Pregnancy and preconception is the most important time in your child’s life. It is the time of most rapid growth and development. As a mother you have a responsibility to put your child first and give them the best possible opportunity for a healthy and happy life and this begins even before conception.
I was shocked to hear one of my friends say to me that she expected falling pregnant to just be simple. That all she thought she needed to do was stop using protection and the rest would take care of itself.
As a health care practitioner who has also spent a lot of extra time doing research and further study into prenatal and pregnancy health this was completely alarming to me. Women do not seem to be educated about the importance of creating the best environment possible for their babies to thrive and have the best opportunity for a healthy life. Having a baby is the biggest decision in a person’s life. What people often don’t know is that this responsibility begins before the child is even conceived. You are carrying this individual inside of yourself, so if your body is not in the best possible state then you are not giving your child the best chance at health. This encompasses mental, physical and spiritual health.
Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Nutrition has been shown to be so important when it comes to epigenetics in terms of which genes will be expressed in your child and could be to blame for many diseases manifesting.
Your child’s health framework for their entire future is being laid down in utero and as a mother only you have the power to change this for the better or for the worse. If you don’t want your child to suffer from health conditions present in your family; now, being before falling pregnant is the time to do something about it. It sounds overwhelming having to change your diet and lifestyle but these few years are really just a small dot in the timeline that is your life and the life of your child. A lifetime of health conditions that could have been avoided is much worse.
Preconception care should really start at least 6 months before you start trying to conceive. This is the amount of time the body needs to prepare itself for such a major task! Preconception care for Dad is also equally important and should begin a few months before trying to conceive as well. Don’t forget, it takes 2 to tango.
In these months of preparation you are:
1. Ridding your body of any toxins and chemicals you may be storing in your bodily tissues.
2. Making sure you are getting adequate nutrition through diet and supplementation. Building up your vitamin stores of those important vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.
3. Learning stress management techniques and balancing stress hormones.
4. Working on any health issues you have before it all becomes about the baby.
Foetal exposure to stress, toxins, under nutrition and obesity have been shown to play a role in the development of many common chronic diseases. This is why being prepared and making sure you and your partner are in the best health possible is so important.
Your health care practitioner can create a preconception plan specifically suited to you and your family.