Why Preconception Prep?
Part 1 of our 4-Part Series on Preconception
Whether or not a couple is struggling to conceive, proper preparation for pregnancy is essential to ensure that the health of the baby is maximized! If you have had difficulty conceiving or carrying to term, preconception care can make all the difference!
A study conducted by the Forsight Group – a UK-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting preconception care – followed 367 couples ranging in age from 22 to 59. Many couples in the study had a previous history of infertility (37% of couples), miscarriage (38%), therapeutic abortion (11%), stillbirth (3%), low birth weight babies (15%), malformations (2%), and SIDS (1%).1 All couples received basic preconception care including nutritional counseling and a prenatal multivitamin for both partners. After 2 years, 89% of the couples had achieved live births. Of those with previously-diagnosed infertility, 81% achieved live births, suggesting that lifestyle modification may positively impact fertility.
Also of note is that within this treatment group, there were no reported miscarriages, perinatal deaths or malformations, and most children were born full-term and of a healthy weight.1As naturopathic physicians, we practice and live according to the naturopathic principles – first do no harm, doctor as teacher, prevention, etc. It’s this last principle – prevention – which spurs considerable interest in the topic of preconception care.
Increasing evidence is demonstrating that the environment in which a child is conceived, as well as the in-utero environment, strongly influence the health outcomes of both the pregnancy and the offspring throughout that individual’s lifetime.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
Several lifestyle factors have been identified which can promote optimal fertility, including dietary behaviors, stress management, and maintenance of a healthy weight. In addition, adequate nutrient status can influence not only the ability to get pregnant, but the health of the egg and sperm, and thus the health of the child born to those parents. Stay tuned for next week's blog, where we'll cover exactly WHAT to do in each of these categories!