What is Preconception Health Care? (PCHC)
GIVING YOUR BABY THE BEST POSSIBLE START IN LIFE!!
PCHC refers to optimising your health and addressing health issues before you become pregnant in order to keep you, your partner and your baby as healthy as possible. Research is emerging that what happens in the first nine months may influence your child’s health for the rest of its life. Foetal exposure to stress, toxins, under nutrition and obesity has been shown to play a role in the development of many common chronic diseases. Being prepared and ensuring you and your partner are in the best health possible, can positively influence your child’s health and quality of life for years to come.
How long do we need to practice PCHC?
Sperm formation takes approximately 116 days and ova (or eggs) are susceptible to damage for 100 days before ovulation, PCHC for both partners needs to be in place for a minimum period of four months immediately preceding any attempt to conceive.
What is the most important aspect of PCHC?
Probably the most important aspect is that it involves both partners equally. An egg and sperm contribute an equal amount of genetic material to a pregnancy and the best outcomes require a focus on both parties. As couples prepare for pregnancy, the spotlight often falls on the mother to be however, there are some important facts you should know:
- Research has shown that normal sperm parameters have decreased by almost 50% since 1930.
- Sperm analysis should only ever be used as an overall guide of how the sperm is looking. It does not tell us how healthy the sperm is.
- Did you know that up to 50% of a couple’s fertility problems, including miscarriage may be traced to the male. The majority of cases are due to poor sperm quality and often reflects poor health, poor nutrition, poor lifestyle choices and environmental toxins.
Another very fundamental aspect of PCHC is improving nutrition. Every aspect of reproductive health, from formation of sperm and maturation of ova, right through to the production of good quality breastmilk, is dependent on an adequate supply of vitamins, trace minerals and essential amino and fatty acids. However, refined modern diets, common lifestyle factors and environmental pollution can seriously compromise and individual’s nutritional status.
Apart from diet what else does PCHC involve?
Complete PCHC involves
- Identification and detoxification of heavy metals and avoidance of environmental toxins.
- Screening for essential trace elements
- Avoiding common social poisons (cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine)
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing stress
- Thinking positively
- Using naturopathic medicine to treat reproductive and fertility problems in both men and women
- Treating food and chemical allergies
- Treating infections
- Using Natural Fertility Management to learn how to identify fertile signs through charting your Basal Body Temperature and physical symptoms
I am not sure if PCHC is for me/us? Can I come even if I am planning on doing IVF?
PCHC is for anyone wanting to be the healthiest they can be before they conceive.
PCHC is for individuals or couples who are:
- Preparing for pregnancy and just want to get healthy
- Having difficulty conceiving and are not ready for ART
- Against ART and want a natural approach
- Unsuccessful with ART including poor responders and older women
- Planning on ART or having a break from ART
- Want a combined approach to fertility
What happens at the initial consultation?
Couples are encouraged to book 3 x 1 hour appointments or 2 x 1.5 hour appointments to begin the program.
At the initial appointment/s I will do a thorough case history review. Some of you will have already been attempting conception for some time and a lot of you will have had some testing done. I will review all of your tests thus far and we will discuss which tests need still to be done. I will guide you on how to arrange these. The first thing I want to do is hear YOUR story. I want to know where YOU are at, where you have been and why you haven’t conceived yet. I often hear people saying “all the tests have been done and there is nothing wrong”. This just really means we need to keep looking. Some supplements may be prescribed at this time.
At the second and third appointments we will discuss diet and fertility counselling. Your supplement program will be reviewed and modified based on pathology test results. We will have discussions on your lifestyle and you will learn how to be aware of and realistically avoid common environmental pollutants. After this time we will have monthly follow up appointments to review your fertility charting and supplements.
I look forward to meeting you and the opportunity to working with you on your journey towards a healthy baby.
To assist couples in the decision making process, I offer a complimentary 15-30 minute consultation (in-person or via phone) to discuss the best options for you and your unique situation. Contact me here.