Preparing your body for pregnancy
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
You don’t want to get pregnant right now, and maybe not even within the next year, but it is in your best interest to optimize your reproductive health sooner rather than later. Now the question is what should you be focusing on?
Folate deficiency is linked with neural tube defects. This means that it is imperative for the development of the brain and spinal column in a baby. There are many foods that are enriched with folic acid, but some individuals are not able to utilize synthetic folic acid. Additionally, those who carry more weight are more likely to have issues with folate deficiency. You can have blood drawn to see where your folate levels are (both serum folate as well as a complete blood count can indicate deficiency). The best way that I’ve found to improve folate levels is to take l-methlylfolate. It seems to readily absorb in everyone. The benefit of l-methylfolate versus folic acid is that folic acid needs to be converted in the liver to become bioavailable, but l-methylfolate is already usable by our bodies. It can take a minimum of 3 months for your body to reach adequate folate levels.
This may already be a regular part of your life, but if it isn’t, it would benefit you to start exercising. Even walking for someone who was previously sedentary will offer you with a host of benefits. It’s a great way to get your lymphatic system flowing. Lymph fluid helps to move out toxins and balance out hormones. Exercise will also help your body to grow strong. Carrying a baby is not easy work. You’ll have extra weight to carry around as well as an altered center of gravity. Having additional strength will help to combat these hardships. The only caution I would give in regards to exercise is that if you’re exercising to the point of altering or halting your period, this is something you will need to change before trying for a baby. Over exercise alters your reproductive hormones and might even impede you getting pregnant at all.
This one is a no brainer, but somehow it seems to be the hardest to do. Making sure you get a diet full of health protein sources (grass fed/pasture raised meat and egg sources), organic dairy, eating organic fruits and veggies if possible, encouraging a healthy gut microbiome. Your baby will absorb nutrients from your body, so making sure you have the best quality nutrients available for them is important. Additionally, toxins can be found in the umbilical cord blood of babies. Many of those toxins can be found in our food sources. Though we might brush it off when we’re eating to fuel ourselves, it definitely can give us more of a pause when we think about what we’re nourishing our developing baby with.
Identify an outlet for stress
We live busy, fast paced lives, and sometimes we can forget to slow down and take care of ourselves. This is hard on our bodies. If you don’t have a good outlet, or two, or three for how you deal with your daily stressors, it might be the time to find a couple. Whether it be yoga, a meditation practice, a walk with a podcast, or a few hours at the end of the day to unwind sans screens. Anything will do. You might find that you experience an increase in feelings of stress during pregnancy. Having healthy ways to combat that (that isn’t a glass of wine) will help you to get through those 9 long months in a much more peaceful way.
There are varying opinions of how long one should prepare your body to house a baby, the general consensus seems to be that the minimum is three months. I would say that it’s best to start as soon as possible. 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, so you might as well be ready so that not only is your baby as healthy as possible, but also you feel as good as you can!