Supporting Fertility the Natural Way
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
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”.
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.
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 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 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.