For those who anticipate creation of a family, part of this process should be the focus on the health of both partners prior to conception or preconception. By improving health and taking steps to become healthier at least one year prior to conception, will improve the probability of fertilization of a healthier sperm and a healthier egg. This will create a healthy fetus until the birth, which will result ultimately with a healthier baby.
“If both prospective parents have not practiced good health through their lifetimes, then it is time, before conception, to take a serious look at their health. If this period has already passed, then perhaps it can be addressed for the next baby. Why is this so important? The nutritional diet and health of the individual at the time of fertilization will have a direct affect on the vitality of the sperm and the egg. The healthier the parents are at the time of conception, the healthier the sperm and the egg, the healthier the fetus, the healthier the baby, the healthier the child, and, ultimately, the healthier the individual.
Lifestyles go beyond just supplementation and healthy eating. It is a total body approach. We are preparing the body to house, feed and grow a human being. The woman must make preparations to receive the fertilized egg in her womb, but also to be able to carry the baby through the gestation period of 40 weeks.
So there must be emphasis on building her body in preparation, as well as making room in her life for a baby and family challenges. A person doesn’t run a marathon without intense training and dietary changes. The same goes for a woman. Not only does she have to eat for two, but then at the end she has to face the hardest athletic challenge of her life by giving birth.
Reduction of stress and creating space in her life to meet this challenge is all part of the preconception process. Conception depends on it, and a happy enjoyable pregnancy will follow. And, pregnancy can and should be one of the happiest and best times in a woman’s life. The challenge of a midwife is to strive to have a happy pregnancy where the mother feels great and is able to enjoy feeling life inside her body. A midwife will look at the most fundamental aspects involved with preconception, as this part of the planning sets the stage for the whole sequel of events to follow.
*Actually, normal physiology demonstrates that the preconception nutrition is more important than most people realize. Pre-pregnancy nutrition can determine if the fertilized egg “sticks” or not. If the embryo “sticks” (implants in the uterine wall and continues to develop), then we will have pregnancy ensue. Otherwise, there may be a miscarriage. The reason for this is, upon union of the sperm and the egg, the embryo depends almost exclusively on the preconception nutrition and the nutritional quality of the lining of the uterus (decidua) for its ability to be nourished after implantation in the uterine lining. According to Guyton’s Medical Textbook of Physiology, “During the first week after implantation, this is the only means by which the embryo can obtain any nutrients whatsoever, and the embryo continues to obtain a large measure of its total nutrition in this way for eight to twelve weeks, though the placenta also begins to provide slight amounts of nutrition after approximately the sixteenth day beyond fertilization (a little over a week after implantation).”
*The Healing Power of 8 Sugars, Chapter 6, “Improving Outcomes in Pregnancy”, by Dr. Victoria Arcadi