Much of the fertility talk aimed at women over 30 can be alarmist (ticktock!) or depressing (scary statistics!). But authors Christa Orecchio and Willow Buckley, a nutritionist and a homeopath, respectively, say there’s a more natural, less-fear-driven way to prepare for conception. In their new book “How To Conceive Naturally: And Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30,” they tell readers what foods they — and their partners — can eat to prepare their bodies for a baby.
“My practice was never a fertility practice, but I started getting women coming to me in their late 30s, 40s, struggling with fertility issues and having no success,” says Orecchio. “If you take away what the body doesn’t need and give it more of what it does, you’ll find balance. And these women all started getting pregnant. Six rounds of [in vitro fertilization] didn’t work, but this did.”
Here are five things you might not have considered.
- Prep work isn’t just for the ladies. There are foods men can eat to improve the quality of their sperm. Orecchio recommends royal jelly capsules, made of bee pollen, for both men and women, and black maca powder in tea form — “a conception superfood!” she says, due to its antioxidant properties — for men.
- It’s all about the prep. Preparing your body for conception doesn’t just mean laying off alcohol. It’s about what you eat, too. “Proper nutrition forms the core of this foundation and dramatically affects preconception health,” Orecchio and Buckley write. “Prenatal nutrition also determines the quality of the baby’s major organs and even her predisposition to certain diseases.” Start to eliminate artificial and processed foods from your diet, eating fresh food whenever possible.
- Mindset is everything. What you put into your body is important, but so is what you put into your mind: Because stress affects the entire body, a fetus can sense bad vibes as it grows. “A good mindset is key,” says Orecchio. “You create your own culture, so communicate with your baby before and during pregnancy. Create enough time for yourself; have a morning or night routine that’s sacred to you.”
- It’s five trimesters, not three. Pregnancy itself only lasts three trimesters, but Orecchio and Buckley emphasize the importance of approaching health as a five-trimester undertaking that includes the three months prior to conception and the three months following birth. To balance postpartum hormones, they suggest eating encapsulated placenta — “The Kardashians are doing it!” points out Orecchio.
- Be good to your gut. “Whatever imbalances you have, youth can overcome that. But not as you age. Then you have to do the work,” says Orecchio. She recommends taking a multi-strain probiotic for 90 days to cultivate good bacteria in the digestive tract before you start trying to conceive.