If you’ve had a wedding (or even attended one), you know how much planning and care go into it. The dress, the flowers, the band (or DJ), the location, the attendee list. Every detail is thoughtfully crafted and executed.
At Poplin, we similarly encourage couples to: Prepare for pregnancy like you would for a wedding…with a lot of forethought, guidance and support.
What is the rationale for preparing for pregnancy?
There are three main reasons:
- Preparing for pregnancy makes it easier to get pregnant. We need time to undo the effects of our modern environment. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn’t struggle with the same epidemic of infertility that our peers are struggling with. And the reason is that our environment has changed more in the last 50 years than it has in the last several thousand years. New environment = new problems. And one of those problems is hormonal and fertility challenges. In order to combat this, we have to undo the effects of our modern environment to essentially “coax” our bodies back into the natural state that’s receptive to conception. More sleep, less stress, lower toxic burden, higher quality nutrition - these sound like anomalies to us today, but they were the foundation of how generations before us lived...and thrived. Ample time is needed to remove toxin exposures and amplify the body’s detoxification pathways, boost nutritional stores, and establish hormone balance prior to conception. Getting all of this in order in advance makes it easier to get pregnant when you are ready.
- Preparing for pregnancy sets the stage for a healthier pregnancy. Any great undertaking requires advanced planning and training. Too often, we fail to appreciate the significant physical, emotional and spiritual undertaking that pregnancy is...and as a result, we short-circuit the preparation needed to optimize its trajectory. You probably wouldn’t go into a marathon without training, and yet, the demands of pregnancy are many-fold that of a marathon - in terms of nutrient needs, physical demands, etc. While it’s not quite a one-to-one ratio, the fitter and healthier you are prior to pregnancy, the more likely you are to have a seamless pregnancy. The demands of pregnancy are real and the more you prepare for them beforehand, the better you will feel during pregnancy.
- Preparing for pregnancy increases the likelihood of having a healthy baby. What you do before pregnancy sets the foundation for your child’s future health. Your lifestyle during the ~3-12 months prior to conception sets the stage for your egg health (and your partner’s sperm health), which will literally make up the building blocks of your baby’s cells. Beyond this, your epigenome (the environmental influence on your genetic blueprint) is inheritable from generation to generation, just like your genome (the genetic blueprint itself). Recent animal and human studies have shown how this epigenetic memory is passed through generations, affecting things as diverse as the risk of high blood sugar, the risk of obesity, early cognitive performance and susceptibility to stress. These epigenetic changes do not affect the actual DNA sequence of genes, but they can change how that DNA is packaged and how those genes are ultimately expressed. All of these epigenetic changes are influenced by your environmental exposures (like diet and lifestyle) and reflected inside of the DNA in your egg and your partner’s sperm. You can predispose your child towards health if you are healthy when you conceive.
Rather than waiting until after you’re pregnant to start cleaning up your act, start preparing earlier. It’s never too early to get healthier...for your own benefit and for the benefit of your future children.
While the DIY approach can be helpful for many things in life, we think that big undertakings lend themselves to a professional helping hand. Just like a great wedding planner can help guide you through the process, we like to think of ourselves as your de facto “baby planner”. We help couples become the healthiest version of themselves before they conceive.
If you’d like a helping hand, check out our preconception lab tests to help you assess your starting point. It gets rid of the guesswork and starts you on the path towards comprehensive pregnancy preparation.