Why Naturopaths want couples to start thinking about pregnancy before conception.

16 April 2021

According to Australian & NZ Reproductive Statistics: ANZARD report, 1 in 6 couples will experience infertility. This is when a couple is unable to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex OR 3 unsuccessful intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles.

Infertility and the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) has increased over the years with 4.7% of all births being assisted by a form of ART.

As Naturopaths, before trying for a baby either with or without ART we recommend preconception care for at least 3 months, this includes both male and female partners in heterosexual relationships. This is because epigenetic changes to sperm compromise both pregnancy and perinatal health outcomes. These changes can be due to one or more underlying illnesses, poor diet, paternal age & stress.

Some of these compromised outcomes include:

• Increased incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and preeclampsia. 
• Increased risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight. 
• Increase in neonatal intensive care unit admission. 
• Compromised childhood metabolic health.
• Increase in childhood and adult cancer risk
• Increased incidence of autoimmune and allergy tendencies. 
• Poor learning and behavioural outcomes
• Poor long-term mental health outcomes.

Being some of the smallest cells in the body, with a very thin cell membrane, sperm cells are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of oxidative stress (stress which causes DNA damage). And, unlike most of our cells, sperm cells don’t have the ability to repair their own DNA, leaving sperm unable to do their job once the damage has been done.

Pairing your assisted form of conception with a Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) such as fertility Naturopathy or Traditional Chinese Medicine, can assist you in producing healthier sperm, improve fertility, and even improve the success rates of your ART treatment.

Other benefits of combining fertility naturopathy with ART include:

- Increasing sperm quality
- Improving endometrial receptivity
- Improved egg numbers
- Enhanced Liver Detoxification, leading to easier recovery from treatments, and reduced occurrence & symptoms of Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
- General Health Benefits: Dietary & Lifestyle changes that influence general health outcomes (e.g. weight loss, smoking/alcohol cessation, etc.)
- Improved Stress Management, which lead to improved treatment outcomes, recovery, and the capacity to carry on with treatments.

Because of this, we recommend 3-9 months of Complementary or Alternate Medicine treatment, such as Fertility Naturopath, for both partners before conception and an individualized assessment to identify any potential causes of these risks.

If you are thinking of conceiving or having trouble falling pregnant, get in touch. Our Naturopaths can help you with lifestyle and diet changes as well as coming up with a treatment plan that won't overwhelm you, but instead, assist you in reaching your goals.