The decision to start a family can be the start of an incredibly exciting adventure but preparing yourself for conception can also seem an area of numerous opinions thoughts and ideas...
Rather than trying to get everything 'perfect', I would recommend right at the start using the 80/20 rule. That is, for 80% of the time, put in the best nutrition, look at reducing your stress levels and get ready to start your family. But also, and this is key, allow for flexibility and reality.
Fertility treatment doesn’t happen in isolation to the rest of life and it is important to try and not put everything else on hold during this time. Within this context, a cup of tea and slice of cake can actually do an awful lot of good!
So what are some of the ways you can best help yourself in terms of nutrition and stress management?
Think of yourself as an athlete in training (well sort of!) and where possible put in the best quality nutrition you can.
Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods will give good sustained energy release. Organic foods where possible and plenty of fruit and vegetables will all help optimise what you are fuelling yourself with.
One easy and simple tip is to get hold of a juicer and make a juice a day to make sure you have a good range of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Make sure you are on a good prenatal supplement, if at all possible for 3 months prior to trying. The supplement should include Folic acid Omega oils and Vitamin D (though these last two are sometimes sold as separate supplements).
Finally reduce caffeine and alcohol and increase water levels. This will help flush out impurities and again raise energy levels.
Stress is an inevitable part of most people’s lives so please don’t stress about stress! Many people worry that they aren’t thinking positively enough when trying for a family but this can, ironically, actually add to stress levels.
Instead, be kind to yourself and especially when actually starting on treatment.
Acknowledge that stress is part of life but look proactively at how as an individual you can begin to help yourself.
One way to start this process is to look back at a stressful time in the past and to pinpoint the people and things that helped and why.
Look holistically at stress management and begin to write up a list of just what and who could help you at this time.
Then choose a few items and make sure they are a key part of your preconception care.
For example, many people find yoga, swimming or regular walks all help to physically unwind. For some, it may be booking in to see a few friends whilst for others allowing yourself time to retreat a little and nurture yourself at home.
The key point is that there is no ‘right’ way to do this just a way that works best for YOU. Plan ahead, treat yourself with the utmost care and then go for it!
We hope that the adventure of planning your family will soon then be swapped for the adventure of living as one!