A couple’s likelihood to fall pregnant, also known as their fertility, is a reflection of their general health and wellbeing. Good nutrition plays a vital role when it comes to enhancing fertility and assisting expectant mum’s and dad’s in their journey toward birthing a healthy and happy newborn .
During the pre-pregnancy and prenatal periods, it is important to focus on good nutrition to improve your chances of falling pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. As well as eating a healthy diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, healthy protein sources (either plant or animal in origin), and good fats ; there are a few additional nutritional requirements it is important to take note of in order to ensure you have the best chance of experiencing a healthy pregnancy.
Found naturally in green leafy vegetables, folate works in the body to ensure your red blood cells are healthy and your body is able to absorb and use iron [1,3]. During pregnancy, the growing foetus needs adequate folate to prevent neural tube defects from developing. Neural tube defects prevent the brain and spinal cord from properly developing during pregnancy, meaning your child can be born with developmental delays and physical limitations .
How do I know I am getting adequate folate from my diet before and during pregnancy? Whether you are thinking about becoming pregnant or are newly pregnant, ensuring adequate folate intake is vital. Along with consuming fresh foods high in naturally occurring folate, choosing an appropriate and well-formulated prenatal supplement will assist in ensuring adequate folate levels can be achieved.
How to choose the right prenatal vitamin
When it comes to choosing the right prenatal vitamin, seeking professional nutritional advice is encouraged to ensure you are making the right choice for your individual needs. Some people cannot convert the form of folate found in some prenatal supplements (this form is known as folic acid) into the folate needed for the body, meaning the supplements they are taking are not necessarily doing the job intended [1,2]. To ensure you are making the right choice, consult a naturopath or nutritionist for individual advice on how to find the right form of folate.
Needed for its role in transporting oxygen around the body, iron needs to increase during pregnancy in order to support the growth and development of your unborn child . Iron can be found in plant-based and animal foods, or can be supplied in supplemental form should you have increased needs during your pregnancy [1,2]. In order to understand more about how much iron you may need, your naturopath will look at your medical history and discuss the need for further testing in order to make sure you are receiving the right recommendations.
Important for healthy sperm formation and function, and for assisting in the development of healthy ova. Zinc is a mineral vital in supporting healthy fertility in both men and women [1,2]. To ensure you are having adequate zinc in your diet consider consuming more nuts and seeds (particularly pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc) and seafood (including one of the oceans highest sources of zinc, oysters) [1,2]. For more information on your zinc needs, consider consulting a naturopath for a recommendation on a high-quality zinc supplement suitable for your fertility needs.
If you would like to know more about supporting your fertility with natural and complementary medicines, consider a consultation with myself or one of our qualified team of Naturopaths in our Wavell Heights or Cannon Hill Clinics