Childbirth Begins Before Conception
It starts with the soil God gives us and the wisdom we’ve obtained to nurture it. Once the seed is planted, there’s only so much that weather patterns, watering, fertilizing, and weeding can do for your plants. Pregnancy and birth are no different and when we have time to amend our soil, we should choose to be proactive… to change lifestyle and food habits… to reduce stress… to strengthen relationships… to heal between births.
Our pregnancy journey doesn’t start at conception. Prenatal health begins with our grandmother. You, as a woman, were an egg inside your mother when she was being created inside her mother (your grandmother). The choices you make (particularly the food and stress) not only affect your pregnancy, but your grandchildren’s as well (especially if you’re growing a baby girl). Your fertility was largely influenced in your grandmother’s womb, during the year before your mother conceived you, and in the years prior to your menarche (likely when you didn’t have much say in what was happening in your life).
The way we can largely influence our pregnancy starts when the eggs and sperm are maturing, 3-12 months prior to conception. For the health of our children and to prevent complications in pregnancy, birth and postpartum, men and women need to start at least a year prior to conception to optimize health for pregnancy. After conception, the only thing we can do is support the mother’s physiology with her current state of well-being, and her body’s reaction to her baby’s genetics that have already been created. Most complications of pregnancy and birth can be traced back to the health of the mother and father prior to conception, and this really boils down to nutrition and stress management.
Reduce your busyness and start practicing relaxation techniques that help you manage your stress response. Optimize your cycle balance, hormones, and thyroid health and start focusing on a whole, real-food, balanced diet. Be sure you’re walking 3-5 miles on most days and get your body aligned.
Now is the time to begin prenatal supplements as the first trimester is usually too late.
EARLY PREGNANCY – 0-14 Wks
Your baby brought most of their health with them. Not many foods or supplements after conception are going to improve baby’s health (and some can hurt them). Focus on rest, bone/skin/cartilage broth, foods rich in Vitamins A & C, hydration and electrolytes, and learn to listen to your body’s communication for food, rest and support.
MID PREGNANCY – 14-24 Wks
Now your body is building blood volume, nourishing baby’s growth, and maintaining relaxed health. The balance in blanched dark leafy greens, liver and organ meat, eggs, fish, iron-rich foods, broth, and a rainbow of fruits and veggies balance blood sugar, prevent swelling, and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
LATE PREGNANCY – 24-34 Wks
Now you need more healthy fats from avocados, fatty fish, and whole meats (including liver and organs) as well as yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and magnesium-rich foods to start creating the hormones needed for cervical changes and for the uterus to respond to oxytocin so this muscle does its job in birth and postpartum.
PRE-LABOR – 34+ Wks
Labor hormones have started, but your body continues strengthening for the hard work of the immune system. With other balanced foods, also eat plenty of antioxidant-rich and healthy carbohydrates like fruit such as dates, bananas, oranges, and sweet potatoes. Enjoy these last weeks building oxytocin with joy!
Your body is in a cold state and needs warmed with nourishing traditional foods like broth-rich stews and soups, and plenty of rest. Tell your birth story! Your mind heals the body when you share your journey and process this transformation.
Pregnancy is a demanding time for optimal nutrition; supplements or herbal labor preps just aren’t enough. We need to start at the foundation with whole nutrient-dense foods in pre-conception and throughout mid-pregnancy when the significant part of a healthy pregnancy and labor are being created. A functional healthy pregnancy is enjoyable and positively influences generations.
If you're looking for support to optimize your fertility and wellness journey including functional lab tests, GI Mapping, DUTCH Hormone testing, microbial cleansing before conception, reach out at MOV Birth.