If you are thinking about having a baby or have suffered one or more miscarriages, follow this four month plan before you attempt to conceive. During this period, you will be cleaning up many toxins in your body. If you attempt to conceive during this period, your risks of miscarriage may be increased.
Clean up your diet. Consume a wide variety of organic food, and read labels to reduce or eliminate the amount of chemicals, additives and preservatives going into your body. If you are under or overweight, get your weight to normal.Check and correct your nutritional status. If possible, go to a nutritional therapist with experience in fertility, and get your vitamin and mineral deficiencies accessed. The therapist should also screen you for high levels of heavy toxic metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. He or she will custom design a supplement programme for you and your partner to correct deficiencies and minimise your levels of toxic metals. (Contact the British Association of Nutritional Therapists, London WC1N 3XX; Tel: 0870 606 1284 for the name of a therapist near you).
If getting to a nutritional therapist is impossible, you and your partner should take the following supplements before and after conception:
A multivitamin and mineral supplement designed for pregnancy
Zinc citrate or amino acid chelate (a total of 30 mg of zinc a day, including what is in the multivitamin/mineral supplement)
1000 mg of linseed (or flax) oil a day
1000 mg of vitamin C a day
If the man has a low sperm count or motility, he should take 1000 mg of L-arginine a day and 300-400 IU of vitamin E per day prior to conception.
Eliminate any unhealthy habits such as alcohol, smoking or street drugs.
Eliminate any unnecessary over the counter drugs that both of you may be taking. Investigate whether any prescribed medication you must take could be affecting your fertility and whether you can substitute an alternative to the drugs.
If you are a man, buy loose underwear and trousers, and take showers instead of hot baths. If you sit down all day, take breaks and walk around, especially if you drive for long periods in a hot vehicle.
Make sure both you and your partner are screened for any genitourinary infections. It is crucial if you have had a miscarriage to rule out infection as the cause. If infection is found and you must take an antibiotic, take a good probiotic such as BioCare's Replete for seven days, and then take a good bioacidophilus supplement for a month. This will recolonise the gut flora.
Examine your environment and eliminate anything that may be affecting fertility. Some chemicals can stop women conceiving or they may conceive, but the embryo may not be able to grow or develop. A US study showed that women who had infertility and recurrent miscarriages had high levels of certain chemicals commonly found in carpets, leather upholstery and wood preservatives (Am J Obstet Gynecol, 1991; 165: 487-8).
Limit the amount of chemicals used in your home, your garden and on yourself. Avoid using pesticides in the garden and flea sprays in the house.
Use natural cleaners around the house, available from most health shops these days. Avoid excessive use of hair dye, perfume and chemically laden toiletries. If you are decorating your home, finish the work before your begin your Four Month Plan.
Minimise your exposure to television, mobile phones and VDUs. One study showed that women who spent more than 20 hours a week in front of their screen had twice as many miscarriages as non VDU workers (Am J Indust Med, 1988; 13: 695-706).
At the end of the four months, have your nutritional levels checked again. If they are normal, you can be placed on a maintenance programme and given the green light to try to conceive.