Why it’s not just about getting pregnant: Epigenetics and your future child’s health
Epigenetics is definitely getting it’s time to shine. Where we used to believe that our genes were set in stone, the concept of epigenetics has proven that that is not the case. Epigenetics is the action or ability of the body to turn on or off gene expression. Improving our overall health, including sperm, eggs and uterine health, can improve the speed and chances of conception (as mentioned here); it can also improve both the physical and mental health of the child well into adulthood.Harvard University put out a wonderful infographic on why high quality care for pregnant women, as well as infants and toddlers, “can quite literally affect the chemistry around children’s genes”. I would include that the 4 months leading up to pregnancy can also greatly impact the epigenetics of the future child.
So much of the focus around fertility is the ‘getting pregnant’ part. It’s a lot like pregnancy, where the focus is heavily weighted on the birth, rather than what to do once you have a newborn in your arms. And while I completely understand that getting pregnant is the essential first step in the process (and yes, we have a lot of blogs on how to improve your chances of getting pregnant); preparing and supporting your body prior to and during pregnancy, even if you have been told you are in ‘normal’ fertile parameters, or haven’t had a fertility assessment, can impact the health of your child.
So what do I suggest?
That’s not a straightforward answer. I like to do a health audit. What’s working in your life, what isn’t. Diet, lifestyle, stress, injuries, digestion, reproductive health etc. From there it is easy to identify ways to improve your overall environment with supplements, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle.
Remember, health is not a pass or fail, there is always room for improvement, the same way that a star athlete doesn’t stop training just because they are on top of their game. We are aiming for the healthiest baby epigenetically possible. We are talking about reaching our potential, so they can reach theirs.And if I can help create a healthier parent in the process as well, well then I’m a happy camper.
If you have more questions about what your treatments would or could look like, feel free to book a free 15 minute consultation.