Deciding on starting a family is life changing! Things will never be the same once you start bringing children into this world. You will have ups and downs along the way, but the giggles, cries, snuggles, and long nights are worth everything. This child will be your everything! You’ll want to protect this baby and keep it safe and healthy as best you can during pregnancy and well beyond.
What if I told you that you can start supporting their health even before they are created!
Your pregnancy journey doesn’t start as soon as you get pregnant. It may start months and years before. Before you actually start trying, it’s vital that you’re prepping the baby’s environment for it’s long 9 month journey in your uterus! To prep your body, it is important to manage stress, boost your nutrients and balance hormones.
We live in a world today where toxins are everywhere- in our beauty products, clothes, work place, food, household cleaners, even in our backyards (weed killers). Before we ask our body to carry a precious new life, it’s critical that we rid our body of these dangerous chemicals.
Here are a couple of reasons why it’s vital to get those harmful toxins out of our body before conceiving.
Certain chemicals can actually affect your chances of conceiving or miscarrying. We’d all like to think that once it’s time to get pregnant, we will see a positive test in one or two months. However, for many women, this isn’t the case. One of the reasons for the rise in infertility rates could be from environmental toxin exposure. Many products these days contain chemicals including DDT, BPA, PCBs, and glyphosate just to name a few. One study showed that women who had higher pesticide exposure (glyphosate) had 39% higher infertility rates.
An eye opening study was conducted that showed how newborns had an average of 200 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood at birth. Before these little babies come into the world, they are already exposed to hundreds of toxins. Of the 287 chemicals that were tested, 208 of them cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. Just think of what they could do to our babies as well. These chemicals can also put your child at risk for certain conditions.
We may never be able to completely eliminate toxins from our surroundings, but when we become aware of where toxins are coming from, we can lessen our toxin burden. It may seem overwhelming but once you make the swap, it truly is life changing and effortless long term. Check out my non toxic home post here for more details.
You have most likely been exposed to toxins on a daily basis for years. Many of those chemicals have been building up in your system and are stored in your cells and organs. When it’s time for your body to support a growing fetus, these chemicals that you’ve accumulated over the years can be transferred to your baby. To make sure this doesn’t happen (or at least to reduce the amount), we want to make sure we give your body ample time to detox. However, this takes time. I recommend starting to detox at least 4-6 months before you begin trying to get pregnant. I realize this is not always feasible but it is certainly ideal.
First you will want to lessen your toxic load by avoiding as many chemicals as you can. Right now your body is overwhelmed with the amount of toxins it faces everyday and can’t keep up with getting rid of them. This causes them to accumulate. We want to stop that build up and allow your body to catch up and eliminate those chemicals effectively and efficiently.
Replace your current household and beauty products with non-toxic options. An amazing household products brand I personally use in my home and at the office is Branch Basics.
Buy organic fruits and vegetables. Avoid buying any produce on the dirty dozen list that is non-organic. If expenses are tight, choose to get produce from the clean fifteen list instead. This will reduce your exposure to pesticides like glyphosate as stated above.
Your liver plays a huge role in the detoxification process. To help your body’s ability to detox, we want to be sure your liver is functioning optimally. To do so, start incorporating these practices into your routine:
Eliminate or reduce the amount of alcohol you consume
Maintain a healthy weight and stabilize blood sugar
Eat foods with high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
Make sure you are having bowel movements daily
Here is a great post about 12 daily detox practices
It is imperative that you focus on stress management at all times, but especially during preconception. Stress has the ability to wreak havoc on your hormones which could affect your ability to conceive. I do not say this to produce fear, but rather encouragement to make stress relief and self care activities a priority. I wrote an article all about supporting your adrenals and balancing cortisol levels that you can read here.
I want to note that detoxification and the importance of avoiding toxins isn’t just directed to you women. It’s just as important for the males to go through this process as well. Toxins like PCBs can affect their sperm quality and quantity, which could be the reason for a couple’s infertility issues. Also, it is important to consider nutrient deficiencies or autoimmunity in males.
During preconception it’s vital that you load up on an abundance of nutrient dense foods to boost your nutrient and mineral levels. Your body is about to grow a human being for 9 months! It’s important that mama and baby have enough nourishment for successful growth and development. Those first few weeks of pregnancy are critically important since that’s when many of the main organs are developing. You also want to be sure that you have enough nutrients stored up for postpartum, so you aren’t completely depleted after you give birth.
To ensure you are boosting your vitamins and minerals in addition to diet, I’d recommend taking high quality prenatal vitamins for 3-6 months before trying to conceive. This is what I personally did before getting pregnant on our first try. I personally love orthomolecular prenatal packs. I also took a vitamin D supplement and methylation support by Apex Energetics, which you can find through my Fullscript dispensary at a discount here. You can also combine The One and Omega for a great prenatal with supplements from my store. Check out all Taylor Dukes Wellness supplements HERE.
Just like with growing anything in nature, having good soil and a healthy seed is vital in healthy offspring. We want to make sure your body is optimal for carrying a child as well as your eggs and your partner’s sperm. This ensures the best environment for this new life you will be creating.
Not all people need to do comprehensive functional lab testing. If you have access to it, great but don’t feel the pressure or need to do this right away. Of course if you are interested or have a functional medicine provider willing to help you, what a blessing. If you struggle with fertility or miscarriages, then these labs certainly may be of value:
Nutrients: Vitamin A, D, B2, B6, B12, RBC magnesium, iron, and ferritin
Thyroid Panel: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, Anti-thyroglobulins
Inflammatory and Metabolic Markers: HsCRP, Hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose, homocysteine
Sex Hormones: SHBG, Progesterone, DHEA-S, Testosterone
Autoimmune Markers: ANA, DNA ds antibodies, ESR, RF, SM/RNP antibodies, antiphospholipid antibodies
One of the most interesting research topics that has been talked about lately is how your health may influence your grandchildren’s health! I know, crazy right? The diet you eat during preconception can influence the epigenetics (expression of certain genes) of your children, affecting their risk for certain health issues. A study done in Gambia showed that the season preconception occurred in (harvest or hungry season) affected the methylation of certain genes in the embryo. This means that the mother’s diet during preconception could affect if genes were turned on or off, and thus influence their babies health. Your kids will then carry this on to their babies, hence how you could create a healthy pathway for generations to come!
If you are planning on getting pregnant in the near future, getting in touch with a functional medicine provider is highly recommended to experience a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
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