If you are a woman of a certain age, you most likely have considered having a baby. If you have decided that you are pretty sure at some point (whether sooner or later) you will be going down the path to motherhood, you may have zero idea how to prepare for it.
As far as my own experience, I have never been overly into children or childcare. I have several nieces and nephews that I see occasionally, but not often enough to be super comfortable around them. I usually just feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. But, I did always want to have my own children, so I knew at some point I would have to prepare myself.
After my husband and I got married, I stopped using hormonal birth control which I had been on for about 12 years. I researched the Fertility Awareness Method for natural birth control and highly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. So for a year we used this method to purposely avoid pregnancy.
Then sort of all of a sudden, we decided to stop trying to prevent pregnancy and more or less start trying to conceive, using the same methods. And just like that, it happened!
Here is a caveat: I had been preparing my body for conception for over a year prior to conceiving! Even though I didn’t have an exact idea of when I would want to get pregnant, I knew I wanted to be in an extremely healthy state when it did happen. I’m going to share some of the tips I was following in order to get ready for this momentous time of life.
- Eating a properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole food diet.
- This is probably obvious based on what this blog is about, but when you are getting your body ready for a baby, you want to be eating as healthy as possible. My diet is centered around healthy fats (grassfed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocados); pasture raised and grassfed protein (beef, pork, chicken, eggs, wild caught fish); as many vegetables as possible; and unrefined carbs (potatoes, squash, white rice & gluten free oats (not paleo))
- Adding in “superfoods”.
- Some foods are just packed with nutrients and the essentials for building a healthy baby. Not all of them are sexy like chia seeds and acai berries though! I’m talking about grassfed liver, wild caught sardines, & bone broth. I made myself a checklist and ensured that each week I was getting at least one serving of each of the foods listed. (For the benefits of each, there is a ton of information online.)
- I’ll also include fermented foods here – kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha. These are all rich in healthy bacteria which enriches our gut flora and promotes healthy digestion.
- Prenatal vitamins/Supplements.
- You don’t have to wait until you are pregnant to start a prenatal. Look for one based on real food ingredients with folate and not folic acid. I also supplement with a probiotic – look for one with as many bacterial strains as possible; essential fatty acids – I like Biotics Optimal EFAs or you can find a high quality fish oil; B complex – B vitamins are cofactors for neurotransmitters like serotonin; Zinc – helps boost immunity; Vital Proteins Grassfed Collagen peptides – to build healthy skin, nails, hair, and connective tissue; Vital Proteins Dessicated Liver pills – for when liver is not available.
- Prioritizing sleep.
- Make sure you are sleeping in a completely dark, cool room for 7-9 hours per night. Sleep is when our body repairs itself and heals. Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bed and buy a pair of amber goggles for any screentime past sundown. This will help prevent our melatonin production from depleting and maintain our circadian rhythms. If possible set a bedtime alarm and go to bed at the same time each night, wake up at the same time each AM (this is essential if you are tracking ovulation with your temperature)
- Don’t drink alcohol.
- So this is the one that most people say is the hardest for them. We live in a culture in which drinking socially is the norm. I get it. Try and drink less. Stick to red wine, clear liquor and soda water, and avoid sugary mixers, drinks, and beer if possible.
- Throw away all conventional cleaning products, skin care products, detergents, soaps, shampoos, make-up, etc.
- They are full of harmful toxins which stress out your liver and adrenal glands. You need these organs to be functioning properly to produce necessary hormones in the correct ratios (like estrogen and progesterone). Luckily, there are now “green” or “natural” products available for all of your hygiene and cleaning needs, it may just take an extra effort on your part to find them. (I love Thrive Market )
- For those of you who know me personally, this is probably not a surprise since I own and train at a CrossFit gym. But getting enough exercise and movement in your routine is extremely important. Chronic disease stems from sedentarism. Buy a FitBit and walk 10,000 steps per day. Join a gym and lift weights. Go to pilates or yoga or a bar class. Whatever you decide to do, do it consistently. You will need your body to be strong enough to push a baby out!
This list covers how I prepared myself to get pregnant. I know there are lots of ways to go about this journey and am not judging anyone who goes about it in a different way. Again, I believe focusing on the above points assisted my husband and I in conceiving right when we planned to.
If you are interested in more fertility tips or getting a specific view of your own health and a plan to address any health concerns, please see my Services page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.