It should be noted here that a mans sperm starts to form approximately 76 days before ejaculation, ova development takes 100 days and the uterine environment is vulnerable for at least 3 months after the cessation of bad habits and exposure to toxins prior to ovulation.
This is not meant in any way to scare, but more to give you the knowledge to make informed decisions about your health and the optimum timing of attempts to conceive a healthy child and maintaining the health of the mother and remembering that the health of the father also has a substantial impact on the outcome.
So what needs to be cleaned out?
- Recreational and environmental toxins
- Medicinal toxins
- Hormonal excesses
- Dietary toxins and excesses
- Address any deficiencies that may inhibit your strike rate (both guys and girls)
- Optimize your health status as this will affect the health of the baby and your ability to deal with the pregnancy and the post natal period.
- Don’t overheat the sperm
- Disease management
What does this mean for you?
- Cleaning up your diet
- Gaining or losing weight to reach your optimum health
- Addressing stress in your life
- Checking for nutrient deficiencies which will affect your health and that of the baby (this includes males)
- Removing environmental and other chemicals and toxins as much as possible
- Removing/ reducing Alcohol, caffeine and smoking from your life (yes, the men too)
Why is this so?
Alcohol – can lower fertility and increases the risk of miscarriage, it also impacts on low birth weight and the risks of abnormality. The impact of alcohol consumption in the first weeks of pregnancy is critical; also, drinking while trying to conceive runs the risks of consuming alcohol during these early stages before the pregnancy has been diagnosed.
Smoking and Recreational drugs – are toxic to the eggs, the sperm and the developing foetus.
Caffeine – high consumption has been linked to reduced fertility in both sexes and should be avoided especially when there are other factors that mean reduced chance of conception. (Yes this includes chocolate as well as coffee, unfortunately.)
Other environmental toxins – such as lead, cadmium (in cigarette smoke), aluminium, arsenic and copper, pesticides and fertilizers, solvents and basically any strong chemicals should be avoided by both parents in the lead up to conception as they affect fertility rates and the integrity of the eggs and the sperm.
Heat stress on sperm – I am sure that you have heard this before – excess heat affects the integrity of the sperm, so keep them cool with lose underwear and not exposing them to excess heat in spas etc.
Medications – this applies to both prescription and over the counter meds. If possible they should be avoided/reduced pre-conception (only with the assistance of your doctor for prescription meds) as they can inhibit ovulation and sperm production.
The weighty issue – fertility can be affected by being either underweight or overweight. Being at a healthy weight decreases risk of infertility, birth defects, blood pressure issues, gestational diabetes and the risk of miscarriage.
Fats – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is important to note that we need good fats in our diet to produce hormones which is vital to fertility. They are also needed for the integrity of sperm and for the control in inflammation in the body which also impacts on fertility. Saturated fats (the bad) increase inflammation responses in the body and decrease fertility and well as putting strain on most bodily functions.
Stress – any chronic stress impacts on all functions of the body and its ability to cope and adapt to other factors. This includes the ability to conceive. It is also a huge factor in the way that your body processes food and nutrients and the body’s ability to absorb and utilize them for the proper functioning of all body systems.
Management of ongoing health issues – it is best to stabilize any ongoing health issues before trying to conceive as they may impact on your ability to conceive, your ability to cope with the pregnancy and on the health of the baby.
Jacinta Harding is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, specialising in Allergies and Allergy related conditions and author of the eBook “When No Means Yes: No nonsense guide to saying NO to Gluten, Casein, Lactose and ill health and YES! To Health, Vitality and Wellbeing”.