Preventative medicine has lifelong benefits. The earlier you invest in your health, the greater the returns you can expect throughout life. Imagine the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as a young child or even before you were born. That is why preconception care can be very healing, not only for the mother and father, but also for the unborn child and future generations.
One aspect of preconception care is cleansing the body. Some common chemicals we are exposed to everyday are toxins that disrupt the body’s natural processes. Overtime, these toxins can accumulate in our bodies. Some people retain more toxins than others due to stress, specific nutrient deficiencies, high-sugar and low protein diets, increased exposures, difficulty excreting waste, and genetic differences, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms.
While we cannot completely eliminate our exposure to toxins, it is possible to make a significant impact by limiting daily exposure. It is especially important for couples who want to conceive to be proactive about cleansing. Many of these toxins disrupt hormone balances, affecting fertility and delaying conception. With some simple changes, you can improve your and your family’s health.
Some foods expose you to toxins like pesticides and other chemicals. It is important to buy all-natural, whole foods. The Environmental Working Group provides two lists to help you buy produce. The Clean 15 is a list of produce you can eat liberally because they contain the least amount of pesticides. The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce you want to by organic because they contain the most pesticides.
One of the best ways to help the body eliminate toxins is to increase the amount of clean water in the diet. Just like the quote says, “The solution for pollution is dilution.” For women wanting to become pregnant, it is important to use glass bottles and containers instead of plastics, and avoid the epoxy linings inside metal food cans because they may contain hormone-disrupting BPA.
For extra detoxification, avoid sugar, eat more broccoli and other members of the Brassica family, and avoid fish with high mercury content such as farmed or Atlantic salmon, shark, swordfish, tuna, or sea bass. In addition, choose foods high in lean protein like wild, grass-fed, grass-finished meat that is free of hormones or antibiotics. Pea and rice protein are also great proteins for shakes and smoothies.
Your home is another area where you may be exposed to toxins, from indoor air pollution to personal care products. Indoor toxins include cigarette smoke, chemicals that get tracked in on the bottom of your shoes, and off-gas from vinyl shower curtains, construction materials, new furniture, carpets, and dry cleaning. To clean up the indoor air quality, try HEPA air purifiers, air filters, indoor houseplants, taking off shoes, proper air duct cleaning, and environmentally-friendly construction materials – especially in the nursery.
Other hidden toxins are the chemicals used in cosmetics, cleaners, laundry soaps, air fresheners, and other household products. Pay special attention to your personal care products because they are applied directly to your skin. Avoid products with fragrances, dyes, and parabens. Your local health food store will have natural cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions. You can also check the quality of your current cosmetics in the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. In addition, health food stores have all-natural household products like laundry soap and multi-purpose cleaners.
Now that you have limited your daily exposure, you can take cleansing a step further by consulting an Environmental Medicine doctor. Specific tests, such as heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, parabens and other testing, can help determine your body burden and the depth of cleansing needed.
Cleansing may include specific diet protocols, targeted supplementation with liver support, and therapies such as sauna therapy, constitutional hydrotherapy, colon hydrotherapy, or heavy metal chelation.
Cleansing is safe before pregnancy but not recommended once a woman becomes pregnant.
Healthy Mind & Spirit
In addition to getting your body ready, getting your mind and spirit ready is just as essential for conception. Stress can create chemicals in the body that act like toxins and can fatigue the hormone system. Exercise, meditation and deep breathing are essential to reducing stress, which helps men and women be in a more balanced and receptive mood for conception.
When getting ready for pregnancy, imagine a sacred place you would like to see your child growing and developing. Do you imagine this space as supportive, nutritive, relaxing, and balanced? Realize that you can create this place for your child within yourself and your environment. Becoming pregnant in a depleted state and imbalanced can be a contributing factor to infertility and complications during pregnancy.
A healthy relationship with your partner and with your own body can be very empowering during this time period. Keeping a journal can help you reflect, look towards the future, and keep you motivated about your health. Make a commitment not only to yourself but also to your partner and to your unborn baby to add wellness and balance into your life. You are worth it!