A Naturopathic Approach to Preconception Care
A Naturopathic Approach to
What is preconception care?
The preconception period is the timeframe before becoming pregnant. Your health during this period is very important for overall fertility and pregnancy outcomes. The goal with preconception care interventions is to better understand your current health status and to identify risk factors that may lead to poor fertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Why should you seek out preconception care?
It is estimated that 1 in 6 couples in Canada experience infertility. Infertility is defined as one year without conception for women under the age of 35 and 6 months without conception for women over the age of 35. It can often take up to one year before any further investigation is provided.
You shouldn’t have to wait one year to receive fertility support, especially if any risk factors could have been identified earlier on.
This is why I believe a preconception health care plan is such an empowering way to start your fertility journey. It can help identify and address any risk factors that may impact your fertility outcomes. Preconception care is probably one of my most favourite areas of clinical focus because it’s PROACTIVE care. It involves putting together a strategy that optimizes your health BEFORE you try to conceive to ensure that you have the best fertility outcomes.
It’s important to remember that fertility begins long before you are actively trying to conceive. There are so many things that can and need be done during that time to improve preconception health, support a healthy pregnancy ,and avoid any negative outcomes.
What does a preconception care plan look like?
Step 1: Gather information
The first step involves gathering information about your health status and investigating any possible risk factors that could impact pregnancy outcomes. We will:
- Discuss fertility goals and time frame
- Review your health history intake and order specific labs
- Implement cycle tracking such as basal body temperature and cervical mucus tracking
Step 2: Your Preconception Plan
Once we have received all pertinent information about your health status, we will put together a personalized preconception health care plan specific to your health needs. These treatment recommendations will optimize your health outcomes by:
- Improving sleep quality
- Reducing stress levels
- Incorporating healthy diet recommendations
- Creating a healthy exercise plan
- Reducing exposure to environmental toxins
- Incorporating foundational dietary or herbal supplements
- Including supportive treatments such as acupuncture and IV therapy
- Addressing any other underlying health conditions
Step 3: Monitor and adapt
Once we have implemented your preconception health care plan, we will monitor each month to make sure it is still working to support your overall fertility. Health is fluid and we will adjust any part of the plan to ensure that you have the best health outcomes.
How early should you start preconception care?
It really is patient dependent. Your timeline will be based on your current state of health, any medical conditions, and any use of hormonal birth control. Once we have a clearer idea about your current health and fertility goals, we can discuss a timeframe estimate. I usually recommend at least 4 months, but it could be up to 12+ months depending on any health risks and what health goals we are trying accomplish.
What about my partner?
Male reproductive health is as equally as important to optimize pregnancy outcomes and plan for a healthy baby. A preconception care plan for your partner will look very similar and will focus on optimizing overall health outcomes, as well as sperm quality and quantity.
If you are interested in learning more about preconception care, let’s work together! You can book a consult through the booking link below.
This post is intended for educational purposes only. Please speak to your licensed health care provider before implementing any health recommendations or treatments.
I’m Dr. Sam Bowen, a licensed naturopathic doctor practicing in the Vancouver area. From a young age, I have always aspired to work in the field of health and medicine. Growing up on Salt Spring Island, BC, I developed a strong curiosity to better understand the various factors that influence our health. I truly believed that the path to optimal health was more complex than just treating our presenting symptoms.
College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC)
British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA)
Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)
Acupuncture – CNPBC certified
Intravenous Therapies – CNPBC certified
Prescriptive Authority in BC – CNPBC certified
Naturopathic Advanced Life Support – OHM Medical
B.Sc. Honours in Health Promotion – Dalhousie University
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine – Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
Holistic Nutrition Certificate Program – Pacific Rim College