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Women's Health

Can you improve fertility with diet?

Thu 6th February, 2020

Reviewed by: Dr. Vamsee Thalluri

Everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes a maintained, balanced, and wholesome diet. But when it comes to diets and fertility, studies have shown that following a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern may enhance fertility.

If you’re a fan of avocado, eat lots of fruit and veg, and prefer to stick to fish, chicken, or legumes - then you are going to be one happy woman.

Making some changes to your diet is one thing, but when you’re starting to try to conceive it’s even better knowing what nutrients and vitamins could help with a healthy pregnancy.

Let’s break these down for you.

Folate (Vitamin B9)

You’ll find folate in dark leafy greens, asparagus, brussel sprouts, eggs, and liver. Folate plays a role in preventing birth defects, particularly those of the neural tube which is where the baby’s brain and spinal cord form. Serious cases of a malfunctioning neural tube could lead to a baby suffering from spina bifida and anencephaly. Low levels of folate have also been associated with a higher risk of early miscarriage.

Iron

Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body, including a developing embryo. When you get pregnant, your body produces more blood to carry nutrients to your baby. This increase is greatest in the first 12 weeks. You’ll need more iron to support this. Iron-rich foods include spinach, lentils and chicken.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Omega-3s are found naturally in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. It plays a role in supporting the baby’s fetal brain and eye development. This fatty acid is also kind to the developing baby’s neuronal cell membranes. It’s basically feeding the baby’s potential to hit all the fundamental milestones—their intellectual, emotional, communication and motor skills—when they’re earth side.

Calcium & Vitamin D

These guys come as a duo. Calcium is the mineral used to build your bones and teeth, and your baby’s too. You can take as much calcium as you want, but your body won’t be able to absorb it properly without vitamin D. Dark leafy greens are good for calcium, and fatty fish like salmon are good sources for vitamin D.

Iodine

Iodine helps to ensure healthy brain development and growth of your baby’s organs. It’s typically found in dairy products, seafood, seaweed, eggs, bread, and iodised salt.

Another tip is to start taking a prenatal vitamin, ideally three months before you start trying to conceive.

Many people don’t realise that they’re pregnant until they’re well into their first trimester. By then, a great deal of fetal development has already taken place.

If you start taking a daily prenatal vitamin before pregnancy, you can make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, and your baby has the best chance at being a total rockstar.