Are you ready to have a baby?
That is great and before you jump in, there are steps you need to take. At the same time, if you and your partner have been trying for a baby for over six months and no pregnancy has been achieved, then you need to make some changes before you jump into asking your doctor for referrals to fertility clinics. There may be a reason that you are struggling and it may not have anything to do with a serious problem that is causing you to be infertile. You may be able to fix the issue yourself if you take the doctor’s advice and stick with it.
The first thing that couples need to do before trying for a baby is to make sure their overall health is good. If they are overweight, then they need to slim down to get to a weight that is acceptable for conception (5-10 lbs just might do it!). They can still be somewhat overweight and be healthy enough to conceive. Being extremely overweight or obese is not acceptable. If they are underweight, they also need to gain a healthy amount of weight, but by eating certain foods, which will be discussed in a bit.
They will also have their blood taken to see how their blood sugar levels are, and their blood pressure will be taken as well. If there are adjustments that need to be made for that, then that has to be focused on before trying to conceive.
Research conducted has indicated that if you are trying to conceive, then you need to stick with a fertility diet which can help increase the chances of ovulation so pregnancy can happen. Especially if women who have ovulation disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome, this fertility diet can help them ovulate.
The fertility diet includes:
● Increasing vegetable protein such as getting protein from lentils instead of steak.
● Increasing consumption of unsaturated vegetable oils such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can actually help improve blood cholesterol, and olive and canola oil are a great option. Healthy fats are found in foods like fish, nuts, and avocados which are part of the fertility diet.
● Have whole fat dairy such as whole fat milk, cheese or even a little bit of ice cream (don’t eat too much due to the sugar content), and whole fat yogurt. Whole fat dairy will help increase chances for ovulation.
● Only stick to complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole grains, and vegetables. Refined carbs such as white bread and pasta can cause insulin resistance, and as a result, ovulation will not happen. Stay away from anything refined.
● Increase iron intake but not from red meat. Vegetables such as spinach are high in iron, and even consider taking a supplement.
● Drink water and skip the soda, as soda is not good for you.
● Don’t drink any more alcohol and limit coffee and chocolate. For instance, one cup of coffee a day is acceptable. Two or more, not so much.
● Take at least 400mcg of Folic acid before you try to get pregnant and continue on while you are pregnant. Vitamin B’s are essential as B6 can help ease morning sickness as well. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects and even reduce the chances of autism.
● Avoid trans fats which are found in fast food, baked goods like pastries and cookies, and avoid anything too sugary. Don’t eat sugary candies and limit the amount of ice cream you eat if you want to get your whole fats from that source. Trans fats and too much sugar consumption can get in the way of ovulation due to insulin resistance and increase the bad cholesterol which also has a negative impact on fertility.
● Be active. If you don’t care for exercise, you need to start taking brisk walks 30 minutes a day for 5 days because that can help with fertility. However, don’t exercise too much as being overly active and having too little body fat will prevent ovulation from happening. Talk about a double-edged sword!
If you are unsure of getting the right variation of foods together or you have other concerns, you can always ask your doctor to be referred to a nutritionist or dietician that focuses heavily on fertility.
By the way, this list, for the most part, applies to men as well to help boost their fertility and to improve their sperm count as well as quality. Men and women also need zinc in their diets and foods such as fish, lentils, nuts, poultry and green leafy vegetables also have plenty of zinc. Your man will need to avoid taking hot baths and will have to start wearing boxers instead of briefs so their fertility is not affected by heat getting into these areas.
Eggs are also a great source for women trying to conceive and to be eaten during pregnancy since eggs have the fats to help with ovulation, and choline to help with the baby’s brain development.
Here is an example of fertility meals for a day:
Breakfast: For breakfast, have two slices of whole grain toast, and scrambled eggs. Have some full-fat yogurt as well and some fruit.
Snack: For a snack, have some nuts.
Lunch: For lunch, have a chicken sandwich (by using whole grain bread), a piece of cheddar, marble or mozzarella cheese, and lentil soup. If you want another snack, have some veggies and dip.
Dinner: Then for dinner, have salmon with brown rice and a spinach salad. Then for dessert, treat yourself to a little bit of ice cream but don’t do this daily because of the sugar content. Your dietitian or nutritionist will be able to give you tasty and healthy snack suggestions that will support your fertility.
Be sure to chart your cycles as well, and your doctor will give you instructions on how to do that. However, if you have been eating foods that are meant to support your fertility for a year, and you have been charting your cycles successfully knowing when you ovulate so you can time intercourse, and still not pregnant after 1 year – then it is time to see your doctor and have your partner assessed as well. You may need fertility help at that point.