One of the things I’m most passionate about, is helping parents to improve their child’s health and wellbeing. One of the most rewarding aspects is that usually, the improvements to the child’s health have a positive ripple effect through the whole family. But ideally, a child’s best health outcome doesn’t begin in childhood - ideally it doesn’t even begin in pregnancy. The best opportunity to give your child the most positive health outcome starts with pre-conception care (for both the Mum AND the Dad!).
If you and your partner are thinking about becoming pregnant, here are a few tips for you:
- Remove processed food from your diet and focus on eating a wide variety of wholefoods – unprocessed wholefoods have more nutrients than processed food, and simply by eating a wide variety of them, you’ll be more likely to hit all your micronutrient targets.
- For females, make sure you’re getting enough of the nutrients your body will use for healthy ovulation – iodine, zinc, selenium, folate. (Hint: oysters will give you a good whack of just about all of them!) Vitamin A is needed for healthy cervical mucous production (yep, I went there!), so include some organic liver in your diet.
- For males, make sure your body is getting enough of the nutrients it needs to support healthy sperm production – especially zinc (hint: share your partners oysters!), folate, B12, and lots of antioxidants.
- Eat lots of leafy green vegetables – they support the important work of your liver, which is your work horse keeping your whole system clean. It’s basically impossible to avoid exposure to toxins these days, so all we can do in ensure our system is working optimally to get rid of what we are exposed to. (On that note, eat plenty of fibre to support elimination via your bowels, and also plenty of filtered to water too.)
- Look after your gut – include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kim chi & yoghurt to put the good bacteria in. And eat loads of fibre to feed them. If you have a history of antibiotic use and/or gut symptoms (such as ongoing pain, constipation, diarrhoea), consider getting a stool analysis to assess the health of your microbiome (and to pick up any parasites).
- If you’ve been on the Pill for a long time, be aware that it may have depleted certain nutrients – B12, B2, B6, folate, magnesium, zinc, selenium. At the very least, you should consider taking a good pre-natal multivitamin to replete your stores.
- Get to your GP and get your bloods checked – I like to see Vitamin D and full iron studies (which should be covered by Medicare).
- You could also consider further testing for common issues – MTHFR genetic mutation is common, and can be a factor in recurrent miscarriage (it also burns through extra nutrients). Pyrrolles is another common disorder I see in clinic, which can deplete your zinc and B6.