5 Reasons to Prepare for PregnancyJan 24, 2022
Meet your podcast host Nora DeBora. She shares her personal story on how she’s naturally preserving her fertility at 38-years old and why she became a Preconception Health Coach.
In today’s episode, you learn about five key reasons as to why it’s important for women (at any age) to properly prepare their bodies for pregnancy.
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Hello my friends.
I am so excited to be here, recording the first episode of the Ultimate Pregnancy Prep podcast.
In today's episode I'm going to share a bit about my story and journey along 5 key reasons why I think every woman should prepare their body for pregnancy in the first place.
My name is Nora DeBora. I’m a single 38 year old Entrepreneur who specializes in helping women and couples prepare their body for a successful pregnancy.
I have always wanted to be a mom, I grew up with 4 brothers, and when my youngest brother was born I claimed him as my own. He was 6 years younger than me and I DID EVERYTHING! From changing his diapers, to bathing him, helping feed him you name it, I happily did it. . And my mom was quite happy with this because there were already 4 of us little rug rats running the house.
I've always had a strong maternal instinct and caring for babies just seems to come easy and natural to me. But as fate would have it, there’s no babies for me yet, other than my fur baby business baby which I hear can be just as demanding as a human baby (well to some degree).
Either way, I know I’m not the only woman in this position. I'm talking about the position of having a baby later in life. Whether you’re focusing on your career or looking for the right life partner, this has become much more common today. So if you’re listening to this, and feel alone on your journey, please know there are many others of us out there.
When I was about 32, I had this gut feeling that a family would start later in life for me. So, I started diving into the research on preconception health and fertility. I thought, this is going to be easy! At the time I was already in the health and wellness space focusing on personal training clients, teaching yoga at studies and had a thriving nutrition practice out of my home that focused on optimizing gut health.
Because I already had the foundational knowledge I thought this process was going to be easy, but boy was I wrong!
I dove into the research and was so overwhelmed with how much contradicting information was out there.
This is when I made it my personal project. I began to sift and sort through all the information until I slowly started coming up with a strategy and a plan that I was committed to implementing for my body and future family.
I then had a lightbulb moment! I couldn't be the only woman in this position. The position of waiting longer to have a baby while also feeling confused and overwhelmed on how I could support my body to conceive naturally and do my best to avoid the expensive fertility treatments that seem to be the only option for women as we age.
Once I started to talk to more and more women about this, I realized how little women knew about their bodies, how their reproductive system worked and how to best support it for pregnancy as they moved into their 30’s and early 40’s.
That's when I decided to niche in this area. Supporting women and their reproductive health became my purpose and thats when my preconception health business was born.
I created this podcast so that you don't have to become an online search engine expert on all things fertility. My goal is to take the confusion, endless scrolling and anxiety producing activities off of your plate and provide you with a reliable, trusted source that you can go to for all your questions on how to properly prepare your body for pregnancy.
It is my passion to empower, educate and inspire you to be the healthiest version of yourself so that you can fulfill you dreams of becoming a mom one day
What I’ve learned so far with working with women and couples in this space are a few common themes.
Most women are not eating to support their menstrual cycle and hormones, they (we) don’t know how to properly balance their blood sugar, they (we) are overstressed and overworked creating systemic inflammation throughout the body and consequently, this creates a subfertile environment in their body.
I want to introduce this subfertile term up front, because its important to know the difference between subfertility and infertility. Think about fertility as being on a spectrum. You are either FERTILE or INFERTILE, and let me point out that only 5% of women are truly infertile.
In the middle of this spectrum, is this gray zone that is called subfertility, which essentially means that there is a delayed time to conception because the body is not in its optimal state to conceive.
As women, we are in a semi-continuous state of pregnancy every single month that is how our bodies have been designed. And this holds true if you are not on any hormonal contraceptives. Our bodies were designed to either get pregnant in a menstrual cycle or to get a period and start the process all over again.
So if pregnancy is not happening, its essential to look at the whole body and lifestyle factors to see what is out of balance. In addition to this, its just as important to look at sperm health as well because sperm is also 50% of the equation. More on sperm in upcoming episodes.
Once we take time to bring balance back to the body, you move the needle on the spectrum closer towards fertility.
So why prepare for pregnancy in the first place?
Typically, once a woman finds out she is pregnant, she will pick up the nutrition books, abide by all the rules and take great care of herself to care for her unborn baby.
There is arguably no other time in a woman's life where she will require as much energy and nutrition, as she does during pregnancy.
And, unfortunately, most modern advice for women planning for pregnancy doesn't provide much guidance beyond going off the pill and taking a prenatal vitamin.
Working with women for a few years now, I can tell you that you’ll never regret planning ahead and talking time to prepare your body for pregnancy up front.
Ideally, I recommend anywhere between 6-12 months of preparation, especially if you’ve been on hormonal contraceptives.
Reason #1 Give your baby the best shot of being a healthy adult
You and your partner hold within you the power to create a super baby with the healthiest organs, glands and tissues possible.
The status of your health now will affect everything, even your grandchildren's health.
This is possible through a phenomenon called epigenetics!
Epigenetics means Above the Gene! Epi means above!
This concept tells us that our environment plays a bigger role than our genetics and that we can change the status of our health for the better just by focusing on our environment. And when i say our environment, i'm talking about what we eat, how we manage our stress, the quality and type of exercise we do, how we regulate our nervous system, our sleep hygiene.
Think about epigenetics like the on and off switch of our DNA. When you create an optimal environment your disease switches are turned off and your healthy switches are turned on.
These switches were once thought to be permanently set but we now know they are actually capable of changing.
When I explain this to my clients, I have a little analogy that I like to use to help really paint a clear picture here.
I want you to think of your baby like a seed inside your ovary and your body as the soil that will nourish that seed. So if you think about a plant or a tree, what was in the soil that nourished that little tiny seed to take root and grow?
The nutrients in the soil will determine if that seed is able to grow and how healthy that seed will develop into a mature plant. This is the concept of epigenetics. You can change the health of that mature plant, just by optimizing the environment in the soil.
Reason #2 The second reason is to Improve quality of your eggs
At birth, we have an estimated 500,000- 1 million eggs that gradually deplete over time as we lose them during each menstrual cycle. Approximately 25k eggs remain at the age of 37, at which point our follicle count begins to decline more rapidly, leaving an average of around 1000 eggs at the time of menopause.
In addition to having fewer eggs, the quality of our eggs also decline contributing to higher rates of pregnancy loss and pregnancy complications.
But this doesn’t mean it's all doom and gloom. We can improve the health and quality of our eggs which means we can reduce our risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications.
Research now shows that the entire growth of an ovarian follicle can take up to 7-8 months before it is fully mature and released to be fertilized by a sperm.
This is important to remember because the quality of the egg you release during each menstrual cycle is going to be a reflection of your overall health and nutrient status during the previous 7-8 months.
This tells us we can use this time to improve our health and overall lifestyle to boost the quality of your eggs.
Reason #3 Build up your nutrient stores for a successful pregnancy and postpartum experience
If you think of your nutrient stores as a bank account, pregnancy and breastfeeding are two crucial periods of your life when you make massive withdrawals.
There will never be a scenario where you go through 9 months of pregnancy (followed by several months of breastfeeding) and have higher nutrient stores than you did going in.
Your baby steals all the nutrients from you to create its precious life, it doesnt care if it depletes you, the host, along the way.
Giving your body ample time to build up its nutrient stores before pregnancy provides you with the vital energy you’ll need during pregnancy. A lot of women can tell you that trimester 1 is no fun! It can be filled with nausea, morning sickness and extreme fatigue, leaving you horizontal in bed for days and not wanting to eat anything other than butter and toast or pizza because thats the only thing your stomach seems to keep down. By ramping up your nutrient stores before pregnancy, you can rest assured your body has all the ingredients to provide your growing baby with the nutrients it needs to grow.
Reason #4 Decreases your chances of miscarriage
Miscarriage is possible for any woman, no matter what age. A miscarriage is devastating and any woman who has had one knows the pain it can cause and the fear it can project into future pregnancies.
While we can’t pinpoint the exact reason for any miscarriage, we do know that by optimizing hormones and improving nutrient status (especially vitamin D, iron and B12 levels) can help minimize miscarriages and also pregnancy complications.
Reason #5 Save the bank
We are very lucky to be living in a time to have assisted reproductive technology, it has given so many people an opportunity to be parents, but this comes with a hefty price tag. The average success rate of any IVF cycle is 25-35% so there's not even a guarantee that you’ll have a live birth after your treatment. If fertility clinics are in your future, my biggest recommendation would be to get started with priming your body now. By doing this, you’ll increase your success rate of treatment by building a strong healthy body.
The research does show that by living an optimal preconception lifestyle, the chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby drastically improves and I’m excited to share how you can do this in upcoming episodes.
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