Parenting begins before conception – The importance of preconception health care.

The birth of a child is a time of great joy and one of life’s most profound experiences. This joy is increased when there are no adverse outcomes and both mother and baby have come through a trouble free and healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy.

I have been professionally involved with mothers and babies for over 30 years now and, as a naturopath, have been treating couple with fertility problems for the past 22 years. While I am increasingly concerned at the number of couples now needing assistance in this area, I have also had the incredible privilege of being able to help so many couples in their quest for a health pregnancy and have been able to share in their joy with the arrival of a healthy baby.

In the last few decades there has been a worrying increase in reproductive health problems and infertility.

Recent research shows that

The incidence of infertility has tripled during the last 30 years

One couple in six now considered to be infertile One woman in five will have a miscarriage One woman in three will suffer some degree of post natal depression One baby in ten is born prematurely One child in thirty will be born with some type of congenital defect One child in ten is likely to have either learning or behavioral problems One child in five is likely to develop asthma, allergies or recurrent infections Unfortunately, the reasons for these alarming statistics are often dismissed with phrases such as “nobody really knows” or “it’s just one of those things”. The thing is that nearly every aspect of your reproductive health is adversely affected in some way by 21st century living conditions, diet and lifestyle!

The good news is:–

The combined evidence of many eminent researchers has shown that conditions such as sub fertility miscarriage, poor foetal health, breast-feeding difficulties, behavior & learning problems, allergy and poor immunity are preventable and treatable with sound preconception health care programs which are then combined with continued healthcare throughout pregnancy.

What is preconception care?

A program for both prospective parents aimed at increasing the likelihood of conception, improving your pregnancy outcomes and optimizing the health of your baby. Focus is on restoring optimum health and, in the case of infertility, to address and remedy the causes of your problem rather than just override it. Aims at ensuring an adequate supply (through diet, lifestyle & supplementation) of all essential nutritional factors known to be vital for the health of your sperm and ova and for optimum foetal development Reduces exposure (through lifestyle changes, environment, detoxification) to those factors known to compromise your health in general and are harmful to sperm, ova and foetal development Begins at least four months prior to intended conception to ensure health of sperm and ova (take 100 -116 days to generate and mature) is optimal well before conception. Is achieved through the use of natural medicines such as nutritional supplements, individualized herbal formulations, education re dietary and lifestyle changes, cycle charting and timing techniques. Who should use preconception care programs?