The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation, or if you have any questions regarding conception, pregnancy, or your prenatal treatment plan.
Focusing on Mindful Preconception
Many mamas-to-be join the Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program while preparing to become pregnant. We asked Rochelle Serna, a natural fertility preparation specialist and baby health expert, to share some strategies you can use while preparing your body and mind for pregnancy.
Every woman has a unique fertility journey. The strategies included in this post are suggestions; please consider how they best fit into your personal context and lifestyle. You may already be following some of these suggestions or you may be learning about them for the first time. Take the information at your own pace. Please don’t try to implement all of these steps at once or feel like you must do all of these things to have a healthy baby. Be kind to yourself along your journey.
Five Questions With: Rochelle Serna
Why is mindful preconception important?
There are many wonderful reasons, but I’ll share my favorites. The exact moment of conception is when your baby receives the genetic code that will determine how he or she develops. By living a healthy lifestyle you can “strengthen” your genes. How? In the simplest terms, a healthy lifestyle helps to turn on the expression of positive genes and turn off the expression of genes linked with disease. That’s pretty powerful stuff!
Baby relies heavily on your nutrient stores and hormones for the first few months. This is when your food aversions are usually the strongest. Storing up ahead of time can save you from becoming deficient. Being mindful before pregnancy may also help to balance hormones, which are fairly taxed during the first twelve weeks. This is because both you and baby are dependent on them (the placenta takes over hormone production for baby around 12 weeks).
What are the 5 most important fertility foods?
There are quite a few “magical” fertility foods like royal jelly & maca, but my favorite fertility foods are those that contain the highest amount of baby-building nutrients in the smallest package. Here’s my list:
- Grass Fed Liver
- Pastured Egg Yolks
- Wild Seafood
- Organic Leafy Greens (raw & cooked)
- Fermented Vegetables & Milks
Learn more about pregnancy nutrition and incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet through our Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program.
There are many things that you can do to prep your body for baby:
- Environmental stressors. Get rid of things in your home like artificial air fresheners and non-stick cookware.
- Exercise. Find a form of movement that works best for you. The most important factors to consider are that you are getting fresh air in your lungs, and encouraging lymph movement and blood flow.
- Sunshine. Get out into the sun, with no sunscreen, for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Not only will you boost your vitamin D, but research shows that light from the sun is necessary for almost all proper body functioning. Be aware of your skin’s limits—the key is not to let yourself burn.
- Get in touch with the earth. Take a barefoot walk in the sand, jump into a crashing wave, or watch the clouds while lying in the grass. When we give our body direct contact with the earth it grounds, resets, and re-energizes us.
- Your mind. Motherhood changes everything. If I could go back I would have worked on my mind before anything else. I would have learned the art of meditation, I would have practiced self-forgiveness (because that mama guilt is strong), and I would have learned to put a higher value on self-care.
Should women who are planning to become pregnant supplement?
Everyone is unique and may need a different variety of nutrients. Some mamas focus on real foods and others need a bit more external support to their real food diet. A high-quality supplement regimen is like an insurance policy for the health of you and your baby. I always recommend a whole-food vitamin with folate or methylated folate rather than folic acid. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re thinking about supplementing for fertility:
- What kind of diet do you currently eat? Which primary nutrients are you continuously getting? Which may be lacking?
- Is this baby number two or more? How much time do you plan to have between pregnancies? While real food is an incredible resource, pregnancy is a HUGE drain on your nutrient stores. Having multiple babies close together may call for extra supplemental support.
- Are you nursing? Just like pregnancy, nursing puts a large nutrient demand on our bodies.
Can you give us 5 tips that women who are considering becoming pregnant can put into practice right away?
I’ll give you nine. Ridding your environment, food and body care of unnecessary additives frees up the body to function more properly. Here are five of my favorite, affordable toxin-avoiding tricks:
- Use a shower filter
- Turn off your wireless internet at night or when not in use
- Take off your shoes at the door
- Drink filtered water
- Always choose organic
And four more tips to help the process along even more:
The earlier you can start, the better. By preparing your body before pregnancy you can improve your chances of conceiving. You can also reduce your risk for pregnancy complications, and have a smoother transition into motherhood. For more information and support about preparing your body for conception, join the Healthy Mama, Happy Baby Facebook group.
Header photo: Helena Yankovska
Rochelle Serna is a natural fertility preparation specialist & baby health expert. She has a degree in Child & Family Development and holds a certification in both nutrition therapy & transformational nutrition. She works with mothers across the globe to prepare their bodies to carry their sweet babies. Her articles, resources, & programs assist mamas through early motherhood. Find her website rochelleserna.com.