Almost 12 weeks into being In Escondido and we could not ask for a better experience thus far. The office is beautiful, the new patients are incredible, the community is what we always wanted, and we are all having FUN…but let’s get to why we are really here. I’m writing this from my couch sitting next to my wife who is 28 weeks pregnant today. That’s the official start of the third trimester. It has been an absolute blur thus far. This month we are going to be talking about preconception health. What does it actually take to conceive? Should you do anything special? Should you just go for it? Let’s talk about it!
The average time for a couple to get pregnant in the US is 6 months. However, it can take couples up to 2 years to conceive naturally. According to the CDC, 19% of women are unable to get pregnant after a year of trying. About 26% of women have trouble getting pregnant, or carrying a pregnancy to term. Society is quick to blame the women, but sorry men, you make up 50% of the problem. It is just as often the men’s problem for fertility. In men, there can be problems with their equipment, hormone issues, and even genetic issues. Infertility issues seem to only be rising, which is another rabbit hole for another time. So what can we do to ensure we are in the best possible position to bring a baby into this world?
There’s actually a lot. According to Western Medicine, mom and dad should start planning at least a year out in order to get themselves into a healthy state. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends up to 2 years to get the body ready for baby. So what kinds of things can we do to ensure that the reproductive process goes as smoothly as possible?
Proper food. Fit body. Minimal stress. Strong mindset. Connection.
Realistically, these are things we should always be doing, but life happens. We don’t always have our grass fed, pasture raised, 9 hours of sleep, and HIIT workouts handy.
Nutrition is one of the most vital things that can be done to create a healthy conception journey, but also to help aid in the growth of the fetus in utero. Prior to my wife and I conceiving, she worked with a nutritionist to embark upon an intense 6-month gut cleanse that got rid of some nasty junk she had been dealing with for a long time. Commitment to a restrictive diet, whole foods, and up to 42 pills of supplements a day did the trick. Is that necessary, or even possible for everyone?
But we can do what we can. When our bodies have the proper fuel and building blocks necessary to sustain a healthy body, it can make conception that much easier. We recommend high quality animal products, organic (if possible) fruits and vegetables, and minimal amounts of processed foods. In many traditional cultures around the world, they utilize the most nutrient dense foods of the animals for the childbearing window. If you are not ready to start consuming liver on the regular, there’s pills for that. Ideally, we should be consuming at least 75-100g of high quality protein per day. High quality supplements are a great way to make up for any deficiencies one might have. Per our friends at BirthFit, “We suggest a quality prenatal vitamin along with vitamins D3, K2, EPA & DHA, Iron, Calcium, and L-methylfolate to name a few.” If you are unsure of where to start, it is recommended to get an appropriate blood panel done so that you can see where you need to maximize your effort.
What about movement? A lot of people in my world say that birth is the women’s most athletic event of their life. So, it makes sense that they should train for it. Exercise itself plays a dramatic role in our overall health. Any movement is good movement. Some couples get by with walking every day, while others are in the CrossFit gym dominating HIIT workouts. Whatever is easiest for you, and is the most sustainable, is what is recommended. Personally, I’d recommend some sort of routine that is composed of strength, cardio, and mobility. Hormones can be a big issue for men when it comes to fertility. You know what helps regulate our hormones and increase testosterone?
Lifting weights! (Fun fact – that gentleman was a chiropractor.)
If you are eating healthy, and getting enough movement, sleep should come easy. Many of our hormones are on cycles. Sleep helps make sure these cycles are running optimally, and that our body is recovering appropriately. Most Americans get less than six hours of sleep a night. The goal should be a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night. This allows our bodies to repair, recover, grow, heal, and function how they are supposed to. Here are 11 easy tips to help get you your best sleep.
Minimizing stress is a huge part of the conception process. Everything listed so far helps mitigate stress in some fashion. Other things that can be done include meditation, journaling, prayer, therapy sessions, mobility/stretching/yoga, time with family/friends, getting outdoors, and making sure our nervous system is functioning optimally. You knew we were going to talk about this at some point, right?
Chiropractic can help the body handle stress, make it more adaptable to stress, and can increase the body’s ability to conceive. I have already written about this in a previous blog post, which I will link here. Making sure the part of the nervous system that regulates the reproductive systems in both men and women, is of key importance when two decide to bring a baby into this world.
Some of our favorite experiences at Future Generations are working with couples who are embarking on this path. We get to help them along the way, and oftentimes get to hold the baby when everything works out. That is truly an exceptional experience.
Are you thinking about having kids? Know somebody who is? We invite you to come see what we can do for you, and see how we can help make your conception process as smooth as possible.
I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season! See you in 2023, the year I become a dad!