenal support: Maca, a Peruvian herb referred to as “Peruvian ginseng” is good one
  • Vitamin C: 1500 mg/d in divided doses with meals
  • Vitamin E: 800 iu/d in divided doses with meals
  • B-carotene: 10,000 iu/day in divided dose with meals
  • B-100 complex: one daily with meal
  • Vitamin D: 400 iu/day with meal
  • Fish oil (or Omega 3): 1 tsp/day with meal

General environmental considerations:

Note: Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org, is a helpful website for this type of information.

  • Try to avoid pollutants, chemicals, solvents, etc.
  • Avoid electromagnetic pollution (excessive television, cell phones, power lines, etc.)
  • Find out about organic vs. non-organic foods and products