Part 1 of our 3-part Fertility Series: Preconception

Article by Bianca Sheedy

Are you planning for a 2022 pregnancy?

Preconception care plays an important role when preparing for a healthy pregnancy for both mother and baby. Preconception care is also vital for improving your chances of becoming pregnant! It’s important to remember that it takes two to tango to conceive a baby. Therefore, preconception care must also involve the male partner!

Why is the first thousand days so important?

The first thousand days refers to the period between conception until the age of two years, where optimal nutrition along with other factors influence your child’s development, growth and wellbeing. Preconception care for three months prior to starting to try for a baby provides you with all the nutritional foundations to support optimal fertility and healthy eggs and sperm to ensure a healthy baby.

Top tips for female preconception care:

  • Understand your menstrual cycle 
  • Ensure you are eating a nutrient dense diet
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Minimise/avoid coffee
  • Manage stress 
  • Ensure you are up to date with pap smear/breast checks
  • Screen your nutrient status
  • Speak to your Naturopath for prenatal supplementation

Male sperm decline – why is this a worldwide issue?

Alarming new research has shown that Western men’s fertility has declined by more than 50% in the last 40 years, with this steep decline showing no signs of slowing. A large meta-analysis drew data from more than 185 studies, which included information from 43,000 men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Researchers have associated this decline with environmental and lifestyle factors, such as prenatal chemical exposure, adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress, and obesity. The study also found that a low sperm count predicts a man’s morbidity and mortality, acting as a sensitive measure of overall health. These findings have wider implications for public health than fertility alone. They highlight the need, not only for preconception care, but for men to focus on ongoing preventive health care. Protecting men’s fertility should begin early in life, and reducing exposure to chemicals and pesticides is a good place to start. 

Tips for improving male fertility:

  • Thoroughly washing fruit and vegetables or eat organic 
  • Ensure a nutrient-rich diet
  • Engage in preconception care at least three months prior to starting a family

What is involved in a consultation with one of our Naturopath fertility experts:

  • Full clinical history to assess any factors that may be an obstacle to conceiving
  • Assessment of fertility and current health status
  • Blood test referral
  • Education and individualised advice around timing intercourse
  • Dietary assessment and advice
  • Prescription for any necessary prenatal supplements such as folate, choline, iodine, selenium, EPA/DHA, iron and herbal medicines
  • Lifestyle assessment and advice

Book an appointment with one of our Naturopaths to learn more about the importance of preconception care.