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Preconception Nutrition: Planning a Fertility Year

PRECONCEPTION NUTRITION

Preconception nutrition is a preventative approach to optimizing nutrient status for positive fertility outcomes. For some women and men, this will simply allow them to better understand what nutrients are important for their bodies during this phase. For others, preconception nutrition can span to what is known as ‘fertility nutrition’ which is focused and tailored nutrition to support someone’s fertility, or ability to conceive. And it is not just about statistical outcomes, but about the health and wellbeing of a mother and baby through pregnancy and postpartum.

A tailored approach 

This is why we don’t offer one off suggestions, but instead take a tailored approach to provide safe, approachable and evidence based recommendations but also that take into consideration a woman and her partner’s bio individuality. Without having the support of a Nutritional Therapist, Information overload can be stressful and offer inappropriate advise to someone looking to conceive. This is already new territory for many women, and information on the internet can often lead us further away from our intuition. Working with a Nutritional Therapist takes the guesswork and stress out of figuring out how to eat well to support your journey.

Nutrient status

There are many nutrients that I look to replete in clients looking to conceive. Depending on each client, we may take a food first approach, or we may combine food with supplementation. Whilst we can eat a really diverse, healthy diet, the nutrient status of our food is often low because of soil quality and travel time. Shop local or grown your own! In addition, we offer micronutrient testing to better understand our client’s unique mineral and vitamin needs. During pregnancy, nutrient needs can change (both macro and micro) throughout each trimester as fetal development occurs. Working with clients into pregnancy allows me to support and guide them as needed.

Preexisting imbalances

Some clients come into clinic having been told they may struggle with fertility due to PCOS, endometriosis, irregular cycles and or an underactive thyroid. Diet can play a positive role for many of these hormone imbalances. This is a fantastic window of time for women to learn about their bodies, contributing factors and build healthy habits. Bonus, an anti-inflammatory diet is one we use for fertility support too. Support hormones and the immune system, support fertility.

Gut health 

Similarly, clients may learn that day to day symptoms that they have experienced are common, but not normal. This preconception period lets us take an approach that isn’t rushed. With my clients, I always work on ensuring their digestive system is working well but more often than not, clients will have more than one digestive symptom. We can tell a lot about our digestion from three ways – understanding stress levels, gut testing, and evaluating digestive symptoms. The gut test allows us insight into our gut flora, also known as our ‘microbiome’ – the amazing bacteria that support our immune system and that helps to develop and shape the immune system of a growing foetus.

We often suggest preventative testing that allows for more focused support. Tests we offer for preconception:

  • Micronutrient testing
  • Vitamin D
  • Thyroid
  • Comprehensive gut testing

Proper preparation offers favorable outcomes

Nutrition is often like laying the groundwork. For many women coming into clinic here at Ocean Rock, they are in their 30’s or 40’s. We take a similar yet different approach. Understanding body burden and the impact this can have on egg quality and overall health, we take a preventative approach to offer strategies to support gentle detoxification during the preparation period. We can positively impact egg quality in the months and years leading up to conception with the right support. Our focus is on egg quality not quantity.

 

For Nutritional Therapy support along your journey, join our NUTRITION RESET for tailored support and testing.

My top 10 preconception tips:

 

  1. Keep hydrated! Cells that are dehydrated won’t be able to absorb nutrients or eliminate toxins.
  2. Eat bitter and sour foods (passionfruit, arugula, radish, peppers, kiwi) to support the liver
  3. Enjoy raw seeds for their rich mineral content (pumpkin, sunflower seeds, sesame, Brazil nuts)
  4. Remove or greatly reduce alcohol intake
  5. Reduce gluten and dairy and opt for organic sourdough or dairy on occasion
  6. Find a local farm stand and make a weekly trip to purchase local vegetables when possible
  7. Test for micronutrient deficiencies
  8. Move your body for at least 10 minutes each day to increase blood flow across the body
  9. Begin a preconception supplement plan (with a qualified Nutritional Therapist)
  10. Find joy in the journey!

Join Sarah for a Nutrition Reset – 3 months of tailored nutrition support along the way to feeling your best.

What’s included?

  • 5 consultations (initial consultation is 1 hour, follow ups 30 minutes)
  • Email access
  • A tailored supplementation protocol
  • Access to functional testing mentioned above (covered by major medical)
  • Recipes and easy reading support

To sign up call 295 – 5100 OR visit www.fertilitybda.com to join! 

References

Nyangahu, D.D. and Jaspan, H.B. (2019), Influence of maternal microbiota during pregnancy on infant immunity. Clin Exp Immunol, 198: 47-56. https://doi.org/10.1111/cei.13331

Macpherson, A., de Agüero, M. & Ganal-Vonarburg, S. How nutrition and the maternal microbiota shape the neonatal immune system. Nat Rev Immunol 17, 508–517 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nri.2017.58

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