Pre-pregnancy Support

Congratulations on your decision to start a family, it is a special time of life for you and your partner.  Pregnancy is not an illness but a natural event, where health becomes a priority for many. When we spend so much of our life trying not to get pregnant, it is natural to assume that getting pregnant will be a piece of cake – but that is not always the case.

​Fertility can depend on many factors, physical, environmental and emotional. Nutrition is now more important than ever, you are going to be making another human and they will only be as healthy as you are.

​It is ideal to do some preconception preparation before conceiving and a I will generally recommend at least 3 months of preparation prior to conceiving, although this is not always possible.  During the 3-months, some of the recommendations below may be helpful  (although as always, it depends on the individual and your unique self):

  1. ​Basic considerations: give-up smoking, cut-out alcohol, remove/ reduce caffeine and introduce 400mg of Folate or Methyl-Folate if you have an MTHFR genetic mutation (DNA Fit will highlight if you have any mutations or you could have a homocysteine test that would indicate whether you required methylated B-vitamins) (NHS, 2017)
  2. If you were willing to invest the money (£500), I would advise a full nutritional evaluation test,NutrEval. This test would highlight any nutritional imbalance, gut health status, omega ratio and any toxic heavy metals present.
  3. Check your homocysteine (the NutrEval would also test this). This is probably the single most important indicator of healthy pregnancy for 2 reasons. Firstly, homocysteine is a toxin and can damage the placenta and secondly homocysteine reflects the critical chemical called ‘methylation’ and being a good methylator is what allows cells to divide and grow to full bloom (Holford, 2009). To reduce homocysteine levels, you need to incorporate certain vitamins into your daily life, including folate, B12 and B6.
  4. The hormonal balance during pregnancy depends on optimum liver function. It is beneficial for both partners to do a thorough cleanse and detoxification prior to attempting to conceive as this helps to increase fertility levels, decrease the risk of miscarriage and minimise nutritional deficiencies post-pregnancy (Norton, 2015).
  5. Tackle any nutritional deficiencies and ensure they are at optimal levels  (as post-pregnancy the Mum will be the one to be deficient as the baby will be prioritized for required nutrients). These vitamins include: B vitamins, essential fatty acids, Zinc, Iron, Folate, Calcium, magnesium and Iodine (but basically all of them). Individual nutritional needs will be seen through the NutrEval test.
  6. Get tested for heavy metals – as heavy metals can pass through the placenta and cause many birth complications, as discussed inthis paper (again, these will be tested for in the NutrEval test).
  7. Ensure all of your body’s systems are working optimally as during pregnancy they will be working over-drive. This includes the digestive system, nervous system and endocrine system are prepped.
  8. Probiotics are essential during this time as the babies first exposure to bacteria, will be coming through the vaginal birth canal and ingesting some of your microbiome. Therefore, the healthier your microbiome the healthier the microbiome of you baby.
  9. As always, eat the rainbow, replace refined carbs with complex carbs – over 30g of fibre, sufficient protein and healthy fats (especially omega 3s DHA during this time).
  10. The mineral zinc and the vitamin B6 are especially vital during reproductive health. They work together to ensure that the adequate sex hormones are produced. For example, one hormone called LHRH (Luteinising Hormone Releasing Hormone) causes the pituitary gland to to stimulate the development of an egg (ovum) that causes ovulation. A deficiency in either zinc or B6 can cause a deficiency in LHRH, so the fertility decreases.’ (Holford, 2009. P.5)

​The above is not an exhaustive list, although a ‘starter-for-10’. If you would like to discuss how I could help you through your pre-pregnancy journey – please contact me below. Everyone is welcome to a complimentary 20-minute call to discuss whether Nutritional Therapy would benefit them.

*article first appeared on Rosie Tadman’s website