Preparing for Pregnancy

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Preparing for Pregnancy

12th July 2016 11:25 AM

Author: Sharon Waltho

Preparing for pregnancy
For many reasons we don’t always have the opportunity to optimise our health ahead of pregnancy, but the chances are if you are reading this, you are keen to be in the best health you can be prior to conception.
In today’s society we are constantly being told what we should do to maintain our health so I thought it would be interesting to look at achieving optimal health for conception and pregnancy from both a western medicine and Chinese medicine perspective.
Obviously diet needs to be taken into consideration so that we not only take in the correct nutrients, but also maintain a healthy weight.  

The following general pointers should be incorporated into your diet;
• Choose good quality fresh foods with fruit and vegetables of the season
• Enjoy your food in a relaxed atmosphere away from your desk or the TV
• Remember it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to communicate to the brain that it is full  and avoid overeating
• Eat 3 meals a day with small healthy snacks in between
• Protein such as lean meat, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs or lentils should be eaten at least once a day
• Homemade soups and stews are nutritious and good for the digestion
• Avoid iced water with your meals
• Avoid drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners
• Avoid processed foods like cakes, biscuits and white breads
• Limit carbohydrates
• Limit fatty and fried foods but include good oils such as olive oil
• Remove caffeine from your diet and minimise alcohol consumption
• Cut out nicotine as research has shown that it can take longer for smokers to conceive
• Ensure you are taking a pre-conception supplement that includes folic acid

Exercise is also necessary for good health and in important factor to enhance fertility as it manages weight, encourages hormonal balance and counteracts stress. 
It is currently recommended that adults should participate in 30 minutes of activity each day, so it is essential to choose activities that you enjoy.  Remember that walking does count if you are someone that enjoys the outdoors rather than sport.

Acupuncture is known for its ability to reduce stress and has an important place in the treatment of fertility patients, especially those undergoing IVF. Other activities to reduce stress such as massage, or doing something you enjoy have also been shown to be beneficial in assisting with fertility.
Ensuring that you get enough good quality sleep is not something that we often hear about.  However, the quantity and quality of sleep influences the sex hormones, sperm production, ovulation and regular menstruation, stress levels and mood, immune factors, weight gain and stamina, so is very important when preparing for pregnancy.

And for those men that are reading, the testicles are located outside the body because sperm develop best at a temperature several degrees cooler than normal internal body temperature.  In practical terms this means that hot baths and steams rooms should be avoided along with tight fitting underwear and cycling. It has also been shown to be beneficial to take supplements containing Zinc, Selenium, Anti-oxidants and Omega 3 such as Well Man or Proxeed Plus.

Sharon practices acupuncture using an integrated approach, combining Traditional Chinese Medicine with Five Element Acupuncture and has specialist interest in treating women pre and post-natal and in supporting men and women throughout their fertility journey. To book an appointment with Sharon at Mickleover or Sandiacre, Nottingham, please call 01332 521 270

Danny Blyth and Greg Lampert (2015) Eating for health and wellbeing
Jane Lyttleton (2004) Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine
Nurture Fertility (2016) Available from:


Tags: Pregnancy, wellbeing

Treatments: Acupuncture, Acupuncture for Fertility

Practitioners: Sharon Waltho

The views expressed in these blogs are those of the blog authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Bridge Centre for Natural Health.

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