Making that decision to bring life into the world is an incredibly big (for lack of a better word) decision. It takes greater faith and strength to plan for conception, carry, birth and raise the child.
The 9 months of pregnancy are said to be the most important periods of our lives, in relation to our health, growth and success in life. Researchers are seeing that the period of time before birth can influence the wiring of the brain, the functioning of the organs and even impact our susceptibility to disease. In short, the period before birth will set us up for either health or disease for the rest of our life.
If you haven’t found the motivation to optimize your health, and you are planning for a child, now would be the best time to do it.
So how does one successfully plan for pregnancy? There are several aspects of planning that should be taken into account.
As mentioned, nutrition is a key player in so many aspects of the pregnancy, and conception is no different. When you’re planning for conception, ideally, one should start implementing healthy nutrition at least 4-6 months before even trying. The foundation for a successful and healthy conception is in nutrition.
Just as it takes months for a baby to grow, it will also take months for your body to prepare. Health and wellbeing doesn’t happen overnight and similarly disease doesn’t grow instantaneously. If you can take the extra time to start changing habits, excluding the bad and including the good, you would be investing in your own health as well as the future of your future baby. Key nutrients like omegas, folate, calcium, vitamin D and iron are particular nutrients to take note of and of course getting adequate fibre and protein.
2. Health status of mom and father to be
Infertility affects 1 in 6 couples in Hong Kong and there are many challenges that couples can be burdened with when trying to conceive. It is always helpful to know what you are dealing with before stepping into it, so some general testing to understand the health status of both you and your partner would be beneficial. Despite what many believe, the man’s health status can contribute to up to 60% of the infertility issues. As they say, it takes two, and learning about the health status of both partners would allow your doctor or nutritionist a more accurate reading of your situation.
3. Current lifestyle habits
Our modern lifestyles that usually are big contributors to hormonal imbalances , stress and nutrient insufficiency can create obstacles when trying to conceive. Your current lifestyle habits may not seem damaging, but there are always aspects of it that we can improve on to gain optimal health. And this crucial time of conception is the best motivator and time to be working on your health and that of your baby’s.
4. Physical fitness
There are many physicological changes that takes place in a woman’s body to prepare for pregnancy and of course during and after the conception and birth itself. It is important to prepare the body of the physical changes and also extra weight that it will need to carry. Walking, stretching and pilates are especially helpful in preparing for labor. But the key is frequency and consistency. For the exercises to benefit you, aim to be active at least 3 days per week.
The information is for general education. It is not meant to be used by a patient alone. Please work with your health care practitioner to use this information in the best way possible to promote your health and the health of your future child.
Written by Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist