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How to make a healthy baby and have a healthy pregnancy

Babies are a miracle. You are a miracle. Why is it that some women and men can have babies and some can’t? Is it chance? Well, maybe, but there are a lot of preconception care lifestyle, dietary and natural medicine choices that can help you on your way to create your miracle baby. 

Preconception health care can ensure that the small foetus is viable, the womb and environment is healthy and you can learn how to reduce undue stress and trauma especially leading up to conception or when the baby is made and especially support your first 3 months during pregnancy.

There’s a lot to do for preconception readiness. Let me tell you a personal story. While studying natural fertility the class chose to take up some of these recommendations to experience what it would be like to be in the shoes of someone trying for a healthy pregnancy and  baby.

I was told many years prior I couldn’t have children due to single large ovarian cysts, endometriosis and surgery.

I went along with the class recommendations anyway to learn more. I changed my diet, took some herbs to balance hormones because they’d always been my weak spot and exchanged chemical cleaners for natural non toxic ones. I barely did any of the recommendations as they really didn’t apply to me. My husband and I weren’t trying to get pregnant. I already had two gorgeous step children.

However before my last assignment was due, at 34 years of age I learnt my husband and I were pregnant. It was a shock. Such a shock I almost left the fertility class to deal with it emotionally. But my teacher gently guided me and said you can finish this learning programme. You’ll have so much to offer. 

Inspired by her I finished the class and learnt that some couples won’t have to do all this to get pregnant. But, if you can it will increase your chances. My baby is nearly 15 now. My miracle baby.

Preconception care 

The trick is to support an adequate supply of all factors that ensure the healthy conception of a baby starting from a woman’s egg the drops into the womb from the ovary via the fallopian tubs and a man’s sperm quality. 

Some basic facts about ovulation and sperms formation.

At least four months prior to conception protective measures are recommended as it takes up to 116 days for sperm to form and approximately 100 days to protect a women’s egg or ova from damage to maturation before ovulation.

Timing

Normally ovulating women will release the egg around two weeks after the period has started. It’s important to ensure healthy sperm rather than ageing sperm when it meets a healthy egg, at the right time of ovulation. Author Francesca Naish has great books on when to conceive. How to tell when you ovulate and how to track hormones and menstruation along with your cycle.  This is an absolute must. Use this along with Lunar charting for blips in your cycle. This means there are odd times that you can get pregnant outside the time when you drop the egg into the womb or ovulate. Ovulation can happen too soon or too late. The egg can be immature or too old but using preconception care and herbs can support to balance ovulation.

Testing

Until you have your results and advice from your doctor you will need to be tested for infections, a full body test as below and men, a test for sperm quality. Until then it’s best to use condoms during lovemaking. If you do need treatment take acidophilus, lactobacillus supplements one week after you’ve finished the drug treatment or until digestive disturbances or thrush if present are settled. 

Women

Full medical and menstrual history consult

  • Weight, Blood pressure, cervical smear, cervical swab as per pre-conceptual care guidelines. Ureaplasma and mycoplasma, chlamydia check.
  • Blood test: Blood count, ESR, cholesterol, Hep B, HIV, antenatal screen that includes rubella, syphilis, ferritin (iron stored in the body), toxoplasmosis, herpes, cytomegalovirus, thyroid function, hormone levels.
  • Urine test: Pregnancy, glucose and protein

Men

Full medical and menstrual history consult

  • Weight, Blood pressure, seminalysis, urethra swab as per pre-conceptive can guidelines. Ureaplasma and mycoplasma, chlamydia check.
  • Blood test: Blood count, ESR, cholesterol, Hep B, HIV, antenatal screen that includes rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, herpes, cytomegalovirus, thyroid function, hormone levels.
  • Urine test: Glucose and protein

Sperm destroyers

Antibodies made by the woman and in the man can destroy good sperm. We can look at creating the right environment in both.

How to make a healthy environment in your body for men and women.

We can use hair samples to determine what foods and toxins can be causing the women to reject a man’s sperm. Once we determine what they are its best to avoid those foods. 

Condoms? Yes, believe it or not condoms should be used and then removed during the right conception time.

Treat any infections such as candida, thrush, GUI (genitourinary infection) and restore gut function and gut flora balance with probiotics and good gut foods.

For Women

Balance hormones 

Balanced oestrogen elevation has been shown to reduce sperm antibody concentrations while progesterone elevation can dampen an immune response. 

Nutrients and herbs to stop sperm destroyers for the woman

We can use nutrients, foods and herbs to support the best environment but it is best to see a herbal specialist or naturopath as with timing if you do conceive some of these herbs should be stopped and must be used under caution during pregnancy. 

Vitamin A (for elevated IGA antibodies), Vitamin C, selenium and Zinc antioxidants support good preconception and calcium and magnesium support health vaginal mucous. 

Echinacea, Cat’s Claw, olive leaf extract, astragalus, calendula, golden seal, garlic, Pau D’arco can be used to support the immune system infections along with testing and a good health professional recommending the right treatment for infections.

Reishi and shiitake mushroom, turmeric, licorice, rehmannia, false unicorn root, shativari, hops, vita and paeonia are used to balance hormones, inflammation,  and an overactive immune reaction to healthy sperm.

Andrographis, hemidesmus and cordyceps support overall immunity and balance. 

Healthy vaginal mucus

During healthy ovulation vaginal mucus will be quite slippery and before or at other times will be dry, and appear on the underpants as white, yellowish or a creamy dry colour. This is normal. If it is overly yellow or green, overly smelly or be cottage cheese like in texture and itchy, you may have an infection. Sometimes over acidic vaginal mucus can destroy sperm. Also the vaginal pH is quite acidic to keep the vagina healthy. i loathe reading about vaginal baths, spritzes and even vaginal herbal smoke baths. the can destroy the vaginal microbial balance and at worse damage tissue. Please don’t do it.

Eat lots of vegetables and vegetable juices, use tissue cell salts Sodium phosphate, Apple cider vinegar drinks or dressings, digestive enzymes and bitter herbs for digestion for healthy mucus production.

If you’re using a vaginal mucous tester which shows a fern shape in the magnifier and there’s a lack of ‘ferning’ increase calcium, magnesium, zinc and oestrogen herbs and foods. 

To produce enough vaginal mucus, use oestrogen herbs and local treatments to the cervix using vitamin E, Aloe vera, increase water intake and use the herb golden seal if recommended by your natural fertility specialist.

For Men

Healthy sperm. The herbs Hemidesmus, shiitake mushrooms can help with sperm antibodies. A homeopathic sperm desensitisation remedy (see homeopath) can also be used and any infections should be identified and treated. 

Antioxidants and herbs to improve immunity include Siberian ginseng, Saw palmetto, Tribulus terrestris, astragalus, echinacea and olive leaf extract. To suppress an over active immune system use hemidesmus and anti allergic herbs should include albizzia, baical skullcap and feverfew.

Keep your scrotum cool

Wear boxer shorts, do not use the hot sauna or spa pools, or even sit on hot seats, the hot bonnet of a car or hot places. Bike riding can affect good sperm and even excessive exercise. Instead take cool showers or baths. Sort out any constipation and if necessary lose excessive weight to decrease abdominal pressure. Dietary recommendations call for a reduction salt if needed to balance high blood pressure and oedema or swelling. 

Herbs to help with varicoceles of the scrotum include, pine bark, got kola, ginkgo bolioba, aesculus hippocastanum, hawthorn berry, rosemary, grapeseed, achillea millefolia, turmeric, blueberries, dandelion root and Cynara scolymus. See your doctor if you need medical intervention. 

Boost your sperm performance

Supply sperm while in the lab if possible while getting it checked out. Your sperm will be tested for appearance, antibodies, volume, mobility, motility and count. There should be three days abstinence from ejaculating. After three days the sample of new ejaculate should be given on the fourth day and be tested. A poor test is not a death sentence – improvements can be profound or subtle enough to achieve pregnancy. 

Nutrient summary

these nutrients support healthy sperm especially with sperm antibodies.

Vitamin C (1-3g daily)

Vit E (500iu-1000iu daily)

Selenium (200mcg-400mcg daily)

CoQ10 (30mg-150mg daily)

Zinc (25mg-50mg daily)

Arginine (3000mg daily), histamine (800mg daily) and carnitine (12000mg daily).

Condoms are used to prevent exposure and allow for desensitisation against sperm destroying antibodies for 3-6 moths before trying to conceive a baby to get the correct timing spot on. 

Get rid of toxins around you and in you.

More than 80 different compounds have been shown to destroy sperm, affect getting pregnant or increase miscarriage.

These make such an impact I can’t stress enough how much your body’s environment will change once these are omitted from your life. 

Tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, caffeine, some medication, chronic stress, radiation, heat stress, margarines, pesticides, cleaning products made from chemicals, heavy metals, plastics that are xenoestrogens (oestrogen not made in the body) and industrial chemicals.

Toxins to avoid before conception

Environmental

  • Heavy metals: See your hair test or urine test.
  • Industrial chemicals: Air, soil and water borne.
  • Agrochemicals: In water and soil.
  • Domestic cleaners; Cleaners, renovations, some craft.
  • Occupations toxins; Hairdressers, mechanics, painters, farmers, petrochemicals, builders etc.
  • Body Toxins; Shampoos, conditions, skin care products, soaps, make-up.
  • Microwaving in plastic and drinking from plastic bottles or using heated plastics for food.

Dietary

  • Food additives, preservatives, colouring (Cook your organic own food from scratch) 
  • Polluted water. Use purified filtered water.

Medical

Over the counter and prescribed. Use as needed only or talk to your natural health professional for natural alternatives to be used where and if possible.  Kangen water is very good quality.

Detoxing 4 months before preconception

Sperm and eggs need to mature in a non-toxic environment to be healthy. Mucus and semen are channels for detoxing

  • Gentle detoxing without fasting to keep hormones stable. Detoxifying herbs to treat the body to support rejection of toxic sperm by the woman.
  • Milk thistle, Red Clover, Dandelion root, burdock, etc. I recommend Good Health Body Cleanse herbs and fibre. 
  • Use garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, oregano and spices if you are tolerant to them
  • Regulate elimination processes. Have regular bowel movements daily and used lactobacillus supplementation, probiotics and post-biotic, fibre, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil. Do not use laxatives. Bitter tonic herbs include dandelion root, Golden seal, meadowsweet and fringetree herbs. 

House cleaning products

You will need; borax, baking soda, white vinegar, fresh citrus peels, lemon juice, salt, cream of tartar, soap powder, optional your favourite essential oils. Handheld steam cleaner.

Degreasing and all purpose cleaner, room freshener: Citrus peels soaked in vinegar for a minimum of a month. Put in a spray bottle and use as needed. 

Soap: Mix soap flakes and dissolve in hot water. You can add essential oils such as Lavender to make it smell nice or keep it aroma free.

Borax dissolved in hot water is great to add to clothes washes as well as adding vinegar or the degreaser.

Radiation

With todays use of flying for travel, microwaves, radiation, X-rays, mobile phones, internet etc it’s not easy to avoid radiation. Radiation exposure  can damage DNA that adversely effects the woman’s ova, men’s sperm and embryo linked to fertility issues.

  • Only have X-Rays if necessary. Cover reproductive organs with a lead sheet if possible. 
  • Only fly if necessary. One long distance high altitude flight has the equivalent effect of a lower body X-Ray. 
  • Sit away from the window.
  • Take a homeopathic protective remedy.
  • Use your mobile phone as little as possible.
  • Keep your phone off when not in use.
  • If in use keep it away from your reproductive organs for instance using a ‘lap top’ in your lap. Use a hands free car kit or avoid it all together.
  • Sit away from the TV screen and no wifi devices in your sleeping room.
  • Make sure electric blankets are unplugged from wall and avoid using them. 
  • Replace your alarm clock with a battery fitted alarm clock. 

Fertility Diet

Nothing is perfect when it comes to these generic diets. You may find you need to alter it a bit to suit you. But if you could be perfect this would be it. I wasn’t this perfect when I conceived. I managed to have a few supplements, cleaned up my diet and threw away nasty chemical cleaners to opt for handmade ones excluding shampoo and conditioner. Of course some of this was not part of ‘the diet’ but part of the overall holistic approach to fertility.

Protein

Eat two protein serves a day and for women when you are pregnant 3 serves daily.

  • Cooked fresh fish 2-3 times weekly. (Avoid smoked fish and tinned fish).
  • Chicken should be cooked thoroughly and fat trimmed off without skin. Use free range only.
  • Eggs eaten should be organic and free range and 2-3 weekly maximum. 
  • Red meat in moderation, organic, avoid offal and mice and delicatessen meats.
  • Legumes, pulses and grains. Soya beans, tempeh, tofu, lentils with fresh nuts and seeds. Use in stir fries, salads, pasta dishes, as a snack but no dried fruit.
  • Dairy. Use as little cows milk or cheese as possible. Low fat products only to create less malabsorption and less mucus in reproductive tubes. Yoghurt is good.

Fats

Avoid heated fats and animals fats. This includes fried foods unless you’re using a little oil to stir fry. (Coconut, olive, rice bran, peanut oils). Use butter and avoid margarine and eat cold pressed oils that may include, olive oil, hempseed oil, flax oil and salads, dressings or in smoothies. 

Vegetables

Eat lots every day especially a wide variety of green leafy vegetables. Organic is preferable. Your diet should have at least 40% of vegetable intake every day. Raw, stir fried, steamed or baked. Avoid microwaved food and green potatoes. Try to avoid potatoes and eat sweet potato instead as it has less sugar. 

Fruit

2-3 pieces daily maximum due to high sugar intake. If you are making juices dilute the juices to 50% with water. 

Grains

Whole grains only. Brown rice, bread, pasta. Avoid refined flour products and products contain additives and preservatives. 

Sugar

Avoid all sweet things including homey, undiluted fruit juices because sugar leeches nutrients from the body.

Alcohol

Avoid alcohol. It is toxic to the sperm, ova and foetus. 

Coffee– Avoid all coffee included decaffeinated as it is inked to fertility issues. Cereal based substitutes including dandelion root coffee is fine. 

Tea

2-3 cups daily maximum. Herbal teas are much better.

Water

8-12 glasses daily of purified water. 

Salt

No added salt unless you are cooking your own food that is not processed. A little Himalayan or sea salt is fine. 

No junk food

Note for women: If suffering from endometriosis or fibroids only eat moderate amounts of phytoestrogens foods such as soy, parsley, alfalfa.

Affirmations.

Watch you tubes with Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Teal Swan and Byron Katie to understand the mental and emotional work for fertility. There can be a lot of mental and emotional blocks around conceiving. It is an emotional minefield. Whether we like it or not we are mind, emotion, body and soul. These need to be in agreement and integrated as one to increase the chances of pregnancy. 

Sometimes it can be quite confronting dealing with these which is why I’ve chosen Teal Swan and Byron Katie as your online mentors to take what you can away from them for your own emotional readiness. You may also like to create a network of mental support around you with friends, counsellors, fertility experts, and people that will truly love you while you are on this journey. Try and relax and take it easy with affirmations. Self blame is very damaging. You’re only human and can only do your best and do what you are ready for. Accept all parts of you even the so-called bad bits. That’s what makes you interesting.

Exercise

40 minutes of brisk walking daily or 20 minutes of aerobic activity. Yoga and pilates is excellent.

Supplements

This may seem like a lot but you could be just looking at a really good multi, a calcium/magnesium product, a folic acid product, a digestive, probiotic- enzyme product and Omega 3,6 product.

This list just helps you check what individual dosages are in those product you may need on a daily basis to get your body ready nutritionally for the next 3-6 months. 

Folic acid should be balanced at least 3 months before conception to help prevent neural defects. It’s not as important for neural defects after conception because the baby is already starting to form. Some people are genetically averse to folic acid or folate so check in with your naturopath or integrative doctor first. 

Vit A 10,000iu or 6mg of beta or mixed carotenoids 

Vit B Complex. B1, B2, B3 up to 50mg. B5 100mg, B12 400mcg, B6 50mg to 250mg, Biotin 100mcg, choline and inositol 50mg.

Vit C and bioflavonoids 2g-3g of Vit C and 400mg of bioflavonoids.

Vit D 200iu

Vit E 600iu

Vit K 2.5mcg

Calcium 800mg (Avoid bone meal supplements which may be contaminated with heavy metals)

Magnesium 400mg

Potassium 50mg

Iron 15-25mg of chelated iron

Manganese 25mg

Chromium 100-400mcg

Selenium 200mcg

Copper 2mg

Silica 40mg

Iodine 10mcg

Zinc 25mg-60mg. Use the Zinc tally taste test to see how much you need. 

Evening primrose oil 1g daily

Deep sea fish oil 2g daily

Take lactobacillus powder as recommended on the bottle.

Bromelain 25mg and Papain 25mg or other digestive enzymes