23 April 2008
Preparing well before conception enhances the chances of a successful pregnancy. Good nutrition and life-style helps implantation and embryo growth. It prevents miscarriages, and, being neither over nor underweight as a mother will prevent diseases in your child later in life. Part of pre-conceptive care is to design a nutritional and life-style programme that will enhance your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Life-style and nutritional factors
Good nutrition of the mother is essential for the health of the baby as well as the adult the baby will become. It also increases fertility by helping the implantation and early development of an embryo. Chances of a miscarriage are reduced. Good nutrition to the womb will increase the weight of the baby and thus decrease the risk of poor health later in life.
Our nutritional advice is given according to the principles of Chinese medicine. After doing a complete diagnosis of you with both Chinese and Western medicine, we advise you to incorporate certain foods into your everyday diet so that your body has the chance to return to its optimum wellbeing.
Fertility is highest and pregnancy most successful when the body mass index (find out what your BMI is...) is between 20-25. Overweight women (BMI 27) are 300% less likely to conceive, and much more likely to miscarry if they do conceive. But even loosing a little weight can increase the chances of a pregnancy significantly. One in three women who are overweight and lose weight gets pregnant, and the risk of miscarriage is reduced by 2/3. Underweight women (BMI 17) are 50% less likely to conceive.
For you to achieve an improved weight, and thus to enhance your chances of natural fertility, we advise following a certain food programme. You may also receive treatment that aims at increasing or decreasing your metabolic rate or the activity of certain organs.
Life-style stress or depression is implicated in ovulatory irregularities and abnormal sperm development. Lower levels of measurable physiological stress indicate a higher chance of conception. Sleep plays a major role in maintaining good homeostasis and wellbeing. Lack of sleep has shown to lead to physiological disruptions. It inhibits the release of growth hormones, which is essential for tissue growth and the maintenance of the body's metabolism. In Chinese medicine the link of stress and lack of sleep to infertility is well recognised, and treatment will always aim to improve stress response and sleeping pattern.
Even modest consumption of alcohol by the woman can delay conception. Alcohol is poorly metabolised by women and can lead to a disturbance of the oestrogen/ progesterone balance. In both men and women, alcohol should be avoided during IVF as it can lead to a reduced egg production for egg retrieval and an increased risk of miscarriage in women. Alcohol consumption before sperm collection reduces the success more than 8 times in men.
Women smokers have markedly lower levels of oestrogen, which could lead to a delay in conception. It is also implicated in tubal factor infertility, and can cause early menopause. In the men, the toxic components in tobacco have damaging effects on sperm production. After stopping smoking, the sperm count increases quickly.
Coffee consumption is closely linked to fertility rates: the risk of infertility is 55% higher in women who consume one cup of coffee per day, 100% higher in those who drink 1.5-3 cups, and 176% higher in women who consume more than 3 cups per day. Coffee can also retard fetal growth and increase the risk of miscarriage. That means if you consume 1-3 cups of coffee per day you take twice as long to get pregnant. Your average natural conception time would increase from 7-9 months to about 1-2 years.
Painkillers or aspirin, commonly taken by women for menstrual pains, reduces fertility by interfering with ovulatory signals. Thus looking for alternatives to painkillers is essential if you plan to get pregnant. Both acupuncture and herbal medicine are highly effective to relieve pain.