Diet and nutrition play a big part in one’s ability to conceive and ensure a healthy pregnancy. According to research, at least one in every six women have infertility for a variety of different reasons.
Although there are several different causes of infertility in females, which can range from thyroid conditions, problems with ovarian function, anaemia and structural abnormalities such as fibroids, endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes, there can also be deficits in a woman’s nutrition which can hinder the chances of becoming pregnant.
A lack of proper nutrition has been found to cause a range of health problems which can impact of fertility. Lacking in essential nutrients can cause problems with hormone production and function, affect the health of a woman’s eggs and affect ovulation. Through a lack of crucial vitamins, a person’s overall well-being can also be affected and can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, raised stress levels and an increased chance of anxiety and depression.
Focusing on the right foods can help improve your chances of getting pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby. This means ditching fast and convenient foods and going for more healthy, whole and organic options which will provide you with a good amount of vitamins that are essential for a healthy conception to occur.
Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, folic acids, high-quality amino acids, omega3 fatty acids, and other minerals are therefore recommended.
Your body needs these essential nutrients to produce hormones such as LH, oestrogen and progesterone, which are needed for conception, among others.
These hormones help trigger ovulation – hence they are a vital part of the conception process. Some of the foods to include in your diet plan include lean meat, tuna, salmon, oysters, spinach, broccoli, beets, apples, grapes, blueberries, cabbages, arrowroots, avocado, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, legumes, chicken and turkey, to name but a few.
Including a range of these foods in your diet plan can help boost your fertility over time. You, however, need to stay away from processed and fast foods, as these contain additives and other chemical compounds that could alter normal hormone levels and affect their production.
Here are the most important vitamins that you need to make sure you are getting to improve your chances of fertility.
Fertility Supplements To Consider Taking
Folic acid is one of the most important vitamins for a healthy pregnancy. A lack of this vitamin has been found to cause a range of abnormalities such as cleft lips, defects of the limbs, neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, congenital heart defects and problems with the urinary tract.
If there is a lack of folic acid, then there is a considerable risk of the pregnant woman going into early labour or having other complications such as preeclampsia or placental abruption.
Iron is an essential nutrient for the body and can lead to ovulation issues if deficient. Women typically become iron deficient during pregnancy, so it is important that you stay on top of your iron intake. Check with your doctor if you think you may be iron deficient before taking a supplement, so they can advise on the right dose for you.
This important vitamin helps to boost the immune system and has also been found to increase the chances of fertility in women who suffer from luteal phase defect.
During the luteal phase, which occurs after ovulation, the lining of the womb thickens ready for the potential implantation of a fertilised egg. If a woman has luteal phase defect, then the lining of the womb fails to thicken sufficiently, making it difficult to fall or stay pregnant. This is often due to a lack of progesterone production and iron absorption, which is helped by Vitamin C.
Vitamin D is necessary for the body to be able to produce hormones that are essential to healthy ovulation. Vitamin D may also play a part in maintaining a good hormonal balance.
Zinc is a very important vitamin for fertility in both males and females. For women, zinc assists in keeping a balance between oestrogen and progesterone and supports the division of cells during the early phases of foetal development.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a lack of zinc can be a contributing factor in early miscarriage. Furthermore, a zinc deficiency can cause changes at the chromosome levels which can impact fertility.
The B vitamins also play an active part in fertility and particularly assist with regular and healthy ovulation. Vitamin B6 is a known for its role in regulating hormones. Therefore it can help in cases of premenstrual syndrome.
Another important B family vitamin for female fertility is B12, which also maintains regular ovulation. Studies have shown that a deficiency of B12 can cause the ovulation cycle to become out of balance nad even lead to amenorrhea in severe cases. B12 may also contribute to nourishing the lining of the endometrium at the time of fertilization.
Selenium is an antioxidant with a protective function in the way that it defends a woman’s eggs from damage by free radicals. A build up of free radicals in the body can lead to chromosomal damage, which can cause birth defects and miscarriages.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These ‘good fats’ are crucial for a healthy reproductive system as they also assist in the healthy functioning of various hormones necessary for conception.
It is important not to just add these supplements to your regimen without discovering what your current levels are. Book an appointment with your doctor to find out if you need to take a supplement as they will be able to advise you on the right dosage for you.
Maca is a powerful herb most commonly taken in powdered form and is effective at balancing the hormones in women. Maca can be taken by both men and women to assist fertility, but women should only take Maca between the menses and the ovulation phase and is not to be take once pregnant.
Should You Take Prenatal and Pregnancy Supplements?
Although prenatal supplements are usually given to pregnant mothers, you can also take these to boost your fertility levels. These supplements can help to maximize the chances of ovulation and enrich the uterus.
Although a woman who is trying to conceive would usually benefit from taking these supplements, the man too should consider taking zinc and omega 3 fatty acids as well as other supplements such as L-Arginine and L-Carnitine to boost his sperm count and function.
When considering taking any additional supplements for fertility, always consult your doctor first to find out precisely which ones are good for you. Furthermore, if you are already taking medication, then you should also consult your doctor before taking any additional supplements or herbs, as some may affect your medication or cause adverse effects. Your doctor should be able to advise you in this case.