Healthy Pregnancy
Natural Health Atlanta
Melissa Bennett, Naturopathic Doctor Melissa Bennett, Naturopathic Doctor

Getting Fit for Fertility

Why is it so important for a woman to get her body healthy prior to pregnancy?
Instead of waiting weeks until the woman knows she is pregnant and then starting with good nutrition, there should be good nutrition from the moment of conception and even months prior to conception. This is the perfect time to evaluate your health status by finding out what could be causing you not to feel 100 percent.

What is one of the most controllable factors in getting fit for fertility?
One of the most controllable factors is for the woman to act like she is pregnant even before she gets pregnant. Take a high-grade, multi-nutrient and eat foods with lots of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. Try to avoid alcohol and tobacco prior to getting pregnant, and don't wait until the child is in the womb before incorporating a healthy lifestyle. Give your baby a healthy start from day one.

How does a woman's weight affect her fertility?
An ideal body weight, a healthy weight with good nutrition increases fertility. Too much Adipose (fat) tissue can influence hormonal changes within the body.

Are there any dietary changes or adjustments a woman should make to increase her chances of getting pregnant?
In a word: antioxidants. During the second half of the monthly cycle, the ovary develops what is called a corpus luteum. This corpus luteum creates very high amounts of progesterone that help you become pregnant. Progesterone means "for pregnancy hormone." To make this increased progesterone, the body needs a lot of antioxidants to keep the tissue healthy, especially beta-carotene. So eat high beta-carotene foods like carrots, yams, pumpkins, winter squash and apricots.

What vitamins and/or supplements should women take in preparation for pregnancy?
The key to health is "hydration," so proper water intake is crucial for health. Also, purchase prenatal vitamins and place a sticker on the bottle that says "pre-conception" vitamins. Make sure your vitamins are from a whole food source and are not compromised by fillers, artificial colors or additives.

Are there any common mistakes that a woman may unknowingly be making that could decrease her fertility?
A common mistake is "getting ready" for pregnancy by quickly losing weight or starting an extreme exercise program. Starvation and over exercising can interfere with pregnancy – when the body is under stress, the tissues that control fertility can be adversely affected.

Is there anything a man can do to increase fertility?
Men should also take a "preconception" whole food multi-nutrient. Avoid excessive alcohol. Get enough sleep, as sleep deprivation will decrease sperm count. Other factors that decrease sperm count include obesity and hypothyroidism, frequent use of saunas or hot tubs, using your laptop on your lap for long periods of time, prolonged bicycling, over exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metal exposure and radiation or X–rays.

What are some simple things every couple can do to improve their health prior to pregnancy?
As a couple, take preconception multi-nutrients. Cut back on alcohol, and ideally eliminate it all together. Live a moderate, gentle lifestyle of healthy nutrition, adequate sleep and gentle, routine exercise. Preconception is not the time for extremes.

Natural Health Atlanta
5755 North Point Parkway, Suite 53
Alpharetta, GA 30022
(678) 892-6865
Fax (770) 609-8434

Melissa Bennett is a certified Traditional Naturopath through the American Naturopathic Certification Board. She is also board-certified in nutritional wellness, and is a member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants and the American Association of Christian Counselors. As a certified natural health practitioner, she is skilled in the Zollinger method of reflexology and specializes in counseling on an individual basis.