Planning a baby for most couples means stopping birth control and trying until you get a positive pregnancy test result. However, with one in six couples being infertile and high miscarriage rates it is advisable to rethink the old ways and properly prepare for pregnancy - the 21st century style!
Did you know the World Health Organisation (WHO) had to adjust sperm analysis charts because if they were still using the charts from the 1950s every man today would test as infertile?
To make matters worse, male fertility rates continue to decrease and the overall infertility rates are increasing. Why is this the case?
Since the introduction of food additives, preservatives, pesticides, plastics, commercial cleaning solutions and EM radiation from the phones and computers, our general health and fertility have taken a turn for the worse.
Many chemicals which extend the shelf life of a food, add flavour and colour to your food, help you clean the stubbornest stains in the world and perform other 'miraculous' feats are actually poisoning you and disrupting your hormonal balance.
But don't despair – our bodies have amazing self-healing and repair mechanisms in place. To keep those tuned, you need to minimise the exposure to toxins and maximise your nutrient intake from healthy natural fresh foods.
In addition, before embarking on this wondrous journey of creating a new life, couples should take a step back and realise they are creating a new human being with their own DNA. So the quality of the eggs and sperm at the time of conception as well as the internal environment in the body of the mother will play crucial roles in how your baby's DNA, physical, psychological and emotional potentials are formed.
People talk about 'IVF designer babies' where they can choose their child's IQ, eye colour, gender and height, but why look to such extreme measures when you can let the best baby maker in the world - Mother Nature - create the most perfect and unique human being by preparing for your pregnancy properly?
Here are five tips for couples trying to conceive:
1. Switch to natural and environmentally safe cleaning products, personal care products and cosmetics.
2. Make sure to eat organically grown and farmed food whenever possible. Your diet should consist of 80% raw, unprocessed and fresh food and 20% cooked or steamed food. During preconception care you should avoid eating raw meat, eggs or fish! Dark green leafy vegetables, fruit, berries, nuts and seeds can be eaten raw.
3. Sperm and eggs are made from good quality fats and protein. Therefore in your diet you will need plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in wild deep sea fish, grass-fed beef, organic free range eggs, walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds. Organic cold pressed, virgin coconut oil is also a great source of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which are not only fantastic brain food and improve your cognitive function but also help with weight loss, boost immunity, control appetite and improve your endurance and athletic performance if you do sports.
4. Minimise your exposure to EM-radiation. Electro magnetic radiation targets fast replicating cells such as eggs, sperm and the developing embryo. Computers, mobile phones and wireless networks are sources of EM radiation. Always use a headset when speaking on your mobile phone, work on your laptop using only the battery power, take a break from your computer when you need to recharge the battery as that's when laptops emit most EM radiation. Don't keep any electric appliances in your bedroom in a two meter radius around your bed.
5. Start preparing for pregnancy at least 120 days or four months before conception. It takes approximately 120 days for your egg cells to mature from their primordial form. During this time they are highly susceptible to toxins, EM radiation and nutrient deficiencies. In men its approximately a 90 day cycle in which they produce new batches of sperm. But since you'll be conceiving together, men should also prepare for conception 120 days before.
Many foods, drinks and toxins have been identified as endocrine disruptors and teratogens, meaning they can predispose you to infertility, miscarriages and your baby to deformities. Consult with a natural health practitioner specialising in natural fertility to help you prepare for your pregnancy as well as to address any other reproductive health issues such as endometriosis or PCOS before conception.
Now that you know what a huge role your dietary and lifestyle choices play in the health and wellbeing of your offspring, you should be excited and empowered that you can improve his or her qualify of life by preparing for your pregnancy!
Iva Keene MRMed. ND. is an internationally recognised natural fertility specialist and naturopathic physician who has helped thousands of couples with fertility problems on their path to pregnancy. Iva is a graduate of Endeavour College of Natural Health.
25-year-old nurse Coreena Cruceanu’s life turned on its axis when she contracted a Lyme-like illness. The extensive lifestyle and dietary changes she made to facilitate her recovery sparked a fascination with natural health and she is now studying to become a nutritionist.