Pre-Conception Planning for a Healthy Pregnancy
By Sarah Shupe Hung L.Ac., Oct 22 2018 08:29PM
Have you noticed all those 3 month pre-pregnancy plans out there? Why is that?
For each ovulation the egg that’s released began it’s journey almost a year before it matures! This is the time required for a primordial follicle to develop and prepare for eventual ovulation through a process called folliculogenesis. The last 3-4 months before ovulation are particularly important. During this time the egg grows and matures in a resting follicle in your ovary, and eventually is released at ovulation. The latest scientific research suggests that the hormonal environment in the ovary during the maturation process may be crucial to the development of healthy eggs.
Why is this important? It means that what you do during this time can impact the quality of your egg. If your body is strong and in balance, it can improve your chances for a genetically normal egg and of conceiving a healthy baby.
Your Body out of Balance
How are things going in your body right now? Do you have regular menstrual cycles without cramps, PMS, or other discomforts? Do you feel stressed or have problems sleeping? Your body gives you a number of little clues to show you it’s out of balance. It’s easy to overlook these little things, but they are trying to tell you something isn’t right. A number of factors can impact your body and may effect the quality of your egg including:
poor blood flow
Luckily most of these can be changed with simple lifestyle modifications. When your body is healthy and balanced, it will give the follicle the best chance possible to create a healthy egg, which will ultimately lead to pregnancy and a healthy baby. Some things you can do right now to help are:
Nourishing Your Body to Create Balance
Get good sleep. Go to bed early enough to allow 9hrs of sleep a night. The goal is to wake up feeling rested. If you have problems sleeping then create healthy bedtime habits so you can get a good’s night rest.
Clean up your diet. Focus on lots of vegetables with good quality meats, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Also avoid greasy and processed foods.
Reduce stress. Add in mindfulness activities like yoga, medication, tai chi, even an evening walk around your neighborhood. Turn off screens at least 30 min before bed. Try to be aware of things in your life that cause you stress (reading the news, interacting with certain people either at work or social activities, a tv show or movie you’re watching, etc. ). Try to limit your exposure to those stressors.
Get regular exercise. This can reduce stress and increase blood flow. Find something you enjoy to do and listen to your body. If you feel like strenuous exercise is making you more stressed out, then switch up a day and do a long walk and/or stretching instead of a more vigorous workout.
Talk to a health professional. Nows a great time to schedule a pre-conception checkup and create a good relationship with an OBGYN you trust. There are also a number people out there that can help you reach your health goals. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. Many providers exist to help you on your journey including acupucnturists (of course), nutritionists, chiropractors, health coaches, massage therapists, psychotherapists, personal trainers, naturopaths, just to name a few.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Can Help
One thing I love about Chinese Medicine is that it’s purpose is to balance your body. There are acupuncture points and herbs that can increase blood flow to the uterus, regulate your menstrual cycle, reduce stress, promote restful sleep, and overall help you feel more balanced in your life. They can help you get in the best shape possible so you can have a healthy pregnancy.
If you are thinking about getting pregnant, the best time to start making some of the changes is right now. Remember that your egg starts its journey almost a year before it’s released from the ovary! Already trying to get pregnant? It’s never to late to make some lifestyle changes to improve your health and feel your best.
Sarah's Wellness Blog
Welcome to my blog
My name is Sarah Shupe Hung and I'm a licensed acupuncturist working in Northern Virginia. My goal with the blog is to bring you current information on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, as well as other health related topics like nutrition, meditation, and exercise. Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.