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How and Why You Should Cleanse or Detoxify Before Pregnancy

nina January 9, 2013

Image by joannaverdan

Today’s Daily Tip: Place items in the areas of your home where you’ll use them, to increase the chances that you’ll follow through.

We live in a world full of toxins. From air pollution to food contaminants, our bodies are constantly inundated with harmful pollutants. Add to that intolerances to certain foods and chances are, you need to detoxify your body so that it can begin to heal itself.

Cleansing/detoxifying is beneficial for many reasons and is often used to:

  • Balance body PH
  • Lose weight
  • Jump-start healing
  • Stop cravings
  • Increase energy
  • Relieve allergies


In Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Dr. Haas recommends cleansing and detoxifying especially for healing and preparing for change. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, try cleansing to:

Increase chances of conception

Pregnancy makes a lot of demands on your body – you need more sleep, more nutrients, more self-care in general. Cleansing your body and switching to a healthier lifestyle beforehand gives you one less thing to think about when you do get pregnant.

It also increases your chances of conception because you’ve removed any foods that might be damaging your gut, allowed your body time to heal and balance your hormones and put your body in the optimum state for getting pregnant.

Balance Hormones

One reason for hormone imbalance can be toxins. According to Dr. Travis Deuson, Medical Director of BodyLogicMD of Encino, even if you’re hormone levels are adequate, your body may not be using them properly because toxins are blocking the pathways.

One key way to balance your hormones is to lower your exposure to toxins. But what about toxins that are already in your body? Cleansing can flush them out, enabling your body to begin healing and get back in balance.

Rule out food intolerances

Part of cleansing before pregnancy may be to rule out food intolerances. Common intolerances include problems with gluten, corn, soy, eggs and dairy.

These foods cause inflammation in your digestive system, leading to a whole host of symptoms: break outs, headaches, infertility, stomach aches, hormone imbalances, sinus infections and rashes. Use the time before pregnancy to discover (and stop eating) whatever foods you may not be able to tolerate.

Deal with future cravings

Pregnancy cravings can be … interesting. And intense. In my pregnancies, I was Dairy Queen’s greatest customer, ate ridiculous amounts of fried foods and sweets and cried if I couldn’t get my pork noodle soup. Pregnancy made my food addictions even worse.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s a good time to beat those addictions and find nourishing alternatives. Had I known then what I know now, I would have made some coconut milk ice cream, baked up my favorite gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and rolled up some yummy garden-fresh spring rolls instead. And I could have spared my brother those evening phone calls begging him to bring me Chinese food while my husband was at work.

So just how do you cleanse and detoxify your body? There are a lot of different methods – some safe, some not so much.

If you Google “cleanse”, you’ll get lots of results for boxed cleansing programs. Most are quite expensive and contain herbs or supplements designed to thoroughly cleanse your colon. While detoxifying your body should improve elimination, you probably don’t want to spend the whole time in the bathroom.

Fortunately, there are other options that focus on nourishing your body and removing toxins to give you a more effective cleanse and set you up with healthy habits for the future. The following three are ones I’ve used with good results.

Juice fasting

I know I’m not the only one who watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and immediately did a juice fast. Fasting is a common way to detoxify. Rather than going sans food or any type of nourishment, with a juice fast, you get all of the vitamins and minerals of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables readily absorbed into your body.

For a juice fast, you need a good juicer and lots of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Because the only nourishment you’re getting is from juice, you will be consuming it more frequently – every couple of hours. You can also supplement a juice fast with nourishing bone broth.

In Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Dr. Haas says that this type of cleanse helps eliminate waste and old or dead cells. Restoring and building new tissue is easier because of the easily accessible nutrients from the juices.

Juice fasting is not something to be done long-term – Haas’s own cleansing program is 10 days long. He advises working out the details with your healthcare provider. However, doing a juice fast for at least 3 days will help remove toxins from your body and prepare your body to build itself back up, especially with a shift to a healthier lifestyle.

Image by Casey Serin

Elimination Diet

Another way to cleanse/detoxify is through an elimination diet, one in which you eliminate several types of food that could cause intolerances/inflammation in your body for a certain period of time.

Programs, like the Whole 30 challenge, recommend removing foods like: grains, dairy, soy, sugar and white potatoes for at least 30 days to help your body begin healing from damage caused by certain food. The focus is on consuming nourishing fruits and vegetables, grass-fed/pasture-raised/free-range organic meats, nuts and seeds and plenty of water. After 30 days (or longer) you add foods in, one at a time, to see how your body reacts.

This kind of approach can take 1 to 7 days for you to feel the positive effects of doing so. If you have any concerns about how you’re body will react (ie, you have a chronic condition) check with a healthcare provider who is knowledgable about health and nutrition.

Overall Lifestyle Change

Of course, there are more subtle ways to cleanse your body, too. You can focus on removing/adding things gradually, like making one change a week.

Focus on eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, getting more sleep, finding healthier meat and dairy sources and exercising – but not all at once. (Tomorrow I’ll be sharing several tips on cleansing your body through changing your lifestyle that aren’t quite as “drastic”).

Now, there are a few things you should know before you start cleansing your body. And before you do that, I want you to be sure that you’re body can handle a cleanse. In other words, will it be safe for you to only drink juice or stop eating grains for a short period of time or do you have a condition that a cleanse needs to be modified for? Use your best judgement here and consult with your healthcare provider if you need to.

That said, here are common results people report from a cleanse.

What to expect from a cleanse

Withdrawal symptoms: This is the least fun part. While you’re body is detoxifying, you’ll probably goes through withdrawals – from sugar, coffee or all those refined carbs. Keep going. It will end. The headaches will go away and you’ll feel better soon.

Need more rest: Sleep is a vital part of health that’s often overlooked. While you’re cleansing, be sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and try to take a few 15-minute rest breaks throughout the day.

Need even more water: While you’re flushing toxins out, be sure you’re getting plenty of water. If you don’t, the toxins won’t be adequately flushed and, as in my case, your skin will pay for it. Hello acne.

Increased energy: One of the best side-effects of nourishing your body and eliminating toxins is energy! Many report waking up easily and having way more energy throughout the day.

Clearing up of previous symptoms: After a week or so, you’ll notice symptoms going away. My gluten-induced rash was almost gone after the first week of an elimination diet.

Consider this your pre-pregnancy cleansing primer. Tomorrow, I’ll be discussing simple, effective tips for incorporating cleansing into your everyday life so you can create healthy habits for the future.

Have you done a cleanse before? How did it impact your health?

 

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8 Comments

  1. […] As I stated in my first blog, my pregnancy was a SURPRISE! I didn’t even think I could get pregnant (Close your eyes guys) with abnormal periods! I hadn’t had one in 6 months! …or longer. Had this been a planned pregnancy, and I knew that I was “doing it” to get pregnant I would have started changing my diet tremendously to cleanse. I really like what she says here: http://www.benjamintietje.com/modernalternativepregnancy/2013/01/09/how-and-why-you-should-cleanse-or-detoxify-before-p… […]

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  2. Ovulation plays an important role in making you achieve your goals. Know your cycle and figure out when ovulation occurs in your body. It is probably the best time to have sex and let sperms meet the released egg. Different women have different cycles and ovulate mostly in between the whole cycle, so it might take some months for you to figure out exactly when you ovulate. Ovulation kits are also available in market to help you predict those important days. Once you know this, having sex on these days increase your chances to get pregnant.

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  3. I have been trying to conceive for the last six years. During that time I became pregnant a couple of times, but they resulted in a miscarriage. This was three miscarriage. The doctors said that they saw an empty amniotic sac, but no baby I could not understand what was going on. Last year I had a surgery done to remove a fibroid that was growing on my left ovary, the fibroid damaged my left ovary that the doctor had to remove my left ovary leaving me with a right ovary. I am now 33 years old and I worried if I’ll ever have any children, I thought I need to hurry and try to have one fast. I went on-line in search of a product that would help me conceive fast until i met Dr. Miracle on the internet who help to cast a spell that make me conceive a baby contact him on miracleofwonders@gmail.com or call him on +2347060552255

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  4. Thanks for your article. I just started a 3-day juice cleanse and plan to try and get pregnant next month. One question – should I continue to take prenatal pills while cleansing? Thank you!

    Reply

  5. […] I gave the low-down on cleansing before pregnancy, including a couple of options for a more intense cleansing. But those aren’t your only […]

    Reply

  6. […] How and Why You Should Cleanse or Detoxify Before Pregnancy […]

    Reply

  7. […] One key way to balance your hormones is to lower your exposure to toxins. But what about toxins that are already in your body? Cleansing can flush them out, enabling your body to begin healing and get back in balance. Cleanse and detoxify […]

    Reply

  8. […] One key way to balance your hormones is to lower your exposure to toxins. But what about toxins that are already in your body? Cleansing can flush them out, enabling your body to begin healing and get back in balance. Cleanse and detoxify […]

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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