Preparing for Conception the Natural Way

 Supporting Fertility the Natural Way

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Main Areas for consideration

Preparing to Conceive

It’s best to give yourself 4-6 months preparation time when looking to improve health before conception.

Factors to consider

Weight

Woman – The amount of body fat is directly related to your hormone balance. When body fat is too low, the menstrual cycle may be disturbed. It’s important not to be overweight as too much fat can interfere with ovulation. Also, being overweight during pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Keep in mind that your body needs essential fatty acids and fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins to function. If on a weight-loss diet, do not compromise your nutrition and go “fat-free”.

 

Exercise

Get plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Reduced sunlight has been linked to multiple sclerosis later on in life for the child. Exercise helps rid the body of stress hormones. Sunlight helps with the metabolism of vitamin D. Some suggested gentle exercise: walking, bicycling or swimming.

 

Infections

Men and women should seek help to alleviate allergies, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, and candida as these conditions affect nutritional uptake and in turn compromise the reproductive system.

 

(Early pregnancy -Toxoplasmosis: can be passed onto the baby and cause birth defects. Humans contract it from cat faeces so avoid cleaning out litter trays. Other sources include contaminated meat (do not eat undercooked meat), fruit and vegetables grown in a garden infected by cat feces. (Wash all fruit and veg well). Unpasteurised milk and milk products contain harmful pathogens.)

 

Smoking

Smoking lowers testosterone level, affects sperm formation and motility. Smoking has been linked to: cleft palette, harelip, and central nervous system abnormalities in babies.

 

Sperm Count

Sperm Count is affected by the following: toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol, increased sexual activity, and high temperatures (wear loose fitting underwear).

To promote healthy sperm include in the diet:

  • Good sources of protein
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium,
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

Stress

Below is a list of herbs used to relieve stress.

A balanced diet

Optimal nutrition is crucial at this time so ensure both partners have a good immune system, a strong nervous system and normal hormone balance.

  • Eat plenty of fresh, organic produce, complex carbohydrate.
  • Wholegrain cereals (wholemeal), millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and rye.)
  • Nuts and seeds (reduce when pregnant and avoid peanuts). If previous children have nut allergies, then avoid all nuts and seeds and eat another source of omega-3 such as fish oils (free from heavy metals and toxins)
  • Pulses and beans
  • Vegetables and fruits: excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – try to eat organic and soon after harvesting.
  • Unrefined oils
  • Fish, meat, milk and eggs. Organically grown where possible to limit the amount of xenoestrogens, which can alter the woman’s hormonal balance.

FYI – Apples (Pectin found in apples removes and protects the body from toxic build up)

B vitamins – special mention

Research has shown the link between diet low in folic acid and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  Therefore it’s important to eat a diet rich in B vitamins, folic acid is a B vitamin. Low levels of B vitamins can be associated with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and pulses
  • Yeast extract: Brewers yeast, Vegemite/marmite
  • Wholemeal bread

Essential Fatty Acids

These are very important for the development of the fetal nervous system and immune system. 70% of all EFAs go to the fetal brain.  Fats form the major part of the cell wall and are necessary for the absorption of trace elements and vitamins (A, E, D and K).

Vitamins & Minerals

  • A good quality multi-vitamin and-mineral supplement
  • Folic acid – deficiency has been linked to neural tube defects and low birth weight.
  • Low levels of B6 have been linked to low birth weight.
  • Selenium
  • Zinc deficiency:
    • In early pregnancy has been linked poor outcome of the pregnancy and low birth weight, miscarriage and congenital handicap
    • Linked to low sperm count

Those at risk

  • Smokers and alcohol drinkers
  • Pregnant women who have been pregnant before
  • Carrying twins
  • Medical conditions such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
  • Drugs e.g., contraceptive pill, penicillamine
  • Much emotional stress
  • Low protein diet with high levels of phytates (from whole grains) inhibit zinc absorption
  • Allergies to gluten or celiac disease

Herbs to balance Hormonal Function

Woman

  • Vitex: stimulates and balances female hormone:  helps the body to increase its own production of FSH & LH promoting ovulation
  • Wild yam: supports the proper function of uterus – helps build the uterus in preparation for conception
  • Chinese angelica: hormone balancing, tonic herb for reproductive system
  • Kelp: helps maintain normal thyroid function
  • Shatavari: a rejuvenative herb – sexual debility, infertility, balances hormones

Men

  • Panax ginseng: for weakness, insomnia, reduces stress – acts on the adrenal glands
  • Damiana: strengthens nervous and hormonal systems
  • Vitex: as above
  • Wild yam: balances hormones, hormone precursors, relaxant on urinary and reproductive tract
  • Saw palmetto: increase vitality, nourishes the reproductive system
  • Sarsaparilla: tonic for male reproductive organs

 Herbs to Increase Vitality

  • Panax ginseng: as above
  • Ashwagandha (for men): rejuvenative herb – for stress, chronic illness
  • Chinese angelica (for women): as above
  • Shatavari: as above
  • Rose:  relaxant, restoring effect on the nervous system
  • Ginger: warming properties stimulate circulation to peripheral areas, soothes indigestion, nausea, relieves painful menstruation and ovulation, invigorates the reproductive system

Herbs to reduce Stress

  • Rose: as above
  • Skullcap: nourishing tonic to the nervous system, rich in minerals
  • Vervain:  tonic to the nervous system, relieves anxiety, and lifts depression
  • Ginseng: as above
  • Lemon balm: relaxes spasm of the reproductive tract, relieves depression
  • Oats:  nutritious and vital to a healthy nervous system – stimulating and energy giving and at the same time relaxing

Herbs are natural drugs, seek a trained medical practitioner if you would like to use herbs during pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

Aromatherapy – natural stress relief with the right essential oils

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What is aromatherapy? Simply put, it’s the use of essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, grasses, fruits, roots and trees. It’s the essential oils in plant that gives them a scent. These oils contain chemicals, which have a therapeutic affect on the body through our skin and sense of smell, providing relief and healing for a wide variety of ailments.

How it works?

Essential oils are typically either applied directly to the skin by massage, or inhaled through the mucous membranes, allowing the natural chemicals to enter directly into the blood stream, bypassing the digestive tract. This prevents digestive enzymes reducing their natural potency.

A common ailment, stress, responds well to essential oils. It is said that almost everyone in the whole world is under stress of some description at one time or another. Aromatherapy helps us to cope and calm down.

First lets differentiate between positive and negative stress. Positive stress can be described as a “high” or a “buzz” you get when performing your job fast and efficiently. It is, indeed, the kind of high that makes people enjoy working in the first place. This kind of energy gives you your creative spark, improves your energy level, and generally helps with motivation. Negative stress, on the other hand is quite a different matter. This is when the healthy stress becomes debilitating with the result that you have no energy, no desire, only anxiety at your mounting workload. This is when essential oils are needed.

Stress relief with the right essential oils

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Next, lets take a look at the various types of stress and the oils suited to combat them:

Environmental Stress: Caused by, constant noise, interruptions, bright lights, traffic noise, ringing of telephones etc. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot Cedarwood, Coriander, Cypress, Geranium, Roman Chamomile

Chemical Stress: Caused by, too much alcohol and caffeine; too much junk food; too many drugs, antibiotics or over the counter painkillers, inhaling substances at the office or home, pollution in the atmosphere; Oils which help: Clary-Sage, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Pettigrain, Rosemary

Physical Stress: Caused by, pushing your body to the limits, over exercising, lots of business travel, late nights and early mornings etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver

Mental Stress: Caused by, trying to achieve, worrying about deadlines, pressure from a boss, unemployment, financial worries, health worries – yours or a loved one. Oils which help: Basil, Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Nutmeg, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Peppermint

Emotional Stress: Caused by, relationship problems, parent guilt, infertility, the inability to give or receive love; grief; etc. Oils which help: Bergamot, Cardamom, Geranium, Orange, Palma Rosa, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Stress levels

Stress can occur at different levels of severity and can quickly move from one level to the next if left untreated. Stress is such an individual experience so let your body be your guide to identify where you reside on the stress-level ladder:

Rung 1: starts as tiredness and leads to insomnia, irritability, digestion issues

Rung 2: anxiety sets in followed by depression, unexplained aches and pains, and migraines and headaches

Rung 3: next comes unexplained fearfulness, guilt, acrophobia, claustrophobia, and infections persist

Rung 4: lastly serious illness ensues: unexplained pain continues, angina, high blood pressure, heart attacks, other conditions that have their root cause linked to stress such as decreased immune function, cancer, stomach ulcers, increased incidence of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis

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It’s vital to treat the first rung before it develops to the second and so on. We shouldn’t strike a divide between our mental health and physical health – we are an integrated unit of body and mind and should be treated as such! Fortunately, we can use essential oil blends to reduce the effect of stress by choosing ones that soothe and relax or energize and stimulate as required, like the following:

For Anxiety:
Lavender
 10 drops, Geranium
 10 drops, Palma Rosa 10 drops

Depression:
Lavender 5 drops, Geranium 15 drops, Bergamot 10 drops

Calming:
Nutmeg 8 drops, Orange 5 drops, Lavender 17 drops

Insomnia:
Lavender 15 drops, Veviter 8 drops, Clary Sage 5 drops

Energizing:
Rosemary 11 drops, Lemon 10 drops, Lavender 8 drops,
Peppermint 5 drops

For Muscular Pain:
Lavender 10 drops, Rosemary 5 drops, Cypress 15 drops

For most of us stress is unavoidable; however, by using essential oils, we can alleviate some of the stress we suffer. Try to incorporate into your life:

  • A monthly aromatherapy massage
  • After a stressful day enjoy a home treatment use oils in the bath or on a wash cloth in the shower
  • Add one of the above blends to a body cream
  • During the day – add a couple of drops to a tissue to take with you
  • Add a blend to a plant spray to use in the environment you’re working in but check with those around that it’s OK to use – they’ll benefit from it, too!

Whatever you do, please remember to make yourself a priority – and keep some time for yourself to do what you want.

This article was previously published at: www.compareclinic.com/en/spotlight-treatment/aromatherapy-the-natural-stress-relief/

 

 

Five Tips for Healthy Kids

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Everyone agrees that having healthy kids is important – here are a few tips to help your kids stay healthy:

 

1. Zinc: A vital mineral for enzymatic function, blood sugar metabolism, protein metabolism and DNA formation. Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for immune function, hormonal regulation and healthy bones, skin and joints. Children that suffer from recurring ear infection, allergies or respiratory infections have an increased demand for zinc.

2. Coconut Oil: A solid at room temperature, coconut oil contains a high source of lauric acid (along with breastmilk) and is recognized for its strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This oil can be given to kids as a butter substitute, hidden in smoothies or enjoyed straight off the spoon.

3. Sugar free diets: A study concludes three ounces of sucrose at one sitting reduced the phagocytes ability to engulf bacteria and other invaders by 40%. The effect started within 30 minutes of ingestion and lasted five hours. During a time when bacteria and viruses are flying about, we want our immune systems on guard, not on siesta!

4. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): This herb is very kid friendly since it is easily prepared in a syrup form rather then an alcohol based tincture, and has a more pleasant taste (albeit a little tart!) Extract inhibits influenza virus replication in 10 strains of the virus in vitro, and enhances inflammatory and anti inflammatory cyctokines in human cells.

5. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is produced in our body with the help of sunshine, but its suggested now that we supplement, especially in the long dark winter months. In one study, the Vitamin D dose for children equivalent to the 4000IU adult dose completely prevented all respiratory infections over a winter in a group of children who had experienced three or more infections the previous year

Wishing you and your kids good health,

Andrea