Pre-conceptual Care and Functional Medicine
Pre-conceptual care is all about maximising the health of both partners before pregnancy. The aim is to optimise fertility and to ensure a health pregnancy.
A woman’s eggs take around nine months to mature in the ovaries before they are ovulated. Starting conception preparation a year before pregnancy is for women ideal. The main aims of a functional medicine preconceptual plan include:
- Addressing any pre-existing health conditions so you’re in the best heath possible for your pregnancy journey.
- Identifying any problems that could affect your fertility or the pregnancy. This includes checking for conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, low thyroid function, anaemia, and high blood pressure. These can then be tackled if needed.
- Working on reducing toxins to provide the best environment in the womb for the baby. This includes making lifestyle changes to reduce toxin exposure as well as a specific protocol to help shift stored toxins in your body. Its important this is done before trying to conceive as you do not want to mobilise toxins during the pregnancy.
- Maximising nutrient status with healthy balanced diet rich in all the vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy pregnancy.
- Ensuring digestive health is optimal. This is to maximise nutrient absorption but also to ensure you have the healthiest possible microflora. This is important as your microflora influences the babies microflora during the birth and via breast feeding. Beneficial microflora are a key way to positively influence your baby’s immunity.
- Working on stress and sleep. Stress hormones and disordered sleep habits can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Effective stress management and optimal sleep will also better prepare you the challenges of looking after a newborn!
For men, sperm take two and a half to three months to mature, so a window of 3-6 months before trying to conceive is ideal for working on dad’s health. Here the main focus is to optimise sperm quality to increases the chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Sperm quality can be influenced by many diet and lifestyle factors . A functional medicine approach to male preconceptual care includes:
- A detoxification protocol to minimise toxin exposure and to assist the body in removing chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals which can negatively affect sperm quality.
- A full dietary assessment. This looks at vitamin and mineral levels as well as diet quality. A personalised plan can then be put together to top up nutrient levels, maximise intake of sperm protective antioxidants, and minimise exposure to things that have been shown to decrease sperm production and negatively affect reproductive health.
- Stress and sleep support – research shows that stress reduces the health of sperm so stress management is just as important for dads-to-be and mums-to-be.
As with any functional medicine consultation we start with going over both partners health history and diet. We also go over your lifestyle habits such as sleep, stress levels and exercise. Specific tests will then be recommended to check for underlying imbalances that may impact fertility and pregnancy – this will include tests for hormone balance, nutrient levels and digestive health.
Each stage of the process is personalised. Once we have the relevant test results we can agree a step-by-step plan for each partner that optimises your health, fertility and chances of a healthy conception.