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Just want to start off by saying, I don't believe people should only start caring about their health when they're pregnant. Taking care of your health should first and foremost be something you do purely for yourself. 

Unfortunately, in todays society most women start changing their habits once a baby is already growing inside of them. Also want to take this point to add a disclaimer that if you did none of these prior to conceiving - this post is by no means shaming anyone. 

There are so many factors that can determine not only how your pregnancy will go but how your child will ultimately turn out. I've collected some important books, podcasts, accounts and tips to help you make the best decisions if you plan on having children in the future. I also am being cautious not to add too much and just the resources I absolutely love because this can be extremely overwhelming.

There are many benefits for BOTH partners being active participants in the preconception phase since the man is not only contributing 50% of the genes but also can help determine placenta health, bone length, length of umbilical cord, breast milk supply, birth weight, spinal health, brain development and even miscarriage.

In the first trimester alone (which most women don't even know they're pregnant until at least 6 weeks in) a lot is happening in the womb. The brain, spinal cord and heart are actively growing and take a LOT of nutrients to develop in a healthy way & this entire time the umbilical cord is bringing nutrients to help this process happen. The point of the matter is, if we don't prepare - our baby may not have all the vital vitamins and minerals it needs to be able to develop properly in those early stages.

Although my husband and I don't plan on having kids right now, when we made the decision to get married we started really taking our health way more seriously together and doing testing, having hard conversations, and getting very clear on what we want our life to look like with kids. 

My first tip to every single person during life is:

1. If you plan on having kids in your life, choose the right partner

Who you choose as your partner will dictate 50% of your child's health, your health and their personality. Whenever I talk to friends I always ask, if your child came out 100% like your partner, no changes, would you be happy with the person they are? If you cannot confidently say yes, then it might be something worth taking change in. 

Too many relationships are based on one partner fixing the other, babying the other, parenting the other and those things tend to not get better when children are in the picture. A child coming into world isn't going to magically get rid of years of generational trauma, teach them proper coping mechanisms, give them the emotional release they need to show up authentically - so on and so forth. That takes years of hard work, consistency & the WANT to do so on your own. On top of that, if you are way more into your health than your partner is, it's going to be hard to implement health habits in your children when you don't see eye to eye on many subjects. 

Relationship health is HUGE for developing children and even your pregnancy journey and you should never have to feel like you are walking on eggshells, hoping a child will change your partner, or that you take certain topics more seriously etc.

It breaks my heart how many women practically go through pregnancy alone because the partner doesn't want to "lose their identity" or be involved in all the research and planning it takes and that sadly transfers into postpartum and beyond. Simply getting you snacks when you have a craving (to me) isn't the poster child of what a partner should be.

Once you feel really confident with your team member/partner the next is my favorite part: 

2. Start deep-diving into all the juicy preconception topics! 

Since we got engaged I've been reading, following and listening to all different types of accounts. I have a very clear outline of the way I want my pregnancy and birth to go WHILE also understanding that sh*t is going to go down the way God intended. We cannot plan for everything but we can have a plan and ways to deal with things as they come. I plan on doing another blog later on for each stage of pregnancy + postpartum so don't think I'm done just yet. 

Here are some books I highly recommend to get started on your journey: 

- The Brighton Baby Method is LONG but so informative. It's more of a textbook read but I will say it was very overwhelming and could be kind of triggering for someone who is already pregnant or has had children. It really goes deep into how they describe "deformities" in babies and children and how our health can affect that. Probably the best preconception health book I've read though, just be ready. 

- Taking Charge of Your Fertility  is an amazing book that really helps you feel confident in tracking your ovulation and getting to know your body. Even as someone who isn't ready to start trying yet, I really felt good after reading this one. We'll chat more on ways I track my ovulation later on. 

- It Starts With an Egg I read this book super early on so I'm actually about to read it again and go through all my notes but it talks more about miscarriages, IVF, and just conceiving in general and how to improve your odds of getting and staying pregnant. 

Here are some podcasts I really like: 

Raising Good Humans



BodyWisdom (preconception prep episode)

These are some of my favorite well rounded reads/listens to really get started on how important preconception health is. Once I had all this information, my natural next step was:

3. Find a practitioner you love.

I created another blog on where to find a practitioner or coach to work with depending on what your concerns are and this was a total game changer for my health. I also found an OBGYN that I felt comfortable with. This took a lot of time and asking around but trust me it's worth the process because nothing is worse than feeling like you have no say over your body when you are already growing a child inside of you.

There were 3 major tests I did through my personal coach @LifeAsJenn in her Fit & Functional program and that was a Dutch Test, an HTMA & a GI Mapping stool test. 

Dutch tests are usual a staple with most preconception coaches since it can tell you a lot about your hormones and pathways. An HTMA is a hair sample and it gave me a lot of insight on my stress levels and if my body was even absorbing vitamins and minerals properly. So many women are simply put on a prenatal and doctors have zero clue if they are even absorbing any of it. Lastly, I did a GI Mapping stool test and got to see what my gut health was like. Matt and I both did this test and it really changed the game for us. 

Matt and I both have autoimmune issues in the family and that inflammation was showing up in his GI Map, so with changes to his diet and lifestyle early on, its hopefully setting our kids up with the best gene expression possible. Your baby gets your gut health so for me it was important to prioritize. 

Here are some pages I highly suggest following and seeing which resonates with you before joining their programs:


@essentiallyerin__ (who is currently pregnant!!)





@kourtneysimmangnutrition (just had her baby!)


4. Tracking Ovulation & Getting Off Birth Control

Now I got off birth control right before I even met my husband and it was the best decision I ever made. I have a post on my instagram about birth control and my practitioner blog can help you find someone to help you with the journey BUT if you're already off - this is for you. 

There are 2 and only 2 devices I use to track my ovulation. 

Temp Drop tracks my basal temperature when I sleep. Your basal temperature can predict your ovulation window. If you read Taking Charge of Your Fertility this goes in depth on how you can do all this without any devices but this just works for me. I love that it's easy and connects right to my phone in the morning. 

Mira Fertility is the second device I got and this completely changed the game for me, it was worth every penny. You pee in a little cup and then soak the stick and shove it into the device and it will literally tell you your actual hormone levels. This can predict your fertile window and HOW fertile you are. It can get pricey since you need to continue to buy stick packs so if you are on a budget it could be helpful if you know exactly when you would like to start trying and to track a couple months before while working with someone. This completely took the guessing game away and I can safely and confidently prevent pregnancy. No healthillie babies just yet, sorry guys haha 

5. Preconception Lifestyle

We're almost done here but preconception lifestyle should be no different than your actual healthy lifestyle. 

Habits I think every parent should get on board with while in the preconception phase:

- therapy/emotional release

- stress management

- Webster certified Chiropractic Care (I currently work with @DoctorGena)

- exercise

- pelvic floor health (@painlesspregnancy & @drsabrinabaxter)

- getting clear on roles, how you want the children raised, schooling, v word, health choices for baby, type of birth etc 

- quitting alcohol, cigarettes/e cig, marijuana etc

- "detoxing" from endocrine disruptors (fragrance, SLS etc), seed oils, fast food, negative people, parasites etc

- incorporate castor oil packs (ill be doing a post on this soon)

- incorporate high quality meats, seafood & raw dairy (if tolerated)

Foods to incorporate during preconception phase:


6. Last but not least, Prenatals

Most doctors will send you home with a prenatal and I have many issues with that

- prenatals are not custom to you and your needs

- most on the market are filled with extra low quality ingredients

- they are the bare minimum dosages which means you can still be very deficient in many nutrients you need for baby

- many are made with synthetic vitamins

- they give you this false sense of safety with your nutrition

So what do I suggest instead? A couple things. 

Obviously for one diet and lifestyle is going to be the biggest factor. People were having babies well before prenatals came around and we were much healthier than we were now. Most kids today are born with severe food allergies and gut problems and I think it has a lot to do with the state of our health before baby is born - which most of the time isnt good. 

Personally I take Natal Nourish along with Beef Liver. Beef liver is truly natures multivitamin and natal nourish is great for fertility and nourishment but you can always start with just the beef liver. We also have a multivitamin that can be useful if you're not into liver. 

There are 2 prenatal brands I really like that I think could be worth it if this is the route you want to go. 

WeNatal is a really cool brand that makes a prenatal for men and women. Matt and I will both be taking this to prepare for Beb when the time comes. 

Perelel is another cool brand that isn't just one capsule but multiple to hit pregnancy needs throughout each trimester and after. They also make a preconception support pack which I think is an amazing alternative to a conventional prenatal

Other supplements to look into during the preconception phase:

- Trace Minerals (also in my morning line up) or Shilajit for those that are braver than the marines (it has a very strong taste)

- B complex can help with pregnancy related fatigue and baby development 

- Magnesium can help with stress management, energy levels, sleep, brain fog and more. 

- Chlorophyll can help with red blood cell production and also the detoxification process.  

- Oyster Max product to help with Zinc levels

- Cod Liver Oil 

- Dandelion Root Tea to help with liver detoxification 

- Separate Folate supplement if you don't plan on taking a prenatal (the best ones are usually through a practitioner)

Many of these are something you should assess the pros and cons before taking and properly work with someone. None of the above is medical advice! Again, this is based on my own research and what really resonated with me. Always do your own research and make the smartest choices for you and your family. 

There is so much that goes into have a baby and hopefully this is helpful for anyone out there planning to conceive in the next couple years. I will say I'm happy I started a year ago because healing takes time and I have 0 pressure to rush or try to "detox" quickly. This should be an enjoyable time for you and your partner! 

Also be sure to check my preconception highlight since Im always adding things into it like Q&A's and even future IG Lives on the topic! 

by Iliriana Zeneli – April 17, 2023