When it comes to getting pregnant, what you eat and the quality of your diet can have a significant influence. A healthy reproductive system requires consistent nutrition so if becoming pregnant has so far not been straightforward for you, then you should pay close attention to your diet.
In this guide on the fertility diet, you will discover certain foods that are dense in nutrition and contain nutrients required for fetus development, egg health, blood health, sperm health and overall well-being. You will also discover certain foods that should be avoided to improve chances of getting pregnant.
What Is the Fertility Diet?
The fertility diet may be defined as a diet that has been specifically designed to boost fertility and improve the chances of a person getting pregnant.
While nutrition is important, you also need to focus on weight control as being overweight or underweight can negatively affect your fertility. One study found that women considered obese with a BMI of 25 to 39 took twice as long to get pregnant than women who have a BMI within the normal range of 18.5 to 24.9. Conversely, women with a BMI of less than 19 took almost four times as long to become pregnant. This shows that being both over or underweight can have a significant impact on fertility for females.
Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Here is a list of the foods you should include and which ones you should be avoiding if you are trying to conceive.
Foods to Eat To Help With Conception
Lots of Organic Vegetables and Fruits
Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of a variety of vitamins and micronutrients. It is important to get enough of these nutrients if you are trying to conceive. Certain vitamins such as vitamins C and E help in the production of healthy sperm and eggs. These vitamins are rich in antioxidants that prevent damage to cells. You can find vitamins C and E in citrus fruits, spinach, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, almonds and many other foods.
Cold Water Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients for fertility. The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is seafood. These fatty acids have a positive effect on fertility as these help to improve egg quality, regulating ovulation and delaying ageing of the ovaries. Omega-3s are also helpful for the baby’s brain and eye development.
It is important to stay away from deep water fish such as shark, tilefish, swordfish, tuna and Chilean sea bass as they may have high concentrations of mercury. Instead, you should include cold water fish such as Alaskan halibut, cod and Alaskan salmon in your diet.
The FDA says that eating up to 12 ounces of fish a week is safe for women who are trying to conceive.
Whole grains are dense in nutrients such as iron, some micro vitamins and fiber. Therefore, it’s a great place to start when it comes to including nutrient-rich foods in your diet.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, then it is important for you to consult your doctor to discover the cause of infertility. With an accurate diagnosis, one will be more able to effectively tailor a diet plan for your needs. As an example, one of the most common causes of infertility in women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal imbalance which can get worse with insulin spikes.
Refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice and white bread may cause insulin spikes which may worsen PCOS. Insulin spikes may lead to irregular ovulation and decrease the chances of conception.
Folate and Iron
Folic acid is a necessary vitamin for pregnancy as it helps in preventing congenital heart defects, urinary tract anomalies in developing fetuses as well as neural tube defects. Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of low birth weight and preterm labour. It may also lead to pregnancy complications such as placental abruption and spontaneous abortion.
Some of the good food sources of folate include spinach, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, liver, navy beans and black beans among others.
Deficiency in iron increases the risk of lack of ovulation and may also lead to poor egg health which in turn can inhibit pregnancy. Some of the good food sources for iron include navy beans, beets, molasses, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and sesame seeds among others.
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine and Alcohol
If you are an avid coffee drinker, you may need to reduce your intake as caffeine is known to affect hormonal balance which may increase the chances of a miscarriage. High caffeine intake may also prevent you from ovulating.
Ideally, you should avoid caffeine at least until your third trimester and even then you should consume it only on rare occasions. Similarly, alcohol should be avoided as it not only inhibits fertility but may also end a pregnancy.
Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars
These may cause insulin levels to fluctuate which affects the productivity of eggs. Processed sugars also put the mother at risk for gestation diabetes which may lead to development issues in the fetus. Trans fat consumption should also be closely observed and limited to less than 2g a day.
Soy Foods and Processed Meats
Soy foods contain xenohormones which upset the hormonal balance and may damage eggs. Similarly, processed meats also contain trace amounts of oestrogen that may upset the hormonal balance. You should avoid these foods to improve the chances of getting pregnant.
Overall, the fertility diet affects the entire body including your hormonal balance, menstrual health, immune system balance, digestion and egg health. Ideally, you should make the fertility diet a part of your lifestyle as it will not only enhance your chances of getting pregnant but will also have an overall positive effect on your health and well-being.
Diet and nutrition play a very important role in fertility, and you should carefully follow the tips mentioned above to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
As mentioned previously, if you are having issues with conception then you should always consult your doctor to find out what is causing the issue. Always follow your doctor’s advice above anything else when it comes to your health. Seeking the help of a qualified nutritionist is also highly recommended as they will be able to tailor a dite plan specifically for you.