How to Prepare for Pregnancy BEFORE Trying to Conceive

How to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy
How to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy

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Are you thinking about trying to get pregnant in the next year or two? That’s such an exciting, and probably overwhelming, thing to think about. If you’re like most women, you’ve probably spent about half your life actively trying not to get pregnant! So how on earth are you supposed to prepare for pregnancy and set yourself and your future baby up for excellent prenatal health?

Your OB or doctor will probably tell you it’s as easy as coming off your birth control or stopping using condoms with your partner. Unfortunately for many women that’s really not helpful advice. Female fertility is a complex and multifaceted topic, and since 1960 female fertility rates have actually declined by about 1% per year. That translates to a roughly 60% decline! And unfortunately male fertility rates are decreasing similarly. You may have even noticed this among your own friends and family who are trying to get pregnant.

So how is a woman supposed to prepare for pregnancy and set her future baby up for a lifetime of health? Well, like I said, it’s complex. Here are some topics you’re going to want to be thinking about, and ideally you’re laying the ground work here at least six months before you start trying to conceive.

Balance Hormones

The first thing to think about is your hormone balance: Coming off your hormonal contraceptives, regaining natural periods, and addressing hormonal imbalances like PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and estrogen dominance, because all of those things can interfere with normal fertility. That also means that if you’re not currently having regular, predictable cycles, and you’re not successfully ovulating every month, we want to take care of that long before you start trying to conceive. If you’re not having regular cycles, meaning you’re not ovulating predictably each month, that’s going to make it so much harder to know when to even try to conceive- it’s like a shot in the dark, which makes TTC so much harder than it has to be!

Replete Key Micronutrients

Another thing you’ll want to think about to prepare for pregnancy is repleting key micronutrients that are crucial for your fertility health. This has a lot to do with nutrition! We know nutrition is so important for female fertility as well as male fertility (so yes, your partner can use all of these tips, too!). But we also want to make sure that your gut health is strong enough to absorb and use all of the wonderful healthy foods you’re eating. So if you’re eating all the right things but you have intestinal permeability, or a lot of inflammation in your gut, that’s not great because you won’t be able to use all of the micronutrients you’re eating.

Egg Quality

The next thing you’ll want to think about is your egg quality. You may have heard that old saying that a woman’s eggs are as old as she is, there’s nothing we can do to improve egg quality, but listen, I’m 38 years old. Science has now demonstrated that your biological age, which is the age your body seems to be, doesn’t necessarily correspond to your chronological age, which is your numerical age. There is so much we can do to improve egg quality that mostly has to do with your overall health and your body’s antioxidant status. Again, you don’t want to begin addressing this immediately before you start trying to conceive because the life cycle of an egg is three months. That means it’s important to start improving your health at least three months before you start TTC, but even better if it’s farther in advance.

Underlying Health Conditions

We also need to address any underlying health concerns or conditions, whether you know about them or not. These include things like autoimmunity, inflammation, and metabolic conditions like diabetes, prediabetes, and high cholesterol. We know these conditions have an impact on your fertility health as well as a healthy pregnancy and baby. Many women have these common health conditions but don’t know they’re related to fertility, and even more women may not know that they have an autoimmune condition or are prediabetic.

Lack of Preventative Care

Why is no one in prenatal care addressing these concerns? Well, these aren’t exactly things that your obstetrician was taught about in medical school. He or she is great at helping women navigate pregnancy and deliver babies, but their strength is not seeing you before pregnancy or helping you achieve pregnancy. That would be more in line with a reproductive endocrinologist’s role, however, you can’t usually see a reproductive endocrinologist until you’ve been diagnosed with infertility because we don’t have preventative healthcare in this country. Women aren’t usually seen until something becomes a problem, but if it’s a problem, it’s stressing you out and interfering with your life.

Good news, though – you found me! I’m Danielle and I’ve been working in the fertility space for eight years now. I started in traditional fertility at the Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Manhattan, and there I witnessed how underserved and disenfranchised women are in traditional healthcare, especially during our reproductive years! So I moved into functional fertility, which is what I currently do. That means I’m looking to find the underlying root causes of the symptoms or challenges you’re facing, and ideally correct them before they become full blown conditions that impede your goals. If you’re ready to have a talk about your fertility status and how to get from where you are to where you want to be, simply schedule a 30-minute Discover Call with me. It’s free and you have nothing to lose, but potentially everything to gain.

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