When women are beginning to think about getting pregnant, many of them will ask their ob-gyn’s: “I’m planning to get pregnant in a few months. Is there anything that I should be doing now to prepare?” And, to our dismay, many ob-gyn’s will say “Not really...except starting your prenatal vitamins.”
Prenatal vitamins are essential, but insufficient for optimal preconception and pregnancy health. There is so much more than you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and having a healthy baby.
Anything that improves your health also improves your fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Cleaning up your diet, detoxing your home, making movement a priority, moderating your stress levels and sleeping soundly - all of these things absolutely have an impact on your ability to both conceive and carry a baby to term.
Conception is a miraculous thing, but it is also very tenuous. A lot of successive things need to go right in order to make a baby.
- You need be be ovulating regularly, which means your ovaries release an egg each month
- That egg needs to make its way from the ovary into the fallopian tube without any obstructions
- And then that egg needs to have the sustenance and wherewithal to wait for the sperm
- You need to have enough sperm (i.e. sperm count) lurking around to give you a fighting chance of making a baby
- Enough of those sperm need to be in good shape (i.e. morphology) to tip the odds in your favor
- Then those sperm need to be vibrant enough (i.e. motility) to make the long, hard journey from your woman’s vulva/cervix to her fallopian tubes
- Finally, one superhero sperm needs to find the egg and penetrate her within 24 hours of ovulation (fertilization)
For the fertilized egg:
- The fertilized egg (zygote) needs to make its way from the fallopian tube into the uterus without any obstructions
- The zygote needs to divide in an orderly and appropriate fashion
- The zygote needs to implant itself in the uterine lining, which must be thick enough to support the egg
- And then the embryo needs to grow without obstruction to term
As you can see, there are many stops on the train that can go wrong. That’s not to scare you - that’s just to let you know how delicate this process can be. And, that sub-optimal health (for you or your partner) increases the probability of derailing the train.
If your health isn’t in tip top shape right now and trying to conceive is on the horizon, it’s time to start making some upgrades. Your body and your baby will thank you.