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How to Prepare for Pregnancy: Nutrients to Boost Female Fertility

Friday November 1, 2019
How to Prepare for Pregnancy: Nutrients to Boost Female Fertility

Trying for a baby? Did you know you can boost your chances of fertility with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle? As part of National Fertility Week, learn about the key nutrients to help you prepare your body for a healthy and happy pregnancy with advice from Viridian’s nutritionist Salma Dawood. 

 

Before you start for trying for a baby, it’s worth considering how you can prepare your body for pregnancy. Conception can take longer than expected and there may be other factors which can influence your likelihood of conceiving such as age and health.


Nutrients for Female Fertility

 

Monitoring your menstrual cycle is a key element to trying for a baby, however consider supporting your diet before you conceive by nourishing your body with the key nutrients to help female pro-conception. There are certain vitamins and minerals that are required at a higher amount for healthy fertility and pregnancy.

  • Iron: An essential mineral required for oxygen transport, iron is necessary for healthy fertility and pregnancy. In studies, iron supplementation preconception significantly reduced the risk of ovulatory infertility [1]. 
  • Iodine: A large proportion of the UK are iodine deficient or iodine insufficient. Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones. In pregnancy, iodine is vital for fetal cognitive development.  Therefore, it is important for females looking to conceive to achieve adequate iodine status prior to and during pregnancy.  
  • Omega 3: Essential fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, are important for reproductive hormone production, thus improving fertility and ovulation. In addition, they are vital during pregnancy to support the baby’s eye and brain development.  
  • Vitamin D: A key fat-soluble nutrient, Vitamin D plays a role in a variety of functions, including immunity and bone health. Vitamin D is recommended by Public Health England for all adults and children at 400IU per day during winter months. Vitamin D is particularly important prior to pregnancy, where low vitamin D status has been linked to infertility and low birth rates [2].  
  • Folic Acid: Part of the B-vitamin family, folic acid is essential prior to pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Supplementation is recommended at 400ug per day, three months prior to conception and throughout pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.


 

Try a Multivitamin:

 

Choosing a multivitamin formulation specifically designed for fertility and pregnancy can support your diet with the key nutrients necessary for this life stage. Make sure to look for a supplement that is free from additives, excipients and preservatives, and contains adequate levels of the nutrients required. For more information about pregnancy and fertility visit your local health food store www.findahealthstore.com   

Lifestyle Tips:

 

Changing your day-to-day habits can increase your chances of conception. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Limit alcohol, smoking and caffeine: These can all have negative impacts on the baby and have been linked to low-birth weight.
  • Get active: Maintaining low intensity activity pre and during pregnancy is recommended to help your body adapt to its changing shape.
  • Eat right: Eating a balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates is vital to ensure you are hitting the right nutrient targets for optimal fertility.
  • Manage stress: Reducing cortisol levels may promote fertility and overall health.

 

Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


References:

1)      Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW (2006) Iron intake and risk of ovulatory infertility. Obstet Gynecol. Nov;108(5):1145-52.

2)      Chu et al. Hum Reprod. 2018; 33(1):65-80.




 

TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsFertility, pregnancy

 

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