Common Misconceptions for Preconception
Misconception #1: It is only the mother’s health that impacts pregnancy and birth outcomes
This may be the biggest misconception of all. Men are actually responsible for 20-30% of infertility and contribute to 50% of overall cases. In the past few years research has proven that the genes we inherit are either turned on or off and we can actually manipulate that switch with our diet, exercise, and environmental factors. We’ve also found:
Paternal exposure to certain chemicals have been linked to higher risk of cancer in children
If the father had poor diet prior to conception there’s an increased risk of metabolic disease and type 2 DM for the child later on in life
Fathers who are obese at the time of conception predispose their offspring to being overweight.
Research from 2018 links fathers age (therefore sperm quality and epigenetics) to pregnancy and birth outcomes. Fathers older than 45 increased their child’s risk by 14% to be born prematurely and with low birth weight. They also found that it increased the mother’s risk of developing gestational diabetes by 28%.
Misconception #2: Diet and supplements aren’t important until you’re pregnant I find that many women start scrambling to find a good supplement regimen, diet to follow and exercise routine to start doing after they get that BFP (big fat positive). When in reality certain nutrients are linked to positive impacts on fertility but also on pregnancy prior to falling pregnant.
Let’s talk about a few
Diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with improved fertility in both women and men
Trans fats, and sugar have been associated with poorer fertility outcomes in women and men
Folate is so important BEFORE getting your BFP since the neural tube closes around 4-6 weeks of pregnancy
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause changes in ovulation leading to defective implantation and can increase the risk of recurrent miscarriage
Omega-3 fatty acids help tame inflammation which can increase chances of conception
Vitamin D also plays a major role in hormone balance, fertility, follicle formation, translation of genes, and pregnancy outcomes and much more. Unfortunately, most women have suboptimal levels of vitamin D.
Misconception #4 Prenatal vitamins are enough
This is wildly inaccurate for the vast majority of women. 97% of pregnant women are taking a prenatal vitamin yet 95% of women are still depleted in key nutrients to optimize pregnancy. There are a myriad of reasons for this like poor diet quality, issues with gut health leading to suboptimal absorption of nutrients, choosing the wrong prentals, genetics, stress, and the list goes on.
Here are some other supplements and nutrients that I focus on with my clients
Vitamin D and omega 3’s are two big nutrients that don’t typically come in appropriate amounts from prenatals so I often recommend them separately
I almost always recommend Vitamin D as a combo supplement with vitamin K2
A probiotic can make a positive and significant impact on gut health
Choline is often overlooked, but so valuable. Choline is a big molecule and it takes up a lot of space so it’s one that a lot of prenatal companies cut to limit the amount of capsules.
*I always recommend my micronutrient testing before, during and after pregnancy so we aren't just guessing!
Remember, when preparing for a baby, instead of getting overwhelmed by the amount of information or recommendations out there, go back to the basics. The basics consist of stress management (#1 for fertility), optimizing sleep quality, moving your body daily, and properly nourishing your body with variety and high quality foods.