How To Create A Successful Fertility Diet
Creating a successful fertility diet is simple: focus on fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Eat a rainbow of produce and avoid fast foods.
Studies show that the Mediterranean diet pattern significantly increases the for women undergoing IVF, probably because it includes nearly all of the above. The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy fats, fruits, veggies, fiber from whole grains, and lean proteinssound familiar?
That said, getting started isn’t always easy if you feel like you have a lot of changes to make. We have a free hormone-balancing starter kit. It includes a seven-day meal plan and recipe guide to help you get on track with fertility-boosting eating habits.
Optimize Vaginal Health Use A Sperm
Vaginal dryness is more common than we may think. In a study across 11 countries involving over 6,500 women, up to 18% of women aged 1834 years reported always or usually experiencing vaginal dryness4. This can be worse when trying to conceive as there is a tendency to have lots of baby-making sex. Some of the most commonly available lubricants can be harmful to sperm so be sure to use a sperm-friendly lubricant.If you have any abnormal vaginal discharge, it is worth speaking to your doctor. Common vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, can be treated easily and make trying for a baby easier.
Recommended Folate Intake During Pregnancy
Folate requirements increase during pregnancy. There is a dramatic acceleration in cell division and red blood cell development as the uterus enlarges, the placenta develops, maternal blood volume expands, and the fetus grows . The mother also transfers folate to the fetus . Evidence supports a RDA of 600 mcg DFEs per day to maintain normal folate status during pregnancy .
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Why Take Prenatal Vitamins Before You Are Pregnant
What is the main reason to start taking prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant? Its for the folate. Folate supports early neural tube development from the time of conception and in the first 3-4 weeks after conception. This important time is when babys brain and spine start to form. Since folate takes some time to build up in the body and since most women dont know theyre pregnant until around 2 weeks after conception , taking folate regularly before pregnancy can help avoid a gap. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that women who could get pregnant should be taking the equivalent of 400 mcg of folate daily.
Another reason to take prenatal vitamins before pregnancy is to start building the habit! Add prenatals into your regimen today, and when youre pregnant it will already be a solid part of your self-care.
Role Of Micronutrients In Fertility
Because fertility is a complex equation, and each persons body is different, the science around micronutrients and conception is still, shall we say, in its infancy.
That said, some promising studies have begun to shed light on the role of vitamins in getting and staying pregnant.
Vitamins play important roles in female health. Theyre essential for many functions, including:
- menstruation and ovulation
- immune function
- oocyte quality and maturation
So, adequate vitamin and mineral intake is critical when trying to create the right environment for a healthy pregnancy. Some nutrients may even reduce symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome , a common underlying cause of infertility.
Its important to remember, though, that more research is needed.
Weve broken down some of the most popular supplements for fertility, with the deets on their use, effectiveness, and dosage.
Who its for: Men and women
Claimed fertility benefit: Helps sperm motility contains antioxidants that promote healthy female reproductive system
When you think vitamins, acetyl L-carnitine may not be the first to spring to mind. But that doesnt mean it shouldnt be on your radar.
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What Are The Best Foods To Eat When Trying To Conceive
As studies have found that high levels of insulin appear to inhibit ovulation, it is wise to avoid eating refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and cakes, which our bodies digest quickly and turn into blood sugar. Instead, stick to more complex good carbs, which contain plenty of fibre, such as wholegrains and beans. These carbs are digested more slowly, having a more stabilising effect on insulin and blood sugar.
When trying for a baby, it is therefore important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that has plenty of good quality protein, fruit and vegetables and is low in saturated fats and high in fibre. Lean organic poultry, quinoa, beans, seeds, nuts and tofu provide a healthy source of protein for women trying to conceive.
Can you get all the vitamins you need to get pregnant in your diet?
Even if you are consuming a healthy, nutritional, well-balanced diet, you still may want to take vitamins or fertility supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet that may help you conceive and, if you do become pregnant, are important for healthy foetal development.
Male Fertility Antioxidant Supplements
For men hoping to increase fertility, the goal is to make sure sperm are healthy. Antioxidant supplements can help. Researchers studied 101 infertile men who had abnormal semen.13 The men used an antioxidant supplement from Fairhaven Health called FH PRO. It contains L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10 , vitamin E, lycopene, N-acetyl L-cysteine, vitamins A, D3, C, and K, B-complex vitamins, iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, grape seed extract, benfotiamine, and L-arginine. After three months of taking FH PRO three times every day, the men experienced a 33% increase in sperm count.
Sperm motilitytheir ability to move and swim toward the female eggincreased by 122%. The sperm also had a healthier shape after the men supplemented with the antioxidant formula. When sperm are attacked by free radicals, their DNA breaks apart. The antioxidant fertility supplement caused the DNA fragmentation rate to take a 20% nosedive.Learn more about the FH PRO for Men sperm analysis studies.
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Take Vitamins And Folic Acid
Take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid.
- Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects, especially problems with the babys spine.
- Start taking a vitamin with folic acid before you want to get pregnant.
- Avoid high doses of any vitamin, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins can cause birth defects if you take more than the normal recommended daily amounts. Regular pregnancy prenatal vitamins do not have excessively high doses of any vitamin.
When Do I Need To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.
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Supplements During Pregnancy: Whats Safe And Whats Not
If youre pregnant, you may think that feeling overwhelmed and confused comes with the territory. But it doesnt have to be so confusing when it comes to vitamins and supplements.
If you did your extra credit work, we bet you already know that high mercury seafood, alcohol, and cigarettes are off-limits during pregnancy. What may surprise you is that some vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements should be avoided as well.
Information on which supplements are safe and which arent varies and can make things feel even more complicated. Weve got you, though.
This article breaks down which supplements are believed to be safe to take during pregnancy and why some supplements should be avoided.
Getting the right nutrients is important at every stage of life, but its especially critical during pregnancy, as youll need to nourish both yourself and your growing babe.
The Importance Of Prenatal Nutrition
Meeting your daily nutrient needs during pregnancy is necessary to keep up with your rapidly changing maternal metabolism.
Of course, maternal nutrition is essential for healthy fetal growth and development. In fact, theres growing research that suggests the effects of prenatal nutrition can trickle into adulthood.
For that reason, its important to learn about necessary vitamins for pregnant women, as well as additional supplement and macronutrient needs.
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Vitamins That Help You Get Pregnant Faster
Can the taking of any type of vitamin or supplement actually help you conceive a child faster than those who dont take vitamins? Can vitamins actually increase your fertility? The answer is yes if you ask experts at the Texas Fertility Center. According to fertility specialists, you need a good nutritional status in order to help your body conceive a child. This seems to hold true of both men and women.
For women, it may mean just taking a good prenatal vitamin. Research has indicated that taking a prenatal vitamin can not only decrease your chances of having a preterm birth and decrease your chances of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, but it can maximize your fertility.
In one recent study, women who were trying to get pregnant through fertility treatments got pregnant faster than women who didnt take prenatal vitamins. In fact, the participants who took prenatal vitamins had a doubling of their chances of becoming pregnant when compared to participants who just took folic acid prior to conceiving.
What this means is that it is possible to get pregnant faster if you take a prenatal vitamin, although research hasnt been done on women who arent undergoing fertility treatments and who take a prenatal vitamin. Prenatal vitamins can be purchased over the counter and cant hurt you, even if you take them while not pregnant.
These particular vitamins have the ability to enhance your fertility. You can take them alone or as a part of the total prenatal pill package:
If You Still Have A Negative Result
Sometimes, life doesnt go according to plan. You might try to get pregnant for a long time and keep getting disappointing results from pregnancy tests. You might wonder whether youre trying the right sex positions for conception, or if it just isnt meant to be.
Many people have to try for several months before getting a positive pregnancy test result.
If you think your partner may have some fertility issues or health concerns, you still have several options for growing your family.
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Get To Know Your Cycle
How much do you know about your menstrual cycle? Really understanding helps you know when youre most fertile, says Hillard.Ovulationis the best time to get pregnant. This is the time to focus on having sex, Hillard says.
It helps to become aware of the signs of ovulation, such as a change in your cervical mucus. It usually becomes thin and slippery when you are most fertile. Some women may also feel a one-sided twinge of pain.
Ovulation prediction kits can also help you predict the best time to get pregnant, says James Goldfarb, MD, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. Not only can they help assure you that you are ovulating, if you are having infrequent intercourse, this tells you when to have it to increase your chances of getting pregnant, he says.
Heres how it works: The first day of your menstrual period is considered day one. Start testing on day nine and keep going until you get a positive, advises Joanne Piscitelli, MD, an associate professor of gynecology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Women with a 28-day cycle tend to ovulate on day 14. But many women have longer or shorter cycles, so casting a wide net can help you be sure.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. Compared to a regular multivitamin, they have more of some nutrients that you need during pregnancy. Your health care provider may prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you, or you can buy them over the counter without a prescription. Take a prenatal vitamin every day during pregnancy. If youre planning to get pregnant, start taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant.
Your body uses vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in food to strong and healthy. During pregnancy, your growing baby gets all necessary nutrients from you. So you may need more during pregnancy than you did before. If youre pregnant with multiples , you may need more nutrients than if youre pregnant with one baby. Your prenatal vitamin contains the right amount of nutrients you need during pregnancy.
If youre a vegetarian, have food allergies or cant eat certain foods, your provider may want you to take a supplement to help you get more of certain nutrients. A supplement is a product you take to make up for certain nutrients that you dont get enough of in foods you eat. For example, your provider may recommend that you take a vitamin supplement to help you get more vitamin D, iron or calcium.
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Promoting The Use Of Folic Acid Supplementation
According to Canadian survey data, 58% of women said they took a multivitamin containing folic acid or a folic acid supplement in the three months before becoming pregnant . It has been shown that the use of supplements is influenced by economic status and educational background . For instance, the use of folic acid supplements before pregnancy in Canada was lowest among women in lower-income households, among women with less than high school graduation, and among immigrant mothers . Women with unplanned pregnancies, mothers under the age of 25 and single mothers are also less likely to supplement with folic acid .
Although the majority of Canadian women take folic acid supplements in the three months before pregnancy, continued public health efforts are needed to promote awareness of the importance of folic acid supplementation for all women of childbearing age. To avoid increasing socio-economic inequalities in folic acid use, interventions should provide practical support to vulnerable groups .
First Things First: Why Is Taking A Prenatal Vitamin So Important
We’re all about taking a food-first approach to nutrition. That’s because foods are more than the sum of their nutrient parts all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers in whole foods work together for your optimal health.
However, many nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy aren’t readily available from food alone like vitamin D, choline, and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. These particular nutrients are not only more scarce in the food supply, but they’re also needed in higher quantities during pregnancy and lactation .
Even in resource-rich countries, people with ovaries typically dont eat enough of some of the most essential micronutrients for pregnancy. Here are three important examples:
- Folate: Even though folic acid fortification in flour products was mandated back in 1998, national data in the US estimates that nearly 20% of people with ovaries in their reproductive years are still not getting enough folate .*
- Choline: As many as 90-95% of pregnant people in the US don’t get enough choline a key B-vitamin for fetal brain development.*
- Iron: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 8 million adults with ovaries of childbearing age are deficient enough in iron to cause severe anemia.*
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Antioxidant Prenatal Supplements For Female Fertility
Many fertility doctors recommend that their patients take an antioxidant-rich prenatal supplement. By the time a woman is in her mid- to late thirties, shell have more abnormal eggs in her reserve than normal eggs. So, its critical that that women take steps to protect egg quality. By blocking free radicals before they reach the eggs in a womans ovarian reserve, antioxidants can protect the quality of eggs. For example, melatonin supplementation can improve egg maturation during IVF treatments.6 Coenzyme Q10 is another antioxidant powerhouse that can increase egg quality. In a human trial, supplementation with CoQ10 led to higher fertilization rate and more high-quality embryos.7 CoQ10 also has increased the number of ovarian follicles and improved ovulation.8
Raising levels of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals through a good prenatal vitamin helps resolve issues that may play a role in irregular cycles and unpredictable ovulation. For example, myo-inositol increases the rate of ovulation.9 N-acetyl cysteine increases ovulation and pregnancy rates.10 D-chiro-inositol is another fertility friendly nutrient, as it supports healthy insulin secretion, especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.11 When insulin levels are excessively high, it can cause problems that interfere with pregnancy. Studies also have shown D-chiro-inositol can support pregnancy-promoting levels of luteinizing hormone and LH/follicle stimulating hormone.11
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Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects
Some prenatal vitamins can cause nausea in an already nauseated pregnant woman. If that happens to you, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin that you dont have to swallow whole. Options include:
The iron in prenatal vitamins may also make you constipated. If youre constipated it can help to:
- Eat a high-fiber diet
- Exercise if your doctor says its safe for you
- Take a stool softener with your doctors OK
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