Preconception Health Care
What is Preconception Health Care?
You can make a difference to the physical, emotional and mental health of your baby. The long-term health of this new and unique person as he or she grows from a tiny fertilised egg to a fully grown adult human depends on a constant supply of nutrients to provide the basic building blocks essential for growth and development.
These same nutrients also improve fertility in the adult woman, help conception to occur, help to prevent miscarriage and create the environment for a healthy full-term pregnancy and an easy trouble-free birth and breastfeeding experience.
Why Use Preconception Health Care?
For the best health of a new baby, good nutritional supplementation begins prior to conception. This is because the mother’s egg takes approximately 100 days to mature before ovulation and the father’s sperm need about 116 days to form/. During this time, both are very susceptible to damage. A period of 4 months for preconception health care enables sperm and egg to develop in a toxin-free and nutrient-rich environment to enable optimum health of both. This provides the best possible conditions for the long-term health of the baby. It takes two very healthy parents to make a healthy baby and preconception care for both parents is the ideal way to achieve this.
Why Should I take Supplements – I eat a Healthy Diet?
While a good diet is a sensible starting point for good nutrition, unfortunately on it’s own, it is not enough to guarantee optimal nutritional status. Australian spoils are low in many nutrients and traditional farming practices have further depleted the soil of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. Pesticide use increases the need for many nutrients, for example Vitamin C. Milling and refining foods such as rice and wheat flour, to make them more palatable, also removes many minerals and vitamins, further destroying the nutrient content.
For example, zinc is important in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body and especially for male and female reproductive health. However, zinc is easily lost during the refining of grains and is poorly absorbed by many people. At least 67% of men and 85% of women are deficient in zinc! Many nutrient losses occur in the processing and storage of food, so our fruit and vegetables are not farm fresh or full of the goodness we usually associate with fresh foods.
How Do Supplements Improve My Fertility?
Fertility in both prospective parents can be greatly impaired by the effects of various toxins, such as chemicals, heavy metals and radiation, which can adversely affect the health of eggs and sperm. Good nutrition, especially with antioxidants and herbal remedies, can help to detoxify the body. Other nutrients are required for proper reproductive function, hormonal balance and health eggs and sperm.
How Do Supplements Benefit My Baby?
During the first three months after conception, the mass of the embryo increases over 20 million times. This is the time when cells differentiate and organs are being formed. Sometimes nutrient deficiencies may be so great that the pregnancy cannot continue. In other cases, the deficiency is not so severe but may still be detrimental to the health of the unborn child. For example, this is the case in spina bifida, where levels of folic acid are insufficient for satisfactory closure of the neural tube and the spine covering does not fully develop.
Other, less obvious problems, such as allergies, asthma, behaviour problems and infections (for example, middle ear and respiratory infection) are far less likely to occur in children when parents enter into conception with adequate nutrient status and low toxicity levels.
Your growing baby is rapidly developing new organs and body tissues, and needs lots of good food and good nutrition to complete this growth and developments in optimum health and vitality. The food you eat and the supplements you take before and during pregnancy act as a supply of nutrition for these developing organs and tissues.
Do Supplements Interfere With IVF or GIFT?
For couples undergoing assisted reproduction, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids can be used safely with your program.