Increasing fertility starts with having a good supply of the nutrients and foods that you need before you can get pregnant. You need to have a daily balanced diet, preferably at every meal. A balanced diet is important at all times, but the nutrients for fertility are essential during and before pregnancy.
A Balanced Diet
The food you eat is the primary source of energy and nutrition for your baby. Start eating healthier foods months before you try to get pregnant so that by the time you conceive, your and your baby’s demands for nutrition can be met. Remember, a mother’s body is designed to nourish the child.
If you have poor reserves of nutrients for fertility, they will be further depleted when you get pregnant because your body will prioritize your baby’s nutrition. If you are already eating nutrients for fertility before conception, you will only have minor improvements to make (an increase in vegetable servings, perhaps) when you finally conceive.
Increase your intake of plant proteins and avoid fast food. Eat lots of organic fruit and vegetables each day. If you cannot manage daily servings, then supplement your diet with multivitamins, but remember – multivitamins are NOT SUBSTITUTES for a balanced meal. Drink around 8 to 10 glasses of filtered water a day. Keep your body hydrated but choose fresh pressed vegetable juices over processed ones or sodas.
Smoking and Alcohol
Stop smoking and keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. Don’t take any over-the-counter medicines without checking first on their safety during pregnancy. Isotretinoin, for example, is a drug commonly prescribed to treat acne. It is generally safe, but when taken during pregnancy it may cause miscarriage or birth abnormalities. Consult first with your Naturopath before taking any kind of medication, whether it is herbal or drugs.
A fetus’ nutritional requirements are huge during the first three months of pregnancy. For normal development your baby needs large amounts of nutrients for fertility, and this includes the important nutrient folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin which prevents malformations. Common defects found in babies deficient in folic acid are brain abnormalities and spinal cord problems. Folic acid may also prevent your baby from developing cleft lip, congenital heart problems and other birth defects.
Folic acid is found in green, leafy vegetables, oranges, beans and in some folic acid enriched breads and cereals. The concentration in these foods, however, may not be enough to supply the daily requirements before and during pregnancy, so you should take a Folic acid supplement when considering nutrients for fertility.
Folic acid can be very effective in preventing neural tube defects when taken at least 3 months prior to conception. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that every woman should take 0.4 mg of Folic acid per day. The dosage can be increased when you are planning to get pregnant.
If you have previously given birth to a child with neural tube defects, there is a higher risk of giving birth to another child with the same problem. In this case, you should take at least 4 mg of Folic acid a day for 1 month before trying to get pregnant and during the first 3 months of pregnancy. This is actually ten times the usual daily requirement.
It is better to take Folic acid as a single supplement than as a multivitamin in order to avoid an overdose of other vitamins, some of which are potentially dangerous if taken in large doses during pregnancy. For example, Vitamin A can cause severe birth abnormalities if the recommended doses are exceeded during pregnancy.
Many women do not realize they are pregnant until they are several weeks into the pregnancy. As a result, nutrient deficiencies may have already developed by the time they change their diet.
A properly planned pregnancy together with a change to an adequate well-balanced diet and nutrients for fertility at least four months before conception can increase your fertility.
Iva Keene is co-founder, creator and award-winning author of the NFP Program and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Health Science in Naturopathy and a Master Degree in Reproductive Medicine. She has been a qualified and internationally accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 15 years. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva’s articles, videos, guides, and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols, and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments, and integrative reproductive health.