Pre-pregnancy cleansing

Becoming pregnant in a depleted and imbalanced state can be a contributing factor to infertility and complications during pregnancy.

Becoming pregnant in a depleted and imbalanced state can be a contributing factor to infertility and complications during pregnancy.

by Dr. Adrienne Stewart  — 

Preventative medicine has lifelong benefits. The earlier you invest in your health, the greater the returns you can expect throughout life. Imagine the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as a young child or even before you were born. That is why preconception care can be very healing, not only for the mother and father but also for the unborn child and future generations.

One aspect of preconception care is cleansing the body. Some common chemicals we are exposed to every day are toxins that disrupt the body’s natural processes. Over time, these toxins can accumulate in our bodies. Some people retain more toxins than others due to stress, specific nutrient deficiencies, high-sugar and low-protein diets, increased exposures, difficulty excreting waste and genetic differences, such as single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

While we cannot completely eliminate our exposure to toxins, it is possible to make a significant impact by limiting daily exposure. It is especially important for couples wanting to conceive to be proactive about cleansing. Many of these toxins disrupt hormone balances, which can affect fertility and delay conception. With some simple changes, you can improve your health and your family’s diet.

Healthy diet 

Some foods expose you to toxins, such as pesticides and other chemicals. It is important to buy all-natural, whole foods. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides two lists to help you buy produce. The Clean 15 is a list of produce you can consume liberally because they contain the least amount of pesticides. The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce you should buy organic because they contain the most pesticides.

One of the best ways to help the body eliminate toxins is to increase the amount of clean water in the diet. Just like the quote says, “The solution for pollution is dilution.” For women wanting to become pregnant, it is important to use glass bottles and containers instead of plastics and to avoid the epoxy linings inside metal food cans because they may contain hormone-disrupting Bisphenol A (BPA).

For extra detoxification, avoid sugar, eat more broccoli and other members of the Brassica family, and avoid fish with high mercury content, such as farmed or Atlantic salmon, shark, swordfish, tuna or sea bass. In addition, choose foods high in lean protein like wild, grass-fed, grass-finished meat that is free of hormones or antibiotics. Pea and rice protein are also great proteins for shakes and smoothies.

Healthy home 

Your home is another area where you may be exposed to toxins, from indoor air pollution to personal care products. Indoor toxins include cigarette smoke, chemicals that get tracked in on the bottom of your shoes, and off-gas from vinyl shower curtains, construction materials, new furniture, carpets and dry cleaning.

To clean up the indoor air quality, try HEPA air purifiers, air filters, indoor houseplants, taking off shoes, proper air duct cleaning and environmentally friendly construction materials — especially in the nursery.

Other hidden toxins are the chemicals used in cosmetics, cleaners, laundry soaps, air fresheners and other household products. Pay special attention to your personal-care products because they are applied directly to your skin. Avoid products with fragrances, dyes and parabens. Your local health food store will have natural cosmetics, shampoos and lotions. You also can check the quality of your current cosmetics in the EWG’s Skin Deep database. In addition, health food stores sell all-natural household products, such as laundry soap and multi-purpose cleaners.

Healthy body

Now that you have limited your daily exposure, you can take cleansing a step further by consulting an Environmental Medicine doctor. Specific tests for heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, parabens and others can help determine your body burden and the depth of cleansing needed.

Cleansing may include specific diet protocols, targeted supplementation with liver support and therapies such as sauna therapy, constitutional hydrotherapy, colon hydrotherapy or heavy metal chelation. Cleansing is safe before pregnancy but not recommended once a woman becomes pregnant.

Healthy mind and spirit

In addition to getting your body ready, getting your mind and spirit ready is just as essential for conception. Stress can create chemicals in the body that act like toxins and can fatigue the hormone system. Exercise, meditation and deep breathing are essential to reduce stress. These help put men and women in a more balanced and receptive mood for conception.

When getting ready for pregnancy, imagine a sacred place in which you would like to see your child growing and developing. Imagine this space as supportive, nutritive, relaxing and balanced. Realize that you can create this place for your child within yourself and your environment. Becoming pregnant in a depleted and imbalanced state can be a contributing factor to infertility and complications during pregnancy.

A healthy relationship with your partner and with your own body can be very empowering during this time period. Keep a journal to help you reflect, look towards the future and keep you motivated about your health.

Make a commitment not only to yourself but also to your partner and to your unborn baby to add wellness and balance into your life. You are worth it.

 

Dr. Adrienne Stewart is a naturopathic doctor who provides natural and effective treatment and prevention strategies for patients who are struggling with fatigue, hormone imbalances or poor digestion. She concentrates on fertility, preconception health and environmental medicine. www.myintegrativehealth.com or 480-657-0003.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 3, June/July 2013.

 

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