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Pregnancy Protocol
Conception Apr 13, 2021
7 Minutes

Preparing your body for pregnancy: the protocol…

We speak to Dr Hillary Fredrickson founder of Cultivate Fertility: she is a naturopathic doctor and Integrative Paediatrics practice specialist and has been working with families for 16yrs. Her main focus is working with women who are #ttc and who are striving for healthy families. She believes if you create healthy ‘soil’ you can grow healthy babies. Their aim is to provide women with the tools and know-how to do this. 

For the full podcast conversation click here – or read on for some of the highlights: 

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Our belief: if we treat people with good healthy whole food, probiotics, vitamins, if we promote happiness and mental health as well as basic things like kids playing outside and in the dirt. It actually works. The earlier we start the better. 

We see it in our paediatrics practice: despite the bigger picture trends going on, we have seen some really positive outcomes. We see low rates of ASD, lower rates of ADD and low rates of infection. I can’t remember the last patient we needed to give steroids for asthma…

Infertility is on the rise in a scary way. I feel so passionate about women starting early to prepare their bodies: 

We believe in being proactive when it comes to fertility and having kids. What we’ve seen is that if you get your body prepared for pregnancy earlier we see a difference in ability to get pregnant, to have a healthy pregnancy and to have healthy babies. 

Creating the healthiest soil possible to grow a healthy baby: 

We have boiled down our work to six principals.

One of the things that has jumped out to us the most – particularly given COVID – is the need to keep the body stress hormones balanced. It is foundational.

If we grow babies in an environment where the stress hormones are more balanced, where our nervous systems are not ‘running from the bear’ it has a fantastic benefit for mom and baby. 

Of course it’s not easy work. Being told to ‘relax’ simply doesn’t work…

Staying relaxed takes practice and it takes community. Infertility is lonely and it can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re sitting up at night Googling things. Male partners aren’t always the best to lean on so finding a supportive community is so important. It can even be as simple as having someone you can lean on and talk to really helps. We call it ‘soothe’. We also weave in things like acupuncture and aspects of Chinese medicine. We believe that a woman who is empowered, who feels in control is in a much better position. 

Hydration: I see so many patients who are ‘sub hydrated’: 

This doesn’t show up on testing per se, and it is often overlooked. However we believe it can make a real difference. It’s generally a result of a chronic under taking of water. The issue is that water and hydration is needed to drive biochemical processes on a daily level. This can be caused by many things including caffeine/alcohol consumption, over exercising or taking in too much food that isn’t really water based. 

Symptoms often include: 

I have patients that say they feel generalised symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, low grade headaches, PMS. A lot of times if I get them drinking enough and using an electrolyte (so it functions in the body well) it makes a big difference to these nebulous complaints. 

For a woman who is about to get pregnant and double her blood volume you need hydration: 

Not only will your blood volume double during pregnancy but you need good blood flow to the reproductive organs. We want the eggs super ‘juicy’ and getting a lot of the nutrients. In a sub hydrated woman that is just not necessarily happening. It is also commonly overlooked. 

The ideal water consumption looks like:  

In a day want half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water. For context a glass of water is roughly 8oz. If you’re drinking a couple of caffeinated drinks/any alcohol you need to add an extra glass for what you’re consuming. The same goes for any kind of sugary drink or a hard work out. We want ‘straw’ coloured urine. 

Electrolytes: 

Electrolytes can be a great way of helping the body use and absorb water better. I certainly don’t recommend things like Gatorade but there are some good natural products. Coconut water, bone broth is great. We have a whole section on how to make this on our site. Including a vegetarian version. Click here for more. 

Circulation: How can we bring blood flood black to your reproductive organs? 

One thing science has shown is that when you’re operating under stress, blood flow is shunted from your reproductive hormones and into your extremities. It is the ‘running from the bear’ analogy for ‘fight or flight’. All your stress hormones charge to get your body to run. Unfortunately in our modern society our bodies are always ‘running from the bear’. Which means our reproductive organs are not getting the blood flow that they should. This is a big part we work on. This is for great implantation, for great egg drop, for great hormone balance. 

An easy way to do it at home: second Chakra hydrotherapy (easier than it sounds!) 

The second chakra is the reproductive area. It’s right over your uterus and ovaries. One way we improve blood flow is by using water to alternate hot and cold. If you put heat on something you get vasodilation (the area starts to warm up), if you put cold on you get vasoconstriction (you reduce inflammation). The practise of alternating hot/cold helps promote blood flow/constriction. Click here for more to learn to do it at home. 

Nourish: we have to talk about food: all about Essential Fatty Acids: 

The research clearly points to the Mediterranean diet as the best for fertility. Click here for more. Many of our patients are deficient in omega/essential fats like DHA. Particularly in the US and the West.

It’s crucial for hormonal balance, mood and even neurological development in babies. Its great as a supplement but even better if it can come from foods. Think things like Anchovies/Sardines. We have a super easy to make anchovy dressing that even my kids love. Click here for more.

Vegan sources: hemp, chia, walnuts are great ways to get more in your diet.

Women need to be really piling it on going into baby making….

Prevent: how can we prevent exposure to toxins in a stress free way! 

Avoiding Glyphosate (a Pesticide) a big one. Organic, plus using the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen list to make smarter decisions about where we focus our resources to best avoid toxins. 

Then its simple things like awareness: what impacts our hormones? Things like air fresheners, scented candles, fragrance in beauty products etc. Click here for more

It doesn’t have to be stressful – that isn’t what we want. It is just about making small incremental, approachable and positive changes. Like buying house plants, taking off outdoor shoes inside, being aware of beauty product ingredients. 

Check out the Cultivate Fertility hand out how to do this. 

Protect: there are some supplements that women on a fertility journey do need: 

Once again it’s all about awareness and quality. The basics of what you should have in your prenatal. 

Probiotics: food and supplement. It impacts gut and immune health plus neurological health and mood. Plus you have a reproductive microbiome. 

Eczema, asthma and allergies in children can also help immune regulation. Let your kids go play in the dirt. Being around microorganisms is protective. Unfortunately given COVID its tricky currently (!) but it will swing back again at some point. 

Essential Fats: DHA plus EPA as we discussed. Baby brain, neurological and eyes. Plus huge impact on mother’s hormones and even mood. Click here for more. 

Vitamin D: impacts all aspects from reproduction, to hormonal (it is a hormone) and immunity. Despite living in California we rarely see anyone who has adequate levels in the blood without supplementation. Particularly during COVID. It too impacts mood and getting enough can even reduce things like brain fog. Click here for more. 

Iron, Choline and Iodine (ideally in a good prenatal supplement). Choline isn’t in many prenatal vitamins but is important for brain health and development. There is mounting research around its importance. Natural sources include eggs and mushrooms for example. Ideally having it early on. Click here for more. 

Folate: so many prenatal have ‘dirty folate’ in the form of folic acid which is the synthetic form of folate which some people cannot process. It is crucial for neural tube development. Click here for more. 

Iron: your blood volume during pregnancy doubles and it is crucial for a baby’s brain. Our plant based diets can make it more challenging to get enough. Get your Ferritin checked (this is measure of iron stores). Plus b12 for absorption. Click here for more. 

We are seeing so much more chronic disease in children but we think a proactive approach can reduce this: 

Eczema, asthma, allergies, sensory disorders, ADHD and ASD we know are all massively on the rise. However we believe if you lay healthy foundations you reduce the chances of these impacting. It is never too late to start! 

To hear more from Hilary at Cultivate Fertility click here for their instagram. 

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This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

 

 

 

 

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