Are you thinking about getting pregnant? Women are finding themselves planning their pregnancy much more in advance now than ever before. Our concerns about our future children usually begin when we become pregnant, however, with all the toxic overload in today’s world, we should actually begin detoxing the body as soon as we even start thinking about conception.
The basic protocol is for women to do a light detox six weeks before, or a heavy detox three months before conception. If you don’t, when you become pregnant, unwanted toxins may be released into your baby’s developing body.
Your baby’s gut microbiome is mostly sterile, meaning it has no bacteria in utero, and gets colonized at delivery. During a vaginal birth, the baby’s gut becomes populated by the mother’s vaginal bacteria. The status of your gut health is influenced from your food and environment, but also the microbiome that was passed down from your mother and her mother. The state of your internal microbiol milieu dictates how your body feels, how you digest and assimilate your food, and the way your immune system behaves — so you want to have a healthy microbiome to pass along to your baby.
Preconception is a great time to focus on gut (and liver) health because it puts an infant in decreased risk of toxic substances and creates an environment that is nutrient-rich.
Research has found that the intrauterine environment plays a role in the actual health of the fetus. The CDC 2017 report states that 12.1% of American women in their reproductive years have experienced infertility. Furthermore, additional studies have shown high levels of xenobiotics (which are toxins) in infant cord blood. A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 232 toxic chemicals and 287 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood. Many people believe that these toxins are the reasons there are so many more allergies, eczema, autoimmune diseases, and other health concerns kids these days are facing.
One of the most insidious consequences of hormonal imbalances is chronic gut inflammation that becomes systemic. Our bodies perceive digestive difficulties as a form of stress, and doesn’t differentiate between emotional stress, food sensitivity, or working out too hard. In response, our adrenals release cortisol to cope with the stress. Increased cortisol levels can contribute to adrenal fatigue which can have a cascade effect on your sex hormone levels and thyroid hormones. It’s important to eat foods that support your body’s natural detoxification system so that you are getting the garbage out daily through bowel movements and perspiration.
Additionally, endocrine disruptors have been shown to cause congenital disruptors in babies. These toxins can be found in food, cosmetics, body products, and household cleaners. This can be changed by making your diet and products as organic as possible. Research has shown links between hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and environmental toxins. For example, endometriosis occurs in 6 to 10% of women, and endometriosis, fibroids, and PCOS have all been linked with environmental chemicals. A reason for fibroids is a prolonged exposure to estrogen. Many times, this prolonged estrogen dominance is due to synthetic chemical estrogen. The body can not tell the difference between natural estrogen produced by your body and synthetic chemical estrogen found in plastics, makeup, and home cleaning goods.
These concerns are just a few of the reasons I believe preconception is a vital part of the birthing process. By maintaining proper gut health, reproductive technology procedures are able to work better, creating a higher chance of becoming pregnant naturally. Here are some tips that I suggest:
Keep a food mood poop journal. For two weeks, record how you feel after each meal, as well as the texture of your poops. This will give you tangible information about what your body loves and what it rejects.
GO MEDITERRANEAN —
Mediterranean diets have been shown to be the most fertility-boosting.
TRY BONE BROTH —
Bone broth is a digestive aid that helps rebuild the gut. The gelatin found in the broth is responsible for healing and sealing gut lining. It’s also high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
GET ENOUGH FIBER —
Fiber is important, especially if your bowels are moving slowly. A typical recommendation is to have 35 to 45 grams of fiber each day, noting that the transition time to help measure proper absorption of foods is 12 to 24 hours. If you find that you aren’t properly absorbing your food, start adding dark leafy greens to your diet and hydrate with water!
DECREASE ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS —
Buy fresh foods instead of canned, and swap out plastics in the kitchen with wooden or metal cooking spoons and other non-toxic items.
Nicole Ohebshalom, RN, PCCI, CHHC is a women’s health specialist and therapist for hormonal health and periods. Through her online programs and private sessions, she uses endocrinology education, nutrition, psychology, and meditation to help women heal menstrual cycles and feel comfortable in their own skin. Learn more at nicoleohebshalom.com, on Instagram at @nohebshalom, or through Facebook.