Pregnancy Prep & Gut HealthSep 16, 2020
You've cut back on alcohol and caffeine, you have your prenatal sorted (I just hope it doesn't contain folic acid?) and you're really making a conscious effort to eat a healthy diet.
Amazing! All of these are important 🙌🏼
Have you considered your gut health by any chance?
It's one of the most important things you can address during your preconception months.
Before we get into the details, I want to mention that in an ideal world, we should start preparing our body for pregnancy about 12 months before we want to try for a baby...BUT, I know this isn't the case for everyone and that's ok!
100 days however, should be the minimum...
Because it takes your egg 100 days to develop and make it all the way to the ovulation finish line!
That means that what you were eating and drinking 3 months ago is going to affect the quality of the egg you have today!
Now, if you've just swallowed hard because you don't have 4-12 months to prepare that's ok! Just do the best you can.
Please don’t let pregnancy-prep become another stress in your life. To stress about it is extremely counter-productive and will do you and your fertility more harm than good.
Ok back to gut health.
Let's look at why gut health is so important from 3 simple angles:
1. Nutrient absorption
If your GI tract isn’t functioning properly, it’s not going to be able to digest, absorb and utilize the nutrients from the food you’re eating.
This causes two problems:
First - If you're not getting the nutrients you need, your body won’t be functioning very well and one of the first things to suffer will be your hormones and your fertility 👎🏼
Second - You’re literally going to be growing a little person inside your womb... and that means YOU need to provide all of the required building blocks for vital organs, strong bones and a healthy brain – the entire baby!
If your gut isn’t working well, it’s highly likely you have vitamin and mineral deficiencies which means baby is going to miss out too.
2. Passing on Your Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is all of the living bacteria, fungi and yeasts in your gut. Sounds ultra weird I know! But, they are an incredibly important part of who you are!
In fact, your microbiome is involved in almost every aspect of your health, particularly your immunity.
During a normal vaginal birth, vital bacteria are passed on from mother to baby and this 'seeds' your babies microbiome.
This isn’t an accident! It’s a very important step in childbirth.
So, if you don’t have a healthy, balanced microbiome, then your baby is going to be passed on the same unhealthy, out of balance gut-bug situation and this can set her/him up for a weak immune system from day one.
Our microbiome is extremely, super important. It's not an exaggeration to say that this can affect your baby for the rest of their life.
3. Gut Health and Inflammation
In short, an unhealthy gut leads to widespread inflammation.
Inflammation of any kind is seen by your body as stress and this can lead to an imbalance in your nervous system called ‘sympathetic dominance’.
This basically means that your body gets stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode rather than being in ‘rest and digest’ mode.
When you’re in fight or flight mode, your body moves its resources from bodily functions that it doesn’t see as vital to your immediate survival.... Unfortunately, fertility is usually the first "non-vital" system to go, because you don’t need to be having a baby if you’re in danger!
The digestive system is another "non-vital" system that usually stops functioning properly when someone is inflamed....This causes more stress on the body and soon you’re stuck in a vicious cycle.
3 steps to better gut health
- Reduce your sugar intake because this feeds the 'wrong' kind of bacteria in your gut and allows them to crowd out the good bacteria.
- Introduce fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and natural (unsweetened) full fat yogurt. This will introduce friendly bacteria and help your own microbiome thrive.
- Eat slow-cooked meat on the bone such as lamb shanks or osso bucco. Or, add collagen into your smoothies, coffee and soups. This protein nourishes and repairs the lining of the gut.
Looking for some personal support with your current situation? I offer private one-on-one sessions and would love to hear from you.
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