When planning for a big event in one’s life, (such as a wedding), most people put a lot of care and attention into the preparation to help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Becoming pregnant and having a child is one of the biggest events in one’s life—it’s important to put that same level of care and focus into planning. Of course, things don’t always go as expected; however, why not prepare as best you can?
The health of the biological parents impacts the likelihood of conception, and, if pregnancy does take place, the woman’s health affects the growing foetus, her experience of pregnancy, the birthing process, postpartum, and ultimately the child’s wellbeing.
This all applies whether conception is achieved naturally or through assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF or IUI (intra-uterine insemination). Whichever path your fertility journey takes, preconception care is important to consider.
Through lifestyle and dietary considerations, and health support such as acupuncture, nutritional supplements, naturopathy, Chinese and herbal medicine, and massage, you can improve the health of your whole body, including the reproductive system.
We often work with women and men to address health conditions that affect fertility. Ideally, couples start preconception care about three months prior to trying to conceive. If there are medical conditions, especially of the reproductive system such as PCOS, endometriosis, amenorrhea (no periods), heavy or painful periods, fibroids, and erectile dysfunction, this increases to around six months.
In saying that, many of our clients come to us for preconception care after they have started trying to conceive, and this is fine as well! Especially since it is not always advisable to hold on trying to become pregnant, especially in women over the age of 35. We may encourage you to try to conceive while we are concurrently looking at other areas of health. Please be assured that if you only start taking the support of acupuncture, nutrition, or herbal medicine years after you have been trying to conceive, it can still affect a change in the body.
Here are some tips for preconception care:
- Get support to improve your diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Conclude alcohol intake
- Have acupuncture regularly
- Work with a naturopath to determine which nutritional supplements are specific to you and your health
- Support your nervous system with things that nourish your soul, relaxation and mindfulness
- Exercise regularly
- Track your menstrual cycle (when trying to conceive naturally)
- Work with a practitioner to address any other health issues
- Look at your environment and reduce exposure to BPAs, plastics, and mould
- Utilize the resources available for your own learning (check out these resources that’s we’ve put together)
Acupuncture can support natural fertility by increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus and by supporting the endometrial lining. For men, improved blood flow reaches the testes for sperm health. Acupuncture has also been shown to calm the nervous system via the parasympathetic nervous system.
Your diet and nutritional status create the foundation for the thousands of cells and various organs in your body—including the egg and sperm cells, the endometrial lining, and the cervical mucus—all key players when trying to conceive. In addition, specific nutrients and antioxidants have been shown to help protect the egg and sperm cells against DNA damage, which is especially crucial for women 35 and older.
Your practitioner will discuss your specific treatment protocol with you in detail and answer any questions you have.