Advice on Conceiving, Pregnancy, and Post Pregnancy

Genetically it can be argued that the drive to reproduce is one that is difficult to resist.
To reproduce in the healthiest way possible to give the offspring the best start in life
is probably the best gift that can be given to anyone.

The whole process of pregnancy can be divided into 3 distinct sections; preconception, pregnancy and the lactation stage. However before we can get to conception it is important to take a look at the every increasing problem of infertility.

Before we can look at nutrition during pregnancy it is important to be aware that infertility to some degree affects a large number of couples. There are several known causes that contribute to this situation; here we address the main nutritional factors involved. Where there is no obvious infertility due to low male sperm count or with the woman releasing eggs, the following information identifies areas of dietary and nutritional factors that may improve a couple's fertility.

In couples where either partner is overweight or for that matter underweight, and where there is a failure to become pregnant after a year of normal intercourse they should consider improving their diet to obtain the normal weight for their height. This should be achieved through a combination of good wholesome nutritious foodstuffs and sensible exercise. If good wholesome nutritious foodstuffs is not possible, meal replacements like Positrim will help. However, be careful not to use it like any other "crash" weight loss programs such as use of bulking foodstuffs. Where weight is a factor, the research indicates that infertility is equally divided between males and females. An overweight female can experience problems in releasing eggs from the ovaries (ovulation), which can account for approximately 10% of infertility in women. For the male, other factors contribute to the failure of the sperm to fertilise the egg due to inadequate weight control. There are standard age/weight ratios known, and these should be consulted. For those couples who live a full and busy life, gymnasia exercise and other extreme exertion exercise sports are inappropriate with the possible exception of walking machines. The build-up of muscle in exercise, coupled with the reduction of fatty tissues is best commenced as a gentle process of brisk walking periods of 20 minutes' duration once or twice daily rather than the sudden exertion periods that other forms of exercise cause.

Supplementation Factors
Folic acid: Many women become infertile due to folic acid (folate) deficiency.
Disorders of the lining of the small intestine adversely affect the absorption of folate.
Government recommendations are for 400mcg to be taken before and during the early stages of pregnancy.
Vitamin B6: Supplementation has been demonstrated to be beneficial in cases of female infertility (particularly amenorrhoea - infrequent menstrual periods). One of the activities of Vitamin B6 is to raise levels of progesterone (female hormone), which is known to be necessary to maintain the uterine lining where the growth of the fertilised egg takes place. However, high doses of Vitamin B6 have been demonstrated to be unhelpful. More than 50mg daily without professional advice from an suitably qualified practitioner is ill-advised.
Vitamin B12: Deficiency of Vitamin B12 has been demonstrated to reduce fertility and even cause infertility in both males and females. Supplementation has been demonstrated to restore fertility.
Vitamin E: Inadequate intake of Vitamin E has been linked with reproductive and sexual dysfunction. Sperm production and infertility are identified with males deficient in Vitamin E.
Zinc: supplementation increases sperm count, blood testosterone levels and levels of other male hormones. Zinc status, is most important for both male and female, as Zinc deficiencies in female have also been linked to underweight babies. It is of interest to note that the placenta contains a very high proportion of zinc indeed, which has a beneficial involvement with many metabolic processes.
Magnesium: is needed throughout the body in many enzyme processes. Pregnancy will aggravate any deficiency already present and such a deficiency will contribute towards painful uterine contractions at the end of pregnancy. A low magnesium level in the body may also be associated with miscarriage or premature birth.
Oxidants and Anti-Oxidants
Oxidants are very damaging to health. Oxidants are oxygen-free radicals, which are highly reactive substances found in air pollution, rancid foodstuffs and foods. They are also produced in the body as by-products of nutritional imbalance where they can damage cell membranes which results in tissue destruction. The process whereby these unstable and highly reactive molecules arises is due to the loss of an electron that keeps them stable. The free radical then searches for a replacement electron; however, they are indiscriminate attacking and destroying other healthy cells which then sets up a chain reaction. Several commercial foodstuffs, among them margarines and low fat spreads are implicated in this process and therefore should be avoided; they damage sperm and can lead to infertility. Anti-Oxidants are substances found in food and are defensive in both tissue and fluid where they combat oxidant activity provided the dietary intake is sufficient. Key anti-oxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, bioflavonoids, selenium and zinc. Green leafy vegetables, together with cauliflower, carrots and garlic all offer sources as powerful as anti-oxidants. It should be noted that they should be lightly cooked or preferably eaten raw to attain the highest levels of the nutrients. The darker green leaves offer the higher antioxidant values, and the deeper orange in colour the carrots, the better. Organic food sources offer far better anti-oxidant activity than the commercially grown sources.

Other factors:
Caffeine increases the difficulty of becoming pregnant for couples, whether in the form of coffee, tea, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate or other foodstuffs. Take decaffeinated coffee such as Premium Gold to help you with your occasional cravings.
Alcohol should be eliminated during the period of preconception. For the male, alcohol presents the body with a specific reproductive tract toxin which impairs sperm fertility. A period of abstinence will often facilitate partial recovery of male sperm fertility. With the woman, alcohol reduces fertility due to the body's release of a hormone known as prolactin, which also contributes to menstrual cycle dysfunction.
It is true that a glass of good quality wine occasionally can be beneficial as a source
of valuable minerals, however, if difficulties are experienced during the preconception period, then abstinence would be advisable.
Smoking has been shown to contribute to pre-conception difficulties to a significant level with couples experiencing infertility problems. Therefore, this habit should be discontinued.
Generic Drugs Treatment for infertility by the use of drugs is undesirable as a first consideration, as the side effects reduce nutrient uptake from the diet and the drugs are not without side effects. Several disease processes can affect fertility; two of the common ones are those who suffer from the distressing coeliac condition, which is known to contribute to infertility problems. This condition is due to the sufferer's failure to metabolise gluten in the gut. Chlamydia, often dormant for many years, has been also known to contribute to infertility, and it is advisable to have a check-up to see if this infection is present. Other contributing factors such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and diseases of the gut have also been found to contribute. Antacids used to reduce stomach acid, together with antihistamines, may cause folic acid deficiency, which is essential for normal healthy pregnancy. Finally, it has been shown that the taking of marijuana is significantly more dangerous than tobacco; it reduces sperm count, and lowers blood testosterone (male hormone).

This is arguably the most important part of the process as it is the time during which the mother and father to be, prepare both their bodies and minds to the forthcoming pregnancy, so that they can be as healthy and ready as possible for the new life.
To give you the best chance of producing a healthy baby you will need to prepare your bodies as far in advance as possible. Ideally start to prepare 6 months before you plan to conceive, but at least 3 months, as it is during this period that the sperm and ova commence their maturation process. During these processes both are extremely vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies and toxins. Therefore as well as improving the nutritional intake of the diet it is also important to reduce any toxic load in the body, which is best done in the first 3 months of preconception planning.
The second three months are a time for maintaining good health and building up the nutritional reserves in the body to be able to support the new life.
It is vital that both the man and woman take care to improve their diet and overall health particularly in this stage to ensure that their sperm and ova are as healthy as possible before conception occurs.

If either the contraceptive pill or the coil have been used as contraceptive methods then their negative effects need to be balanced before conception. Both these methods tend to raise copper levels in the female body and lower zinc levels. In addition the pill also tends to raise vitamin A levels but lower vitamin B and vitamin C levels. As well as trying to make sure you take in all the helpful nutrients and lifestyle changes there are also some things to avoid, particularly during pregnancy and preconception:
Heavy Metals
As well as the essential minerals such as zinc and magnesium, there are also undesirable minerals called heavy metals which our bodies are regularly exposed too. The four primary heavy metals are: Mercury, Lead, Aluminium and Cadmium. All of these are toxic to the body and have been linked to infertility problems, miscarriages, premature births, malformed and underweight babies. Therefore it is important to try and avoid them and get them out of the body as quickly as possible. Although dental treatment is free on the NHS during pregnancy it is not advisable to have any amalgam fillings put in or removed during this time as this will expose both you and your baby’s body to an increased level of toxic mercury, which is a major component of amalgam. Aluminium enters the diet via pots and pans, foil, tap water, salts and many antiperspirants. We breathe lead from car polluted air, and absorb it from paints, tinned foods and tap water. Tobacco smoke contains cadmium and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream of both the active and passive smoker. There are some heavy metals that are essential to the body in tiny amounts, but which are toxic at high concentrations. One of these is copper. Copper is more prolific now than it has been before as our water is delivered to us through copper pipes and we often wear copper or brass accessories. Copper compounds are mixed into swimming pools to keep them clean and hair dyes often also contain it. However the most common reason for copper contamination is from contraception. Both the coil and the pill raise copper levels to the extent that even after you stop using them without the proper restorative action your body can still remain contaminated. Fluoride has been shown to poison a comprehensive range of enzymes, and may be involved with other health concerns too. Therefore it is best to avoid fluoridated water and fluoride toothpaste particularly during this stage of life.
Bacteria and the Immune System
The principle defence system of the body is the immune system. Throughout life you will find that the stronger the immune system, the healthier you will be. Naturally during pregnancy and preparation for pregnancy you want to keep as healthy as possible so that you can also pass on a healthy immune system to your offspring. When a child is born it has no bacteria, good or bad in its digestive tract, but within a short space of time this situation changes and the gut is soon teeming with billions of bacteria, both those essential to our well-being and others not so useful. It is therefore important to give your baby’s friendly bacteria the best start to life by making sure that the mother’s gut has a good balance of helpful bacteria during the pregnancy and while breast feeding.
The best way of ensuring a good bacterial colony in your gut is to supplement your diet with an active probiotics supplement and if desired friendly bacteria food such as inulin or Fructo-oligo saccharides that have been found helpful in supporting the selective growth of the friendly bacteria. Supplemental probiotics (friendly bacteria) are particularly helpful following a course of antibiotics or after any “tummy” upset. A good probiotic will not need to be taken everyday forever as the bacteria once established in the gut if fed a healthy diet will quite happily proliferate on their own, however whenever a need arises boost your probiotics supply and it will make the world of difference to not only the health of your digestive system but also to your immune system and whole body.
Disease causing bacteria
Whether you have had rubella (German measles) or not, go to your practitioner for a test to confirm your immunity. Catching rubella while pregnant would very likely harm your baby. It is always a good idea to discuss any concerns regarding any illnesses, or medication that you are on with your practitioner as well. Some medicines may alter your fertility, and x-rays are known to adversely affect reproductive health too. It is also a good idea for both partners to be tested for genitourinary diseases to make sure that everything is working well. Everyday we are under attack from environmental bacteria or toxins, as such you may need to take extra care while preparing to carry a new life. Certain bacteria such as some found in the soil and some found on dirty cat litter can be quite damaging to the developing foetus and so it is important to avoid contact with these sources. Simply wearing rubber gloves will help if you want to continue gardening while pregnant.


1) Exercise is an excellent way to prepare your body for the exertion of pregnancy. Practice daily physical activity and incorporate physical activities that offer both:
Cardiovascular health benefits, like walking for 30 minutes.
Bone density and muscle mass benefits, like strengthening exercises or weight training.

2) Healthy eating requires an understanding of both healthy food choices.
Variety can be found in foods that are fresh or minimally processed and nutrient-rich, such as whole foods and vegetables that are raw or lightly cooked; whole, unprocessed grains such as brown rice, whole-grain breads and pastas, oatmeal and barley; lean proteins: tofu, eggs, poultry, lean meats, fish, beans, lentils, chick peas and soy; low-fat dairy: milk, yoghurt and cheese; mono-unsaturated fats: olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds; omega-3 fatty acids: flaxseed, walnuts, oils from high omega-seeds and nuts, and coldwater fish like salmon.
If taking a balanced healthy food is a challenge, consider taking supplements from Nutrilite.

3) Drink more. Increase the amount of pure, clean water, as water taken in, to approximately 2.5 litres per day.

4) Stop risky habits such as smoking, and drinking alcohol, reduce or preferably eliminate caffeine intake.

5) Removal of toxins as many as possible out of the body is as important as avoiding putting toxins into the body in the preconception phase. The following supplements and foods are particularly helpful in removing toxins from the body which will improve health.
Supplements like Vitamin C and Zinc are both helpful in reducing cadmium levels, which is particularly helpful for detoxifying a person’s body especially smokers and passive smokers.
Zinc, Calcium, Iron Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2 taken together with the Vitamin B Complex can help protect against lead toxicity.
Selenium is particularly helpful at reducing mercury levels in the body
Beta carotene helps in general detoxification by helping to activate necessary enzymes.
Chromium and Manganese are also protective against heavy metal toxins.
The essential fatty acids found within flaxseed (linseed) and evening primrose oils are very helpful in helping the body build healthy cells.
Foods like yoghurt, garlic (particularly raw), onions, bananas, apples and pears help to decrease the absorption of toxins and remove them from the body in part because of the natural pectins that they contain.

6) Increasing the vitamin and mineral content of the diet as well as improving the freshness of the diet and reducing the processed components is a good idea to add supplemental nutritional support as well if you are not already doing so. If desired to support the diet, both future parents may wish to take: 1 Comprehensive Multivitamin and mineral daily, 1 Antioxidant daily. Restore probiotics to help support the friendly bacteria in the gut which are the foundation of health.

Specifically the mother-to-be may want to take a complete set of the following supplements. Choosing pregnancy vitamins can be an overwhelming choice for expectant mothers. NUTRILITE provides the guidance that you need to make the right choice for your baby.

1)    NUTRILITE Iron and Folic Acid
•    Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in the foetus.
•    Iron helps in the formation of red blood cells and prevention of iron anaemia.
•    Recommended for those who has iron anaemia and especially important for women planning to conceive and also during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
•    Iron absorption is boosted by supplementing with Vitamin C.
•    Consumption of coffee or tea can inhibit iron absorption.
•    One NUTRILOCK coated tablet provides 10 mg of ferrous fumarate and ferrous gluconate, two well-tolerated and easily absorbed forms of iron; and 0.133 mg of folate.
•    Suggested Use : Take 1-2 tablets with meals. Maximum two tablets daily.
2)    NUTRILITE Natural B Complex
•    Naturally derived from cultured, deactivated yeast
•    One tablet provides 7 B vitamins - B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, and B12; plus inositol and PABA (para-amino-benzoic-acid), that all adult men and women need.
•    Water-soluble B-complex vitamins assist in the release of energy from fats, carbohydrates and proteins, to meet added energy needs brought on by stressful living.
•    Helps promote healthy skin, nails and hair.
•    Essential for the development of red blood cells.
•    Alcohol, smoking, caffeine, dieting and the use of birth control pills can deplete the body of B-vitamins
•    EPO PLUS provides nutritional support for a woman's wellbeing during her menstrual cycle.
•    Contains a unique blend of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from the oils of Evening Primrose and Borage to help alleviate symptoms associated with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
•    Chasteberry, Evening Primrose, Borage Oil and have been used traditionally to help regulate women's hormone level, thus increasing chances of fertility and conception, and reducing PMS symptoms.
•    Dong Quai, a traditional Chinese herb (or known as "female ginseng") has been used for balancing effect on female hormonal system and relieving short-term discomfort.
•    Ginger has calming effects on gastrointestinal system helpful in relieving mild nausea and general symptoms of PMS.
•    Citrus Bioflavonoids is added to provide antioxidant protection against free radicals.
•    Extract is standardised to provide consistency and quality of the active compounds.
•    One softgel provides 125mg of Evening Primrose Oil, 125mg of Borage Oil, 50mg of Ginger extract, 25mg of Chasteberry extract, 20mg of Dong Quai extract, plus Citrus Bioflavonoids.
•    Take 1-4 softgels daily, preferably with meals.
•    NUTRILITE bestseller.
4)    NUTRILITE Nutri Fibre Blend
•    A simple, easier to swallow solution to meeting your recommended daily fibre intake.
•    Contains both soluble and insoluble fibres from 13 natural sources in chewable form.
•    Inclusive of prebiotic fibres i.e. FOS (fructooligasaccharides).
•    Contributes to your daily recommended allowance of fibre.
•    Insoluble fibre helps regulate bowel movement.
•    Soluble fibre helps add bulk to food and increases the feeling of fullness. It also binds with fatty acids and excretes them from the body.
•    FOS support intestinal health by helping the good bacteria in the gut to flourish.
•    Suitable for adults, and children above the age of 5 to fill the fibre gaps in their diet.
•    Safe for preconceiving women.
•    Each tablet provides 1.7g of dietary fibre.
5)    POSITRIM Nutritional Drink
•    A convenient and nutritious meal replacement choice for weight management.
•    It contains 12 essential vitamins, 12 minerals, 7g protein, and 3g of dietary fibre per packet. Conveniently packaged in sealed sachets, it provides a quick breakfast or lunch, which is particularly important if you have to go to work or travel or in a hurry.
•    This is a nutritionally sound meal for weight control consisting of flavoured nonfat milk powder sweeteened with fructose that provides a healthful balance of carbohydrates, high-quality protein and fat.
•    Cutting calories often means cutting important nutrition. It is hard to get all the nutrition you need if you are skipping meals, eating smaller portions, or only particular foods.
•    The Positrim takes the guesswork out of eating right. Its great taste makes controlling weight easier and more enjoyable.
•    Suggested Use : Add contents of packet into a 250ml glass of cold skimmed, whole or reconstituted powdered milk. Stir until completely dissolved.
•    Flavor: Chocolate / Vanilla
6)    NUTRILITE Daily Multivitamin and Multimineral
•    One tablet a day gives you 11 essential vitamins (A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, folic acid, vitamins B12, C, D, E and pantothenic acid).
•    Plus, 7 essential minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iodine, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc) and the exclusive NUTRILITE Alfalfa, Watercress, Parsley, Spinach, Carrots and Acerola Cherry Concentrates.
•    NUTRILOCK coating locks in the freshness, making it easier to swallow.
•    NUTRILITE bestseller.
7)    NUTRILITE Salmon Omega-3
•    One softgel provides 300 mg of omega-3 essential fatty acids (180 mg of EPA, 120 mg of DHA), plus vitamin E (30 IU of d-alpha Tocopherol).
•    Extracted from salmon harvested from the deep, cold waters.
•    Each softgel is made from edible bovine gelatin, which is certified ‘halal’.
•    Specially needed for women who are pregnant or thinking about having a baby because Omega-3 makes up the membranes of every cell in the body.
•    Researches indicate that a good number of the DHA and omega-3 consumed by a developing fetus are taken directly from the mothers stores of these crucial fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are also crucial for expecting mothers because of their impact in numerous areas of health.
•    NUTRILITE bestseller.

1.    A nation’s woes of fat. Topic: Obesity. nutriWEB Malaysia; http://nutriweb.org.my
2.    NHI Weight Management Philosophy 2005; Nutrilite Health Institute.
3.    Bradley, S.G. and Bennett N. 1995. Preparation for pregnancy. Argyll Publishing.
4.    The British Medical Association Complete Family Health Encyclopaedia. 1990 CLB


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