Fertility Road’s Editor Andrew Coutts takes a look at ‘Preconceived’, A Step-By-Step Guide To Enhancing Your Fertility and Preparing For A Healthy Baby, written by Dr Jodie Peacock, Founder of enhancefertilitybootcamp.com and the Canadian Fertility Show.
There are an ever increasing number of books and articles on growing, maintaining and nurturing fertility health and I have read more than a few! it was with a little trepidation therefore I set about reading the first of the 124 pages of Peacock’s book about pre-conception.
I shouldn’t have fretted.
This powerhouse of a book takes a long, hard look at health and fertility; setting out its stall quite dramatically on page 1;
“Today’s generation of children is the first in human history that cannot expect to have a longer life expectancy than their parents. Our world has become more toxic and our food less nutritious, and our bodies aren’t evolving quickly enough to keep up with these environmental changes”
Fast forward one month and I am squeezed into a packed conference room at the Canadian Fertility Show. I have been to very few talks at fertility events where there is such a young audience; an audience hanging on every word delivered by the speaker who is sharing tips on improving the health of both prospective parents and their children. The speaker is Dr Jodie Peacock.
Peacock is fast gaining a reputation for reaching out to young couples concerned that external factors are having a detrimental effect on their fertility health and the general health of the next generation. The Canadian Fertility Show in only it second year is testament to Peacock’s drive to promote awareness of research-based, natural techniques which aid conception – the growing popularity of the event demonstrates the thirst for natural solutions to a toxic world created by unnatural means.
Let’s return to Preconceived. The book aims to empower readers to take back control of their health and fertility; encouraging them to take a step back to ensure healthy living begins before conception. As a naturopathic doctor Peacock is able to identify nutritional and lifestyle changes which both optimize fertility and have a significant impact on the health of any new baby. At the end of each chapter Peacock hands out ‘homework’, practical tasks, designed to be user led and friendly which allows the reader to ‘go it alone’.
The guide is set out in easy readable chunks of information and it can be read in one sitting or digested, chapter by chapter, enabling the reader to take on board tips and challenges as and when they arise.
Peacock speaks from experience. Diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in her early 20’s whilst training to be a doctor she was advised not to delay trying for a family of her own. Peacock turned her attention to managing her hormonal health and optimizing her fertility health naturally. Through a series of coordinated lifestyle and dietary changes she did just that, completing her academic study whilst conceiving a son and then twin boys naturally.
The core of guide is about empowerment. Readers are inspired to take control of their fertility destiny by understanding where they are in their journey – with the information they can glean from the guide they are then encouraged to implement changes.
Peacock starts with a close look at hormonal health. A detailed chapter provides an understanding of the hormones involved in monthly menstrual cycles including the importance of monitoring ovulation at home and recording body temperature throughout this period. This is an important chapter as it sets the tone for the remainder of the guide as Peacock explains;
“This information will reveal how your hormones work to control egg development, ovulation and uterine lining growth. The association of these processes with overall health will be made clear”
With a starting point established Peacock takes a look at supplements which are seen as significant
in terms of promoting better fertility health. The importance of key supplements like prenatal vitamins, essential fatty acids, probiotics and some antioxidants are discussed and assessed with great attention to detail;
“Preconception and pregnancy are crucial phases for the healthy development of your baby. Thus, it is paramount that you ensure the quality and integrity of what you are putting into your body”
Peacock’s homework for supplements is simple: check the ingredients and ensure the delivery of items is the most appropriate one to ensure no quality is lost in transportation.
Next up is ‘Screening Labs’ (tests). Peacock insists that you have to understand the tests you have undergone and keep copies of all results – armed with test results you will be able to address any imbalances and achieve a base level of health and proper functioning to benefit your fertility. This approach will,
“Ensure that nutrient depletion or hormonal imbalances are not causing or contributing to your infertility or recurrent miscarriages. Improving these values will also help you to boost your energy, sharpen your mental clarity, and optimize your overall health”.
The guide also examines the positive, physical and emotional impact that both exercise and good sleep patterns can offer. Each determines how well your body copes with stress which can have a detrimental effect on your fertility health;
“When stress becomes a chronic problem, it can have a negative impact on the health of your oocytes, your eggs and your future babies”
Similarly, your sleep-wake patterns, argues Peacock, have a direct impact on your body’s hormone regulation and its ability to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
The guide then examines the impact food and drink has on one’s fertility health – five chapters are devoted to organic v non organic foods; the importance of fats; the role of carbohydrates (who aren’t necessarily the enemy!); protein and the benefits of smoothies.
Peacock guides us through ‘The Clean Fifteen’, the least toxic non organic fruit and veg list to ‘The Dirty Dozen’ most toxic non organic fruit and veg; good fats and naughty trans fats; protein as the basic building block for all living cells and finally the King (or Queen) of the food tree, the smoothie which,
“can help your body by increasing your consumption of vitamins and minerals, fibre and antioxidants”
Superbly written, the five food and drink chapters do not merely represent a cookbook for the infertile; they represent a roadmap with detailed instructions on how to reach your journey’s end.
The remainder of the guide focuses on what I like to call ‘the mechanics’- egg and sperm quality and gene analysis. Peacock provides some excellent information on how women can make their internal environment as healthy as possible to encourage and enhance health egg development and there are a number of checklists for men to help ensure the viability of their sperm.
The ‘mechanics’ section of the book is supplemented by sections on the power of positive thought and visualisation as well as ‘staying connected’, a guide to keep relationships on course; something which can be challenging as Peacock admits,
“When you are busy with tests, fertility charting, timed intercourse, and various medical procedures, a couple can stop connecting deeply like they once did”
And that’s it. 124 pages of rock solid information, tips, and help delivered with a coherent, logical approach by a rising star in the Canadian fertility field. I would certainly recommend you keep a look out for this book which will become a great resource for you and your future child.
Dr Jodie Peacock ND has a special interest in women’s health, with a focus on hormone balancing and fertility. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph and Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is the Founder of the enhancefertilitybootcamp.com and the Canadian Fertility Show www.canadianfertilityshow.ca