Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
My husband and I want to have a baby. What are some of the things we can do to ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy?
A: In general, as you prepare your body to conceive, the most important thing is to keep it clean (mind and body), well nourished, and stress-free. You must prepare yourself mentally and physically to become a mother. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, conception relies on an abundant supply of blood and essence, as well as healthy internal organs, especially the lungs. Lungs are susceptible to heat (smoking, coffee, and other irritants) and sorrow (sadness, loss, and crying). This, of course, applies to both of you, although for your husband, more yang (fire) energies are appropriate.
I am including some specific advice below:
For both of you: Do not overwork or work long hours without proper rest. Avoid stress, maintain regular diets, and do not engage in strenuous exercise. Avoid excessive consumption of cold, iced foods and drinks, meaning no iced teas or iced water. Do not eat greasy, fried foods. No Alcohol. Dairy should be moderate and wholesome.
For you: Incorporate these foods into your diet: beets, litchi fruit, chicken eggs, lamb (once per month), Chinese dates (red kinds are better), red grapes, mulberry, sweet rice, lycii fruits, tofu, and milk. Keep your lower back warm. Some herbs you should take include Rhemannia and Chinese angelica root.
For your husband: He should engage in a more moderate physical activity. No smoking. Incorporate these foods into his diet; scallions, scallion seeds, lamb, sea cucumber, rooster, black beans, kidney beans, yams, lycii fruits, and walnuts. He needs to conserve and build his essence, so no excess sexual activity, (excluding, of course, at the appropriate times.)
During conception, do not drink alcohol, overeat, or be in any way stressed, angry, or sad. If you have the opportunity, consult an acupuncturist, who may be able to give you more specific recommendations based on your current state of health.
You may also find these specially formulated Traditions of Tao herbal supplements helpful in aiding conception: “Women’s Wellness”, “Enduring Youth”, “Yang Exhaustion”, “Passages Plus”, and “Feminine Desire”; for your husband, “Dragon Male”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.