Both women and men want to optimize health prior to conception. Addressing underlying health concerns at this time is ideal. Pregnancy, birth and caring for an infant is a time of joy. It also requires a lot more energy than most admit. Stress can be high. Get to know what keeps you both going and support this. Know your weak spots before there is a baby. Then you can create a support plan.
I ask my patients to allow two to three months to focus on their own health before conceiving. This gives enough time address anything acute and level out stress. 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 includes a look at neurotransmitters. Preventing post-partum depression and anxiety for both partners is highly recommended. Our children’s stress response is wired to ours even as they are conceived. The early years provide the foundation for a happy life if we tend to our own selves first.
Here is the latest research around fertility:
Daylight & Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a role in the regulation of the female reproductive system and fertility. Vitamin D3 and increased sun exposure have 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 of 15 minutes per day are crucial for restful sleep, healthy stress response and fertility.
Microbiomes: Oral & Genital
Healthy genital microbiomes increase positive pregnancy outcomes. Lactobacillus reduces the harm that spermicidal contraceptives and antibiotics cause. Treating gut health optimizes the immune system as well. Infants receive their immunity from us as we pass them on during birth and breastfeeding. Yes the skin also has a microbiome too! It’s ideal to address infections and imbalances prior to pregnancy. It becomes more difficult to resolve these safely until after breastfeeding is complete.
Gingivitis is a common infection that occurs in the mouth. It may affect a woman’s ability to conceive by causing a systemic inflammation. Reducing carbohydrates in the diet while increasing antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and fibre reduced periodontal inflammation. Specific probiotics are used to target the oral microbiome.
The Functional Approach
I enjoy working with people who are committed to addressing the root cause. Infertility rates are rising each year which is concerning on many levels. Environmental toxins, high stress, poor food quality, and lack of sleep all play a role. These are the trends and yet each patient is unique. We investigate what’s happening for you. These discoveries increase connection and pleasure. Both release oxytocin, the hormone of love. Making simple changes that are specific to you can result in the arrival of a healthy baby.