As I am writing this article, bébé Keian is sleeping soundly in his nursery. Come to think of it, my pregnancy was an enjoyable one.
I wasn’t given hormone pills at the early stage of the pregnancy to enhance the survival rates of my fetus, despite the unfortunate miscarriage just last year. Nor I was given supplements from my gynae throughout the pregnancy. I didn’t suffer from morning sickness, I eat fairly well all three trimesters — weight gain was moderate and steady. I had very minimal heartburn, occasional constipation, and no gestational diabetes or other complications, despite having my first child at the mature age of 35. Bébé was born post-term at 4.1 KG without jaundice. I am so incredibly blessed with this experience.
I have always been advocating all women who plan to conceive should prepare their bodies for pregnancy. Let’s face it: Pregnancy can bring long-term health issues that last a lifetime. Bearing a child and even birthing carries risks. These are hard truths. While social media tells us how amazing pregnancy and motherhood can be like, growing a healthy baby inside our body isn’t something that should be taken for granted.
Knowing what kind of physical state and health condition a fetus would likely thrive in advance and preparing your body for it can really minimize pregnancy discomforts and risks during our pregnancy. However, each pregnancy is unique and to each their own. This article aims to provide insights for those who are keen to prepare their body for a baby to nest in for a good 9 months. And if you’re looking for such content, I hope this is helpful 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor your medical provider. While I believe that preparing our body well before conceiving will make our pregnancy journey so much more pleasant and enjoyable, what suit me may not suit you. With each individual comes your own choices and circumstances, so whatever you choose is good for you and know that you know yourself better than anyone else.
Warm-up My Womb
From a TCM perspective, there is a correlation between a cold womb and infertility. I used to have obstructed blood flow, and coldness in the lower abdomen, hands and feet. So I been visiting Physician Lim Sor San at Time Enterprise TCM for a good 2 years before I got married. Back then, all I wanted was to get rid of menstrual cramps so that I can focus better at work during that time of the month. Her medicine worked well. #notsponsored
Before successfully conceiving with bébé Keian, I suffered a spontaneous miscarriage in 2021. Post-miscarriage, I took 2 weeks of confinement food with Chilli Padi Confinement to improve blood circulation and maintain body warmth. Their food always looked appetising (you can expect colourful & nourishing dishes) and I like that everything including the dishes is delivered in thermal flasks. #notsponsored
I also went back to see Physician Lim for 2 months before trying for a baby again. If you are suspecting a cold womb is hindering your chance of conceiving, please know that TCM can be an alternative treatment.
Learn My Family’s Medical History
As K and I are not “young”, we went for a fertility check-up at KKH just to make sure both of us are okay before we take everything seriously. One thing I learnt from the doctor was that collecting our family’s health history can be important for our child’s health. We might not realize that a sister’s heart defect or grandpa’s medical condition could affect the child, so sharing family medical history with your doctor can be important.
We shared our medical condition, as well as our family’s medical information and underwent some recommended tests just to make sure we are all cleared and really, it is for your peace of mind.
Fallopian Tube Test
As part of my fertility check-up, my doctor also suggested a fallopian tube test, or hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This minor test procedure lets the doctor examine the inside walls of our uterus and fallopian tubes, by flushing medical liquids via the cervix into the uterus and the tubes.
It provides information about the shape and contour of our uterus, document other possible conditions, and determine if our fallopian tubes are open. Having a blocked tube or growth in our uterus can reduce our chances of pregnancy as the sperm wouldn’t be able to reach the egg.
I experience more painful menses every alternate month so even though I have very regular menses, to be very sure of my fertility health we went ahead with the test. The report turns out to be perfect. And believe it or not, some ladies actually became more fertile after the test as the procedure clears minor blocks in some women, making it easier for an embryo to implant successfully.
Make Better Lifestyle Choices
Neither I nor K smoke. And prior to conceiving, we keep our casual drinking to a minimum too! We also consider ourselves very fortunate as we do not have other medical conditions that require us to take any medicine that may affect the health of our baby.
It is a no-brainer that a healthy diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals we need. However, if we take a closer look at our diet, most of us would realise that we are not taking enough vegetables and fruits in a day, and may fall short on key nutrients. So prenatal vitamins can help fill any gaps if we are pregnant or hoping to conceive. It is important to get our bodies ready before hosting the baby.
• Folic Acid
Folic Acid or folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine. KKH Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department actually recommend taking folic acid 3 months before trying to conceive. I started taking it 3 months before I successfully conceived back in 2021. While the embryo didn’t make it, I continue to take folic acid daily until I am pregnant again with bébé Keian.
#Tip: You can purchase Folic Acid tablets off public hospital's pharmacy or on National Healthcare Group's site at a very low cost. It is SGD 2.10 per 30 capsules, so much more affordable compared to the well-known brands in the market.
• Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acid helps promote a baby’s brain development. It is a type of fat found naturally in many kinds of fish. However, if you don’t take fish or other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids due to your choice of diet, it is better to supplement it for the sake of your baby. I took Avance’s Super EPA 2000 as it contains 810mg EPA and DHA in one soft gel, which is one of the purest and highest concentrations of EPA and DHA in the market.
#Tip: Each Avance fish oil soft gel went through a dual-stage molecular distillation that removes impurities and heavy metals from the fish. Only God knows how much heavy metals one would be accidentally consuming if she's only taking real fish to hit that same amount of Omega-3 fatty acids one needs to grow her baby!
• Borage Seed Oil
I bet you’ve heard about the benefits of taking evening primrose oil which includes regulating hormones and relieving discomfort associated with monthly cycles. Avance’s Borage Seed Oil contains 22% of GLA, which is much higher compared to evening primrose oil which typically contains 8-10% of GLA. It also helps to improve blood circulation and clear off the clotting that may be one of the reasons for infertility and recurrent miscarriage.
Adding probiotics to our arsenal of motherhood must-haves can go a long way to help encourage the absorption of nutrients, nurture our baby’s immune system, and support us in common, uncomfortable roadblocks that can occur during pregnancy and postpartum life (think heartburn and constipation for a whole 9 months!).
I made sure my gut health was in good condition before conceiving, which I believe attributed to the minimum heartburn and constipation during my pregnancy. In fact, I only experienced occasional heartburn and constipation after week 34 when the baby has grown bigger in size.
Avance’s LB30 probiotics have 30 billion good bacteria from 5 clinical strains, and 4 are patented. Each strain is also coated with 5 layers of coating to ensure the stability of the cultures and make sure that they stay alive until they reach our gut.
Taking probiotics during the pre-pregnancy stage helps to lower the risks of vagina infections that may cause pregnancy complications, eczema in babies and many more. Babies actually inherit their entire microbiome from us as they pass through the birth canal, from skin-to-skin contact, and taking our breast milk. These are the building blocks for our child’s immune system, which is why it’s critical to inoculate our newborn with the bacteria needed to set them up for a lifetime of health!
#Tip: I took 1 stick of LB30 each day before conceiving, continue the same dosage up to the 2nd trimester, and take 2-4 sticks daily in the 3rd trimester. I would increase my intake to 6 sticks in a day when I experience constipation and my problem would usually resolve within the next day.
Meal Management Camp
Because our modern and instant diet often leaves gaps in our nutritional needs, when it comes to preparing ourselves for pregnancy, we are more than willing to go the extra mile to ensure good health before conceiving.
One thing I did was join a Meal Management Bootcamp that aims to achieve a healthy BMI (of an Asian standard), healthy body fat ratio and cultivate mindful eating. It is a one-month program where members eat 4-5 full meals per day while incorporating just one “5DP” healthy smoothie from Optrimax into our daily meal plan.
The smoothie shake is jam-packed with Vitamin B2, B6, D3, E, Folic Acid and Biotin which are all great to prep our body for baby. I’ll share more about this in another blog. We are thrilled to find out good news from a few ladies who join the camp for at least 3-6 months. So if you want to do something about your diet that may enhance your overall reproductive health, you can DM me on IG 🙂
Remove Myself from Stressful Environment
I was in the hospitality industry and it was challenging in the past 3 years due to the pandemic. The high levels of stress, and receiving work emails in the wee hours were taxing to my body and mind. As I managed to establish a stable side income by advocating for DR’s Secret skincare during my downtime, I took the leap of faith to quit my day job as a hospitality marketer.
I took a one-month break, did a Free & Easy trip to South Korea and found out that I got pregnant with bébé Keian when I came home! So please do not downplay the complex interplay between the level of stress you have and your fertility health! Take a break and find a solution for yourself. Remember, our job should not become our whole identity.
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