By Anya Sizer, Fertility Support Co-ordianator at the London Women’s Clinic londonwomensclinic.com
The decision to start a family can be the start of an incredibly exciting adventure, but preparing yourself for conception is an issue which garners numerous opinions, thoughts and ideas.
Rather than trying to get everything ‘perfect’, I would recommend using the 80/20 rule right at the start. In other words, 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 during the other 20%.
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!
Here 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, take in the best quality nutrition you can.
Low Glycaemia Index (G.I) foods will give good sustained energy release, while organic foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables will all help optimise your nutritional intake.
One easy and simple tip is to get hold of a juicer and make a fresh juice every day. This will ensure that you have a good daily balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Another thing to remember is to make sure you are on a good prenatal supplement for three months prior to trying for a child. The supplement should include folic acid, omega oils and vitamin D (although these last two are often sold as separate supplements).
Finally, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and increase water levels. This will help flush out impurities and raise energy levels.
Stress is an inevitable part of most people’s lives so please don’t stress about stress! Many people worry that t
hey aren’t thinking positively enough when trying for a family, but this can actually add to stress levels. Instead, try to be kind to yourself and especially when starting on treatment.
Acknowledge that stress is part of life, but look proactively at how you can help yourself. One way to do this is to look back at a stressful time in the past and to identify the people and things that helped, and why.
Also, look holistically at stress management and write up a list of 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. Many people find that yoga, swimming or regular walks help to physically unwind. For others,
it may just seeing a few friends, or allowing yourself time to retreat a little and nurture yourself at home.
The point is that there is no right way to do this – just a way that works best for you, so plan ahead, treat yourself with the utmost care – and go for it! We hope that the adventure of planning your family will soon be replaced by the adventure of living as one!