We had the honor of chatting with Loren Sofía, a functional fertility coach who specializes in helping women get healthy pre and post pregnancy. Check out our interview below to learn how to support your body throughout motherhood.
Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what inspired you to focus on pre and postnatal nutrition?
My name is Loren Sofía and I’m a Functional Fertility Coach. My mission is to empower women and men with the tools and knowledge to optimize their fertility and wellbeing to put their best foot forward as they step into pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood that will have positive ripple effects into future generations. My methodology is rooted in deep understanding and respect for the physiology of the body, combining the wisdom of traditional nutrition with a bio-energetic, pro-metabolic, and bio-individual approach. Through my eCourses, guides, and coaching, I have helped almost 2,000 couples make the magical transition to parenthood.
There are quite a few things that inspired me to specifically focus on the pre- and postnatal field. I had a horrible experience on and coming off the hormonal birth control pill, consisting of long periods, anovulation, hypothyroidism, candida, pre-diabetes, melasma, hair loss, acne, and other issues. This led me to take my health into my own hands and become a shepherd to help others do the same. I also knew I wanted to start a family in the near future and wanted to avoid preeclampsia, which my mother had twice (once with me and another time with my youngest brother, who was born two months early). My clients also started to transform their fertility while working together, so much so that they were getting pregnant on the first try — even over 40! And the more I dove into the topic of preventing pregnancy complications, the more I discovered how your health at the time of conception had the potential to impact not just your babies’s health, but their babies’ health. And I saw the impact of this directly in my practice. My clients were shocked at how much smoother their pregnancies were (no annoying symptoms like morning sickness, fatigue, etc.), but also at how much healthier their subsequent children were after working with me. The fact that I get to help secure healthier pregnancies for my clients, but help them create healthier generations is always magic I'll never be able to fully wrap my head around.
You just came out with a pregnancy prep course to help women prepare for pregnancy. What are some top foods you recommend women to implement in their diet to prepare for a baby?
There are many, but I would say there are two that I would really like to see more of in most women’s pregnancy prep diets. And those are organ meats and seafood. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, especially liver, but also things like kidney, heart, sweetbreads, tripe, tongue, etc. Our ancestors prized these meats for their nutrient-density and it was often required that couples consume these for a specific amount of time before conceiving. Seafood is another amazing nutrient-dense group of foods that contains many baby-making nutrients. Just a few servings a week has been shown to improve libido and decrease time to pregnancy. Definitely don’t skip this food group if you’re thinking about starting your family.
How does what we put on our bodies, like cosmetics, impact our fertility?
Oh my, where do I begin! Cosmetics contain an array chemicals, including PFCs and PFAs (aka “forever chemicals”), and exposure to these is associated with an increased risk of infertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, diminished ovarian reserve, PCOS, endometriosis, and hypothyroidism (which plays a role in fertility too). Makeup can also contain parabens, which are used as preservatives, and exposure is associated with endometriosis, high follicle stimulating hormone and low anti mullerian hormone, and longer time to conception. Makeup that contains “fragrance” will also use this as a catch-all for chemicals, including parabens but other hormone-disrupting chemicals like phthalates, since the law doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose what’s in fragrance. A lot of makeup can also contain heavy metals, which also mess with your hormones and exposure is linked to fertility issues and reproductive conditions.
The average cosmetic consumer is exposed to 126 unique chemicals per day. Some companies estimate that this number is actually as high as 500+. And that we absorb about 5 lbs of dry chemicals into our skin per year. While we do have regulatory bodies in place, they cannot keep up with the number of new chemicals being created every day. And we didn’t even cover the impacts of this on pregnancy and the health of your baby.
While makeup is not the only source of these chemicals, it can really add up and I encourage anyone who is able to reduce exposure wherever they can. Including by investing in high-quality, truly toxin-free cosmetics.
From your experience, what is the number one thing women get wrong with prepping their body for a baby?
I’ll give you two! First, they wait too long. It’s so common to wait until a month or two before you’re ready to conceive. But if you’re going to make true impacts to your egg quality, progesterone levels, etc., not to mention, sustainable changes that you can take with you into pregnancy, pregnancy prep should begin before that. And it shouldn’t be an arbitrary number, but an amount of time based on your goals, your personal health history, your past and current diet, any previous pregnancy complications, and other factors.
The second thing women get wrong when prepping their body for a baby is they try to boil the ocean. There is helpful information out there, but does it apply to you? By trying to do everything that everyone says, you can end up completely overwhelmed and even confused, especially because a lot of the information is contradictory. It’s really important to get clear on what you need to do to support your body so that you can ensure optimal outcomes for your pregnancy and baby — not what someone else’s idea of this is for you. So that you’re not wasting time and money on things that don’t matter, and so that you can start focusing your energy on the things that are actually going to support your fertility, pregnancy, and baby’s health. This is what I help my students get clear on, so they can get pregnant intentionally, but also efficiently. Because you don’t want to be spending time or money on things you don’t have to.
For postpartum mama's, what are the top 2 things you would recommend them to do to heal their bodies?
I think it’s extremely important to not jump into a restrictive diet or intense workout routine. I see this way too often in my practice and while aesthetic results may be exciting, you can end up paying for it later. Whether it’s immediate like low milk supply, erratic cycles and postpartum hypothyroidism. Or later on like weight loss resistance, secondary infertility and Hashimoto’s. Your body has just done the most physically (and often mentally) demanding thing it will ever do in its lifetime. It took 9 months for you to create your baby. To expect your body to go back to the way it was and in this time or less is asking a lot. :)
Also, take time to acknowledge and embrace the new version of yourself. Whether you’ve just had your first or your third baby, it’s always a transformative experience and you will not be the same person compared to when you started pregnancy. I think this gets overlooked and we can end up with a lot of repressed emotions that don’t let us show up in the way that we want to for our baby, or for ourselves. Giving ourselves grace, speaking to ourselves kindly, and providing the mental space to adjust to this hugely new chapter can make everything else that comes with it a little less overwhelming.
To learn more about prenatal and postnatal wellness follow Loren Sofía on Instagram (@innate_fertility), visit her website (innatefertility.org), and join her pregnancy prep eCourse, (Conscious Conception).