Friday, November 29, 2019

Tips for Getting Healthy Prior to Conception

I am so passionate about being a mama, and that has led to me also being super about children's health. This may sound crazy, but I believe God has given me a heart for this and the faith to pray for more believers to have more babies. I have a list of babies I prayed specifically for in my prayer journal! (Some of them have come into homes via IVF and adoption, but they are being raised in godly homes and going to help advance the Kingdom,) God is faithful!

"Children are a heritage of the Lord..." - Psalm 127:3
"For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of Him." - 1 Samuel 1:27

That being said, I also believe there are things we can do in the natural to support our bodies & to get back to how they were originally designed. I have spent LOTS of time researching and studying this topic, and my research has led me to understand that having healthy children actually begins YEARS before conception. In fact, the things you are doing now are helping shape the health of your GRANDCHILDREN in terms of gut microbiome, etc. It it is really important to provide optimal "soil" for fertilization, and this requires efforts from both mom AND dad as soon as possible before ever even starting to think about trying for a baby. (We definitely have undervalued the role that a father's health plays in fertility. We want a high sperm count & quality egg, so again, both parents want to invest in their health.) With that, (disclaimer!) please know I am not a doctor and don't pretend to play one on the internet. This is not meant to take the place of any advice from a healthcare provider. This is simply a compilation of tips based on my research and what I personally do to try to be as healthy as possible before trying to get pregnant.

Also, take this for what it's worth, but I personally do NOT take birth control, will not ever take it again, and will strongly discourage my daughter from ever taking it in any form. I regret taking it for the years that I did to try to control my acne (that I probably could have cleaned up with making changes to my diet anyway). If you think about it logically, we are essentially using something synthetic and telling the body NOT to ovulate. That means when you stop taking it, your body has to readjust and your brain has to communicate to the body to begin ovulating again. And while many people do begin ovulating again with no issues after going off of birth control (our bodies are very resilient), there is also a percentage of the population that struggles with getting their cycles to ever go back to normal after years on birth control. I personally believe it's a combination of multiple factors that affect our body's ability to regulate- we eat fake food filled with artificial everything, drink contaminated water, are surrounded by environmental toxins & slathering them on our bodies, are basically living in a chemical crapstorm, are infiltrated by EMF, & live an ultra stressful lifestyle. That's a recipe for all of the health, autoimmune, and fertility issues we are facing today. (If you have really bad cycles and feel like you need birth control for that reason, there may be another underlying health issue that needs to be addressed to resolve that. As always, it's best to try to address the root rather than simply using a band aid.)

Here we fave tips for getting HEALTHY!! 

Clean up your water. This is one of the very FIRST things I did and would recommend. Municipal water has some things in it you do NOT want to be consuming- from heavy metals, to fluoride, to birth control, Benadryl, & even Prozac. (Yep, most pharmaceuticals people are consuming and peeing out/ flushing are coming back into our water supply & even soil.) We have a whole house water filtration system (which for me is 100% worth the investment considering I soak/rinse my produce, wash dishes, bathe my kids, etc. in the water) & a Berkey for our drinking water that we’ve had for over 5 years.
Your water really, really MATTERS, especially when trying to conceive!! It is critical to stay well hydrated, but unfortunately if you’re not consuming clean water, it can be doing almost as much harm as it is good. There is a local town where the fish are not even reproducing at the same rate because of all of the birth control in the water supply. If it’s affecting fish at that level, what do you think it’s doing to us?
Tap Water Toxicity

**This also means being cautious with bottled water. I only choose this option when there is nothing else available, but typically I bring our own water from home with us everywhere we go. Looking into adding a travel Berkey, but for now I just fill up several stainless steel bottles and bring a Brita water pitcher when we go out of town. If you DO have to buy a bottle, I prefer Fiji or San Pellegrino.
Bottled Water Risks

Balance hormones. This can be done naturally with things like herbs, seed rotation, supplements, specific nutrition choices, etc. It may take some work, but can absolutely be done! I would look into talking to a naturopath for more support in this area because there is no one-size-fits-all protocol here. You'll want to work with someone who really knows what they're doing when it comes to herbs, etc. Here is a great place to start though.

Keep your electronic devices OFF of your body. Don't sit around with your cell phone/ipad/laptop on your lap. Encourage your hubby not to store his cell phone on his hip/in his pocket. EMF cannot be good for our reproductive organs...& we want healthy eggs/sperm.

Manage stress/get adequate sleep. Exercise is the biggest factor that helps me in BOTH of these departments. Prayer + making Bible study, quiet time, and praise and worship along with choosing gratitude help me manage my stress. Working out, shutting off all screens 2 hours before bed, or at LEAST wearing blue blocking glasses, all help with sleep. I also LOVE these Sleep strips because you don't become dependent on them, you can take them like traditional sleep aids, you don't feel groggy at all the next morning, and wake up very refreshed and not groggy the next morning. HIGHLY recommend! (P.S. you can save 10% by choosing the subscribe and save option, which is something you can cancel/defer/change at any time with no penalty. You're basically just picking a day for them to be delivered each month like I do with my toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, etc. on Amazon. And they reward YOU for choosing the convenience option by automatically giving you a 10% discount off the retail price. They are already very afforable, and this just makes them even cheaper! Here's a video about the science behind it & a product overview that tells you all about it.)

Also, I know I'm nerdy and enjoy learning and implementing #allthethings health related, but if it's more of a stressor for you, I'd probably take a step back and just focus on doing the best you can & taking baby steps. If it's an added stress, that's probably doing more harm than good. You know yourself better than anyone, so do what makes sense for your personality type and tendencies.

Take quality prenatal supplements. I just learned about this prior to my 4th pregnancy, but this go round I am opting out of folic acid and choosing methylfolate instead. If you're looking for a super high quality basic prenatal, I recommend this. If you want a more customized and personalized option, I would take this free HIPPA protected health assessment and choose the customized ID Nutrition.

Test for MTHFR gene mutation. Over 40% of the population actually has this gene mutation (myself included!) and has NO idea. That’s unfortunate because it’s actually one of the leading causes of miscarriage and infertility along with a host of other issues. It does not have to define your health though (I don’t have any symptoms from it at all other than some fatigue)...but it is important to know so you can combat it appropriately. For example, you may have trouble detoxing some things others can, such as folic acid & B vitamins, as well as heavy metals. The DNA kit I used to test for this is $100 off through December 4th (it normally retails for $249) and you'll get tons of other great health info too! Here are some links with more info about this gene mutation:

Go organic. I know some people think it’s a scam, but it's 100% NOT. I HIGHLY recommend putting those doubts behind you when you’re in a season of trying to conceive. I have more than one friend who went organic & saw immense benefits from a fertility standpoint.
Image may contain: text

Avoid GMOs and processed foods. The more research I’ve done, the more I realize the importance of eating REAL, whole food! This is a time when you really want your body to be as HEALTHY as possible, and this includes both you AND your spouse. (So pretty much everything I have listed applies to him too.) You want to limit processed grains, gluten, most things in a box/package, fast food, etc. Instead, focus on consuming plenty of leafy greens & cruciferous veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, quality protein, healthy fats, and nutrient dense carbs.You may also want to chill out on some of the "cooler foods" (smoothies, cucumbers, etc.) and consume some of the warmer foods (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc.). Side note: research suggests a vegan diet is not optimal when trying to conceive. I tend to follow more of the Weston Price suggestions during this time.

Consider a fast. Before we started trying to get pregnant, Jonathan and I both did a 21 day Daniel Fast (no bread, sugar, caffeine, meat, nothing processed etc.) A couple months later, I did a 3 day water fast. That resets SO many things in your system & helps your body flush toxins. (The water fast was more for spiritual reasons, but it just so happened to come at a time right before we started trying to conceive. I’d been doing some intermittent fasting and even a 24 hour fast, so this isn’t something I’d just jump into. You should consider doing this under the care of a physician, especially if you’ve never fasted or have any health issues.

Limit caffeine, alcohol, OTC & prescription meds. I don’t drink alcohol or take any OTC or prescription meds, so that’s no biggie for me. But I do make it a point to start cutting/limiting caffeine when I’m ready to start trying.

Maintain a healthy weight. I have several friends who are OB/GYN physicians, and they have seen women get to a healthier weight (even 10 lbs) and be able to get pregnant. This applies to women who are both underweight (do not have enough body fat) and overweight. It’s important for the husbands to be at a healthy weight too.

Clean up your personal care items (deodorant, shampoo/laundry detergent, hand soap, conditioner, lotion, perfume, skincare system, makeup, etc.) If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs what you put on it almost instantly. Lots of the toxic chemicals we put on our skin are hormone/endocrine disruptors. This industry isn’t well regulated, and the average woman applies over 26,000 chemicals per day (or something like that)! I like Poofy Organics and Beauty Counter.

Eliminate toxic household chemicals. Same reason as above. (Cleaning products, etc.) If you’re still burning regular candles or have plug ins/air fresheners, I would toss them immediately. Some of my favorite products that I actually trust and there isn't any greenwashing going on is Poofy Organics. I wrote a blog post with some of my favorite products here. I also share lots of my favorite product recommendations in my FB group I mentioned earlier.

Limit BPAs & choose safer cooking options. Switch from plastics to glass when it comes to water bottles, food storage containers, etc, and choose cast iron/stainless steel (rather than non-stick cookware). Super simple swap but makes a huge difference.
**Check out this article,

If you're already healthy, consider doing a detox 6 months or so (or even longer) prior to trying to conceive. You do not want to detox while pregnant or nursing. Things like Infrared Sauna are safer closer to trying to conceive and are extremely beneficial.

Consider Arvigo therapy and abdominal massage. I did this towards the end of pregnancy & LOVED it! The info suggests it would be really beneficial prior to trying to conceive too. You can search for a certified practicioner in your area.

If you start making the healthy swaps/changes early, the new healthy habits easily become a new way of life & you don't even have to think about it. It will benefit your entire family and help the whole family live healthier even after that sweet blessing comes into the world. Super simple!! Some things you should probably just toss/donate right away, but with many of these things you can just buy a cleaner version as you run out. Easy peasy! And remember, the SOONER you can start before trying to conceive, the BETTER!

Any other tips for improving overall health & fertility?

No comments: