As a practitioner who has worked with hundreds of women who were in the throes of trying to conceive, one of the most important points that I want to drive home is that before a woman’s body can be in the best place to conceive, she must do some prep work. By prep work I mean: taking the time to give your body at least three months following a mind, body and soul preconception plan.
Sure, there are plenty of women who get pregnant the first month they start trying and plenty who get pregnant even when they aren’t trying. However, when you are aware that you want to conceive a child, I have found clinically that the most successful pregnancies stem from a woman who has taken the time to honor her health mentally, emotionally and physically for at least three months prior to conception.
What I always say in my clinic is that our ultimate goal is not just to get pregnant, our goal is to get pregnant with a healthy child, have a healthy pregnancy, carry that child to term and bring that child into a healthy home. I see conception as just one piece of that puzzle.
The truth is, when a woman is in optimal health-nutritionally, physically and emotionally, getting pregnant should be a natural thing for her body to do. Alternatively, when a women is stressed out, not sleeping enough, rushing to get pregnant because it’s what she needs to do now and running on empty in every aspect of her life—getting pregnant is the last thing her body wants to do. In that situation, her body is so focused on just getting through the day that the idea of growing another life inside of her is out of the question.
The best way a woman (and her partner) can work to honor her health is to follow a preconception plan, for at least three months prior to conceiving, that consists of the following:
- Sleeping 7-8 hours per night
- Eating real food. By real food, I mean food that typically does not come in a package, food that is as close to its natural state as possible, food that is free of toxic chemicals that can disrupt your hormones (and those of your future child) and food that is nutrient dense.
- Manage stress. Stress is a major culprit in all diseases, and fertility challenges are not excluded here. Stress can disrupt hormones and make a women’s body inhospitable to pregnancy. Meditation is a great way to manage stress.
- Move. Get in some form of movement 4-5 days per week
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Ideally, one cup of coffee per day (organic is best) and no more than 3 alcoholic drinks per week.
- Get in touch with the nature of her body. Note your menstrual cycle, when it comes, how long it lasts, how you feel before, during and after; pay attention to ovulation and when it comes. The key to conceiving is attempting prior to ovulation.
- Be sure to get in enough folate (aka folic acid) and anti-oxidant rich foods such as spinach, kale, spirulina, liver, lentils and almonds, as well as foods that contain good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids such as wild salmon, pastured eggs, grass-fed meats, flax seeds and walnuts.
- Be happy. Yes, being happy has been scientifically proven to improve our health. When a woman is healthy (and happy), she will have an easier time conceiving.