Our world has become more toxic and our food less nutritious. It’s having an impact on couples’ fertility and the ability to conceive and carry healthy babies. What can potential parents do to reverse this phenomenon?
Preconception health care focuses on what couples can do before or between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. Indeed, preconception can be viewed as just as important to talk about as is prenatal care. Fertility expert Dr Jodie Peacock reveals the nutritional and lifestyle changes that are proven to optimize fertility and have a significant positive impact on baby’s health.
Dr Peacock is a naturopathic practitioner with a specialty in fertility. Her book “Preconceived”, a guide to enhancing fertility in preparing your body for a healthy baby, was published a couple of years ago. Dr Peacock is also founder of the Canadian Fertility Show.
- Challenges with Conception More and more couples in the west are having trouble conceiving. There are several factors that contribute to the rise in infertility. Women wait longer to become pregnant which can make it more difficult to conceive. The increased toxicity of our environment is another key factor. Our grandparents did not have the number of chemicals, toxins and endocrine disruptors that are now found throughout our environment.
- Long Term Impacts of Conception Challenges Scientific evidence now indicates that when a female becomes pregnant, the circumstances of that pregnancy not only impact that child’s health, but that of future generations. For example, one study found that if you smoke during pregnancy it increases the risk of your grandchildren having asthma.
- Toxins and Poor Diet Impact Mitochondrial Health Our mitochondria are becoming increasingly susceptible to toxins. We are seeing more cases of ADHD and autism, with lots of these concerns linking back to mitochondrial dysfunction. Methylation pathways, which are important for detoxification, are also susceptible to toxins.
- Vegan Diets and Reproduction Eating a vegan diet, unless properly monitored, can have a negative impact on fertility, particularly if levels of B12, folate, and iron are allowed to fall.
- Weight and Infertility Body weight is a factor in infertility. Being overweight may speak to an underlying inflammatory issue or an underlying blood sugar regulation issue. If so, it is important to effectively manage those conditions for successful conception.
- Preconception Checklist For Women Running a lab nutrient panel allows practitioners to understand circulating nutrient levels including vitamin D, iron, ferritin, folate, and B12. Omega-3 testing is also helpful. Running baseline kidney and liver function tests and monitoring blood glucose levels are likewise important.
- Preconception Checklist For Men Male patients should be screened for B12 and folate which play a critical role in spermatogenesis. Alcohol consumption and recreational drug use damage sperm. Endocrine disruptors, such as higher levels of BPA, likewise can impair sperm quality.
“So that's a big concern, when we start seeing stats that this current generation of children being born are the first in human history that aren't supposed to have a longer life expectancy than their parents.”
Dr Jodie Peacock ND
“So, I think that this is probably quite a new concept for most people. The idea that we should be thinking about the health of our child even before they're conceived. But as you think about it, it makes nothing but sense.”
E Brian Johnson
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