Prepare for Preconception With These Four Positive Changes
In a world with so much noise and an overwhelming amount of information, it’s easy for us to feed into the fear and anxiety surrounding conception and preconception. In some circles, just mentioning the words preconception or even fertility can stir up negative feelings. Oftentimes, these words are considered “bad” words or the “unmentionables” and are accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. At BIRTHFIT, we’re changing the conversation and bringing positivity back as we prepare for preconception, by utilizing our four pillars: fitness, nutrition, mindset and connection.
It almost goes without saying that exercise plays a large role in our overall health, including preconception. Exercise is an excellent way to destress and move our physical bodies. It also provides us with an opportunity to connect and tune into our bodies and our feelings. This connection will be critical during pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as postpartum when we learn to connect with our baby.
Developing a fitness routine is one of the best ways to hold ourselves accountable, but this isn’t always easy! If you’re struggling to stay consistent in your workouts, we encourage you to develop the following:
- A daily schedule that includes working out
- A consistent time to workout
- A consistent location
- A workout buddy or accountability coach/mentor
All of these factors are key when it comes to preconception, because we want to stay active and move as much as possible. However, we want to warn against working out too much or too intensely, which may place ourselves into a greater state of stress. Let’s be smart with our training and exercise regimens, and remember the true intention of WHY we are working out – we are in a season of conceiving, not qualifying for a major fitness event.
Food is our daily medicine. What we eat can directly impact our immune system, reproductive system, and all other bodily functions and organs. Nutrition is vital in our preconception journey, as it not only aids us in creating the most optimal environment to conceive a baby, but also to nourish a baby in-utero.
One way to look at nutrition is as fuel. When we are properly fueled with vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, oils, and minimally processed foods, we have energy; we can exercise; we sleep better; we move better; we feel better; and we have a better chance of becoming pregnant. When we are not fueled properly, we feel weak, tired, and foggy; we’re in discomfort; we don’t sleep well; our skin breaks out; we gain weight or lose weight; our hormones are out of whack; and we simply aren’t ourselves. To make matters worse, we then begin to label our food and attach feelings and emotions to it. Attaching feelings to our food can become dangerous, especially if we are feeding ourselves the “bad” kind of food – the premise being if we label food as “bad,” then we too must be bad. The fact is that nourishing our bodies properly helps us feel energized and alive so that we can continue to make better choices in other areas of our lives.
Nourishing our bodies also includes finding supplementation of quality vitamins and minerals. Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t getting all of the required nutrients from our food alone. Therefore, supplementing is essential. We suggest a quality prenatal vitamin along with vitamins D3, K2, EPA & DHA, Iron, Calcium, and L-methylfolate to name a few. If you are not sure which vitamins to take or which ones you are deficient in, getting your blood work done by a professional, such as a functional medicine doctor or a midwife, will be your best answer and is far better than guessing. It is worth noting that supplements are not to be a meal replacement or primary food. As their name implies, they’re supplementing the foods we are already eating to help us live our best, most optimal lives and to give us a fighting chance to eventually become pregnant.
Just like training a muscle when we’re at the gym, we also need to train our minds. The mindset pillar includes education, as well as mindfulness practice. The areas where we can train our mindset include intentional and controlled diaphragmatic breathing, reducing stress, reducing our access and exposure to technology, getting outside, positive self-talk, daily meditation, and enrolling in educational courses such as our online BIRTHFIT Prenatal Program.
One of our favorite ways to practice the mindset pillar is through “Two Minute Drills.” Here, we encourage you to find a song, and for the length of that song, take a moment to pause and to breathe. Once in this space, you have the opportunity to apply what you’re learning and to rest, reset, rejuvenate, and come back to true north. When we apply mindset training, such as two minute drills, the mother and partner are in an empowered headspace to both prepare for preconception and to bring a new baby into this world. Do you have just two minutes to spare? We think you do!
In a fast moving world, it can sometimes feel like we’re moving at mach-speed, with very little time to truly be present in the precious moments of life. This space can start to feel very isolated and lonely at times. At BIRTHFIT, we’re here to remind you that you are not alone. By practicing good exercise routines, nourishing our bodies, and pausing for two minute drills throughout our day, we allow ourselves to connect. Who are we connecting to? Well, first and foremost, we are connecting to and checking in with ourselves! What could be more important than asking ourselves how we’re really doing? Next, we connect with those around us who can support us as we prepare for preconception. Perhaps, this includes our families or even a community of like-minded, non-judgmental human beings like BIRTHFIT, where everyone is welcome. And finally, we seek to connect with The Divine. Wherever you are in your life, the transition into parenthood is truly a spiritual journey, requiring an unprecedented amount of strength that has been buried deep within you. Connecting with The Divine allows that which was buried to (figuratively and physically) be born. Preparing for your preconception journey does not have to be filled with fear, but with joyful anticipation and hope. If you remember anything, just remember this: You are never alone.
BIRTHFIT LeaderBIRTHFIT New Jersey @birthfitnj
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