Did you know, it takes approximately 90 days for an egg to mature before ovulation and 64 days for spermatogenesis (the sperm cycle)? That means you want to start preconception work at a minimum of 3 months before you plan on conceiving (more so in the presence of health conditions). And yes, preconception work is also required for men as well!
The first thing we strongly recommend is getting some routine pathology carried out. This can help to identify any nutrient deficiencies and potential underlying health conditions that need addressing to improve fertility outcomes. The following are some of the testing we like to see in our preconception clients:
- FBC & general chemistry
- Iron studies
- Active b12 & folate
- Active vitamin D
- Thyroid panel
- Fasting insulin & glucose
- Lipids studies
- Liver function test
- Full hormone panel (if indicated)
- Infection & viral screens – STIs, EBV, CMV
One of the best advice when wanting to get pregnant is to “act as if you already are”. What do we mean by this? This means prioritising your health, ditching the alcohol and excessive caffeine and optimising your diet. This is also a great opportunity to look at your environment & ditch any harmful toxins & chemicals and go for environmentally friendly, natural, toxin-free products including cleaning products & cosmetics etc.
Educating yourself about your cycle and fertility window is also important. Do you have a regular cycle? Do you know if you are ovulating? Do you suffer from any premenstrual symptoms? By tracking your cycle you can identify if there could potentially be any hormone imbalances and also be able to determine your fertility window.
In pregnancy nutritional demands increase substantially – obviously, as you are building a little person in there! Low levels of certain nutrients are also associated with increased risk of miscarriage and fetal development issues. We are STRONG preachers of the importance of optimising your nutrition PRIOR to conception. If you have suboptimal nutritional status than you can be damn sure that it is only going to worsen during pregnancy and beyond. We see many depleted post-partum Mummas in clinic. Therefore, we recommend a good quality preconception multivitamin to start taking at a minimum of 3 months prior to conception.
One of the best ones we have come across on the market and highly recommend is Naturobest – which you can shop on our online store here. It contains absorbable & active forms of nutrients at a therapeutic dose that is required for egg health, support for embryo development with values that are far more superior to other off the shelf products. Please know that we NEVER recommend Elevit - this product has poor quality forms of nutrients.
DHA is another nutrient that we strongly recommend supplementing with preconception as well as during pregnancy & breastfeeding. This nutrient, found in omega 3’s, is required for baby’s brain development. Guess what happens if these levels are low? The DHA you do have supporting your brain function is prioritised towards the baby, subsequently depleting your levels. Cue baby brain! Low DHA levels can affect cognition, memory and moods. Low levels may increase risk of post-natal depression and anxiety. Our prenatal DHA is what we recommend to prevent this, which you can shop on our store!
It is equally as important that men are also focusing on their health in the preconception window to optimise their sperm quantity, morphology & motility. Approximately 40-50% of infertility is due to the male partner. So, the same rules apply to them as the females – we want to see you focusing on removing harmful toxins this is alcohol, smoking & heavy metal exposure and starting a preconception multivitamin for males. Again, we highly recommend the Naturobest brand.
We also love Maca powder for improving fertility outcomes. It is a great adaptogen herb which means it can help to reduce stress – a big driving factor for hormone dysregulation & infertility. Studies have shown benefits for improved sperm count & motility in males when using maca powder. Maca is also a galactagogue which means it increases milk production – so great for breastfeeding mummas! Some studies also display a libido increasing affect for both men & women, which we also have on our store!
Because we are big believers, followers and know it all's when it comes to fertility, keep your eyes peeled for when we release our online and in person fertility workshop! This will be coming in January, so sign up to our newsletter so you don't miss out on tickets! We will be spending 2 hours diving deep into fertility so you can come away feeling confident and ready!
If you are someone who experiences irregular periods, or other menstrual issues this can be a sign of hormone imbalance & is something a qualified naturopath can assist with. Hormone imbalances can impair fertility as well as increase risks of miscarriage so is something that we like to address ASAP.
Lots of love, the Balanced Beings Team!