This week, LetsGetChecked speaks with Christine Maren D.O. about her top tips for getting pregnant.
Christine Maren D.O. is a functional medicine physician with a background in family medicine. She is the founder of a high-tech, innovative medical practice. Dr. Maren’s personal health challenges with chronic digestive issues, autoimmunity, hypothyroidism, gluten intolerance and recurrent pregnancy loss motivated her to study functional medicine which is a form of integrative medicine. In the lead up to Mother’s Day, Dr. Maren spoke to LetsGetChecked about the fundamentals of pregnancy and motherhood, having recently welcomed a baby girl to the family.
There are so many women struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss. I think we can support each-other and learn from one another. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not the only one.
Tips for getting pregnant with Dr. Christine Maren
You are open about your struggles with pregnancy. Do you think it's important to share your story in ensuring that other women don't feel alone in their pregnancy issues?
Absolutely. What I learned very intimately was that miscarriage is something many women have experienced but tend not to talk about it. I also think there can be solutions that many doctors don’t necessarily address, whether that is optimizing thyroid function or addressing things like optimal dietary vitamin intake.
When was the turning point in taking a “functional medicine” approach to your work and way of life?
Recurrent pregnancy loss. My health issues took centre stage when my husband and I tried for a second child and suffered from recurrent miscarriages. At one point, I was seeing an internist gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, gynaecologist and fertility specialist. While I believe these doctors had my best interests at heart, the toolbox of conventional medicine did not have answers to my deeper questions.
I felt heartbroken and scared because recurrent pregnancy loss reinforced to me that something was wrong with my body.
I was motivated more than ever to make some drastic changes and my family was 100% behind me. Professionally and personally, this was when I started learning about functional medicine.
What essential nutrients do you recommend to women who are trying to conceive?
- A high-quality prenatal vitamin with iron in the form of ferrous bisglycinate and “activated” or “methylated” folate (i.e. methylfolate or 5-MTHF)
- Omega 3 fatty acids: especially DHA
- Phosphatidylcholine: Choline plays a critical role in fetal development, especially the brain and spinal cord
- Probiotics: help to reduce bad bacteria in the body
- Vitamin D - most people need supplementation to maintain optimal levels, especially during pregnancy
Honorable mention goes to magnesium and calcium. I especially recommend adding calcium in the third trimester and during lactation to prevent bone breakdown.
What are the fundamentals of positive well-being while trying to conceive?
I think of a healthy diet as a foundation for everything. Whole, organic, fresh foods, clean protein, and healthy fats. However, a proper diet alone can’t overcome other issues like over and underactive thyroid function. For people who are having issues with pregnancy loss or infertility, it’s ideal to work with someone who can help identify underlying problems.
If you could give one piece of advice to new mothers and mums to be, what would it be?
Take a nap! Get as much help as you can! I am in the thick of it right now with a beautiful baby girl. But this is my third time around, and I finally realize I need extra help and time to nap. Ultimately, this helps me take better care of myself and my family.
Monitor Your Health With LetsGetChecked
Becoming a mother is a different experience for everyone. At LetsGetChecked, we want to help you, every step of the way. You can purchase a range of tests from LetsGetChecked that covers fertility screening, vitamin tests and thyroid health. You can get more information.
From your heart to your hormones and your vitamins to your vitality, LetsGetChecked offers convenient and confidential health tests to everybody, for every body. Using your personalized online profile, you can monitor every aspect of your well-being. Simply order your test online. Self-collect your sample at home. Return your sample to our accredited laboratories in a pre-paid self-addressed envelope.
Receive your results in 2-5 days. LetsGetChecked will support you, every step of the way. If your results are positive or outside a normal range, a fully certified doctor or nurse from the LetsGetChecked medical team will guide you through a personalized treatment program.
It’s good to know.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley