I’ve had both women and men come to improve their health prior to conception. This is ideal. Optimizing health and addressing underlying health concerns is good to do at any stage of life. Pregnancy, birth and caring for an infant is a time of joy. It also requires alot more energy than most admit. Getting to know what keeps you and your partner going is important. Knowing your weak spots and how to best address these before there is a baby is very worthwhile.
I ask my patients to allow at least 2 months to focus solely on their own health. This gives enough time to get a sense of where to focus, treat acute infections and support the stress response. A nutrient dense diet sets a baseline, stabilizes blood sugar and addresses deficiencies or intolerances.
Hormone testing can show a lot. The lab I use has recently added markers that include neurotransmitters. Preventing post-partum depression and anxiety for both partners is highly recommended. I’m really looking forward to working with these new markers that come at no added cost.
Here is the latest research around fertility:
Circadian Rhythm, Sun Exposure and Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a role in the regulation of the female reproductive system and fertility. Vitamin D3 and increased sun exposure has shown to be positive for those suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), endometriosis, and infertility. Keep in mind that too much vitamin D can also pose a problem and this is why testing is important.
Going back to sun exposure this research indicates that shifts in the light/dark cycle disrupt the circadian system and the female reproductive system. For women looking to optimize their fertility and have a healthy pregnancy this information is important. Advising against shift work for their women who are hoping to become pregnant and reducing artificial light at night may enhance fertility. Wearing glasses that block blue light and normalizing sleep schedules are two helpful tricks. The sleep/wake cycle is tightly linked to the light/dark cycle. This is why early morning exposure to daylight and being outside for at a minimum 15 minutes per day are crucial for restful sleep, a healthy stress response and fertility.
The Oral and Vaginal Microbiomes
A healthy vaginal microbiome increases positive pregnancy outcomes. Lactobacillus probiotic supplementation can reduce a disrupted microbiome caused by spermicidal contraceptives and antibiotics. The gastrointestinal microbiome can also be tested and treated to ensure optimal health. Infants receive an enormous amount of immunity by having this microbiome passed on during birth and breastfeeding. Dietary modification, probiotics, and antimicrobial botanicals are used to restore health. Its ideal to address infections and imbalances prior to pregnancy as infections are difficult to resolve safely until after breastfeeding is complete. This can mean waiting years given that for ethical reasons we do not use strong herbs during this time.
Gingivalis may affect a woman’s ability to conceive by causing a systemic proinflammatory state. Reducing the intake of carbohydrates and an increased intake of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and D, and fiber significantly reduced periodontal inflammation. Specific probiotic supplementation are also used to treat the oral microbiome.
The Functional Approach
I enjoy working with people who are committed to addressing root cause. Infertility rates are rising each year which points to underlying health concerns. Environmental toxins, high stress, poor quality food and less sleep are part of the picture. These are the trends and yet each patient is unique. Together we investigate and often the discoveries that come increase quality of life. These improvements often result in the arrival of a healthy baby.