Dr. Lisa Polinsky, ND
It has become clearer over recent years that the health of parents directly affects the health of offspring. The year before conceiving is the ideal time for ‘preconception planning’. While rarely done in the past it seems prudent given our higher levels of chronic illness and increased toxicity in food, air and water. What we are learning is that simple positive steps will make a significant difference for baby for essentially their whole lifetime. Science is catching up with this in the realm of ‘epigenetics’ whereby nutrition, stress management and healthy lifestyle choices can alter genetic expression to help strengthen the health of offspring for even up to 3 generations.
We know that conception is an equal venture of DNA from each parent merging – fertility is a 50/50 venture. Male and female contribute equally and even though mom has the uterus and will maintain the pregnancy, it is recommended that both partners optimize their fertility fitness before conceiving.
For couples considering a pregnancy in the future its an ideal time for both partners to visit a naturopathic doctor and establish some basic supplements as a routine. Vitamin B’s, and fish oils for example have a significant impact on baby health and reduction of allergies and genetic anomalies. Well-known is the benefit of folic acid. Depending on family history other preventative measures or testing may be recommended.
Cleanse or detox for both partners is also ideal prior to conception. For men, it takes 4 months to complete production of sperm so 6 months ahead is an ideal time to ‘lighten’ up, perhaps focus on lifestyle choices and enhance diet.
Should conception become an issue and fertility concerns arise it is always important for both partners to seek treatment. Male fertility issues such as low sperm count, low motility or high abnormal sperm counts can be just as impactful to the outcome as a women’s menstrual irregularities, thyroid hypofunction or other reasons. Considering all parties and the health of all is the best way to see a positive outcome.
Naturopathic doctors are ideal practitioners for assisting families in preconception planning, as well as walking through fertility challenges. The doctors at Sage Clinic are all excited about the possibilities that this focus in practice presents – working with the ‘preconception’ phase is truly preventative health at its best!
For further reading about how lifestyle affects genetic expression: