There are many healthy lifestyle changes you can make before becoming pregnant that can improve your odds of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.
- Eat healthy – Increase organic vegetables and fruits – especially leafy greens. Choose organic, hormone free meats. Add healthy fats by upping seeds, nuts, and carefully sourced fish—download Seafood Watch app for healthy seafood options.
- Balanced exercise – Avoid excessive exercise and instead opt for yoga, Pilates, or walking 4 days per week. If overweight (BMI >30), losing 5-10% of your body weight can improve your fertility so more vigorous exercise may be needed.
- Take your multi-vitamin – Be sure your prenatal supplement includes: vitamin A 2500 IU or less, iron 18 mg, iodine 150 mcg, folate 400-800 mcg, vitamin D 1000 IU, vitamin B12 2.4 mcg, Vitamin E 200-400 IU mixed tocopherols, and trace minerals. Also add molecularly distilled omega 3 with 300 mg of DHA and 500 mg of EPA.
- Reduce stress – Consider a regular relaxation practice; acupuncture, marma therapy, meditation, breath work, guided imagery, and tai chi are great options.
- Avoid environmental toxins – Avoid hidden chemicals known as “endocrine disruptors” in your food and personal/household products using phone apps like “Skin Deep” or “Think Dirty. Shop Clean.” Drink filtered water in a glass or stainless steel bottle instead of plastic water bottles.
- Consider genetic testing – One common genetic variation that can affect fertility involves the MTHFR gene. One can be easily tested by your doctor and supported with specific nutritional supplementation. For more information on prenatal care for those with MTHFR defects, checkout this lecture.
- Maizes, Victoria, and Andrew Weil. Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child. New York: Scribner, 2013, Paperback.
- Environmetal Working Group. “Healthy Home Tips: Tip 15 – Healthy Pregnancy.” http://www.ewg.org/research/healthy-home-tips/healthy-pregnancy
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. “MTHFR.” Genetics Home Reference. 18 February 2014. 24 February 2014. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MTHFR.