The Fertility Detox Plan

Your pre-pregnancy cleanse

Everyone has something to say about pregnancy. Wading through the mass of information currently available on getting pregnant, being pregnant, and life after pregnancy is almost enough to inspire a woman to skip childbearing all together.

In hopes of reducing the confusion during what it is already a very new and exciting time of life, I’ve done the digging for you and have discovered that there are some simple lifestyle changes — slight adjustments, if you will — that may facilitate the process of getting pregnant. This pre-pregnancy plan can be initiated anywhere from a year to three months before trying to become pregnant — although “pregnancy detox” is really nothing more than clean, healthy living, which can be practiced at any time.

Stop Smoking
There’s really no other way to say it. Stop smoking. Now. Smoking is not only detrimental to a growing fetus, but it may also hinder a woman’s chance of conceiving. Studies have found that cigarette smoke contains an anti-estrogenic substance, which can suppress ovulation and reduce the chances of successful implantation of a fertilized egg in the womb. Women who smoke may reduce their chances of becoming pregnant by about 40 percent compared with non-smokers.

Maintain a Healthy Weight (and eat right)
Now is not the time to indulge in that triple chocolate peanut butter ice cream that you like so much — oh, maybe that’s me. Really, preconception is the perfect time to get back to your ideal weight. Extra pounds not only hinder a comfortable — and easy — conception, but they can also increase the risk of complications during pregnancy like high blood pressure and diabetes. There is no greater motivator to slim down than the health and wellness of your unborn child. Being underweight can also hinder conception by affecting normal ovulation. If your body mass is less than 20 it may be more difficult to conceive. Regardles of your weight, it’s important to eat a balanced diet, heavy on the fruits and vegetables — especially dark, leafy greens — to prepare your body for a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth.

Just Say No Drinking
Drinking and recreational drugs have no place in pregnancy. If you are seriously trying to become pregnant, now is the time to break these habits. Again, think of your future child as the ultimate motivation to end a pattern of behavior that you probably wanted to stop anyway. Research has found that women who drink more than 10 units of alcohol per week reduce their chances of successful pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriage, compared to those who drink less than five units per week. Alcohol is also associated with fetal abnormalities like fetal alcohol syndrome. And men aren’t off the hook. Excess drinking can affect the quality of sperm, making it more difficult to impregnate a woman.

Watch Where You Work
Fertility is affected by not only what you put into your body, but also by what your body is exposed to. Certain occupations carry hazards that can reduce the chances of an easy conception. Both men and women who work with extreme heat, radiation or chemicals (pesticides, solvents, etc.) may be unknowingly influencing their fertility.

Just Say Yes
It’s easy to rattle off a scary list of what not to do when trying to become pregnant, but there are also some things that you can do to increase your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy. Just say yes to a pre-conception examination by a health care provider. It’s a good idea to ensure that you are in prime baby-making form. Pre-pregnancy is also the perfect moment to initiate a regular exercise regimen. Increased muscle tone and a stronger heart will help you sail through pregnancy and have a birth free from complications. While you’re working on conceiving, it’s also a good idea to start taking a multi-vitamin that has at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin that’s been found to help prevent heart disease and colon cancer and it also plays a key role in the healthy development of the fetus. Specifically folic acid can help prevent NTDs or neural tube defects.

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