By Adrian Schirr of Forum Health Clarkston
So you want to have a baby…
You and your other half have lined up all your ducks; you’ve paid off your debt and you’ve planned the perfect babymoon. Everything’s in order. You’re almost ready to start trying. Period tracker check! Ovulation Predictor Kit check! Basil Body Temperature Recorder check! OBGYN check check! All the Pregnancy Books check check check!
But are you forgetting something? Have you taken the time to ask yourself the most important question? Everything else is ready…Is my body ready?
If the answer to that question is “no”—or even an innocent “maybe,” it’s time to get to work.
Here are some steps to take when preparing your body for pregnancy:
- Heal your gut: Depending on how leaky your gut is, this might take up to a year. Increased intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” is a condition that occurs when the lining of the intestinal wall is overgrown with bad bacteria and weakens, becoming porous or “leaky.” This allows undigested foods, yeast, bacteria, and toxins into the otherwise sterile bloodstream. As a result, the immune system then launches an attack on those invaders, creating inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation that occurs from leaky gut can come in many forms: autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, heart disease, obesity, cholesterol, IBS, Diabetes, joint pain, skin conditions, fatigue, seasonal allergies, and infertility. If a mother’s gut is not healthy during pregnancy, her immune system and nervous system are also going to be compromised. This can directly impact fetal development in utero in areas of immunity, metabolism, and microbiome that can have long-lasting effects that extend far beyond birth and infancy. If you feel as though you have leaky gut, Nuview Nutrition can help you with that! Give us a call and we’ll get started with a customized plan to get you on the road to pregnancy.
- Clean up your diet: The first thing to do when preparing for pregnancy is remove unhealthy foods from your diet. The healthier the body is physically before pregnancy, the better the environment to maintain a healthy pregnancy. This begins with organic, hormone-free, non-GMO, whole foods that nourish you and provide a healthy place for your baby to grow. A trip to Nuview Nutrition will definitely help pave the way for a clean, good-for-baby diet.
- Go gluten-free: Studies have found people who have unexplained infertility often have better pregnancy results when gluten is removed from their diet. However, this can be tricky. Many gluten-free, premade meals are heavily processed and can do more harm than good. Do your research and make sure you are sticking to organic, whole foods. Pre-made or boxed meals are not the way to go. For gluten-free recipes, Pinterest has a lot of options to try. For a worry-free experience, Nuview Nutrition is ready to help. We offer a gluten-free plan, as well as many recipes to help you along the way.
- Get a Prenatal Yoga Routine: Yoga is good for before, during, and long after pregnancy, but I’ll try and focus on why expectant mothers or mothers who hope to be expecting should get into a yoga class right now. There are so many things to learn from yoga that will benefit you during your pregnancy and especially during labor. You will learn and develop breathing techniques and focus. You will relieve pain and tension in the lower back, hips, chest, and shoulders. Through yoga, you will gain stability, balance, strength, and pain management.
Poses to try:
- Legs up the wall
- Double pigeon
- Reclining bound angle pose
- Forward bend
- Hip circles
- De-stress: Stress can wreak havoc on your body by boosting cortisol levels. This can suppress ovulation and decrease your sex drive. Manage your stress by implementing these simple practices into your routine:
- Meditation/ Breathing exercises
- Massage/ Acupuncture
- Sleep/ Relaxation
- Take Baths
- Add “fertility foods” to your diet
- Wild-Caught Fish: Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, which can promote fertilization and implantation (Dr. Axe). Research also suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate ovulation, improve egg quality and even delay aging of the ovaries. Just avoid fish high in mercury.
- Vitamin E-Rich Foods Vitamin E is critical for many hormones and proper functioning of the endocrine system (Dr. Axe).
- Foods Rich in Vitamin C Vitamin C helps trigger ovulation in women and can increase sperm in men (Dr. Axe). Vitamin C foods also help your body absorb iron, an important nutrient for women who become pregnant. Grapefruits and other citrus fruits, kiwis, guava, red peppers, and kale are great sources.
- Foods Rich in Folate Folate or folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body build new cells and prevents birth defects. Experts recommend increasing folate intake before getting pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy (Dr. Axe). Most women are encouraged to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid to ensure that they get the recommended 400 to 800 micrograms daily. Foods naturally rich in folate include green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and wheat germ.
- Broccoli, Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts These cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, which helps the liver metabolize estrogen (Dr. Axe). It’s best to steam cruciferous vegetables, avoiding the goitrogens present in their raw state.
- Exercise: Try starting a new exercise routine a few months before you conceive. I take a pretty high intensity class at my gym every week. I love seeing the women who started the class with me two years ago still rocking it out even with their growing bellies. What’s even better is after they have their babies and they walk in six weeks later like they haven’t missed a beat. (I shouldn’t have to tell you that you need to talk to your OBYGN before you do a class, but there’s always one person who ruins it for everyone: TALK TO YOUR OBGYN BEFORE YOU TAKE ANY GYM CLASSES).
Here are some reasons why exercise is important to do (with permission from your OBGYN) during pregnancy:
- Releases endorphins, which make you happy
- Gives you more energy
- Helps you sleep better
- Reduces stress
- Eases constipation
- Makes for an easier labor
- Helps your body bounce back faster from birth (Umm…yes, please!)
The most important thing to remember as you prepare for this next chapter is that it is possible to be too hung up on all the details. Don’t stress yourself out over every little thing. Remember that nature has all the control in how the next nine (it’s actually 10) months unravel. You just need to give it the healthiest place to take course. It all starts with your body. Be good to yourself and bask in the beauty of motherhood.