Skip to navigation
Vitamins &
Supplements
Sports

Tips to Support Fertility and Pregnancy

Tips to support fertility and pregnancy

Making the big decision to try for a baby can fill you with both excitement and trepidation. Every story will have its challenges. Crucially, conceiving requires more than just an active, happy sex life. You also need to optimise your lifestyle. Beyond finetuning your nutrition, this also means re-evaluating certain habits and even following a bespoke supplement programme.


Eating Habits

To put it simply: the healthier you and your partner are, the better your chances of falling pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. Of course, a key component of your fertility arsenal is diet and nutrition. Small improvements to your daily nutritional intake can make a huge difference to your health and the health of your developing baby.


Maintain a Healthy Weight

With a babe in tow, it can be tempting to overindulge under the guise that you’re now ‘eating for two’. But this is a common myth. Government advice specifies pregnant women only need an extra 200 calories per day in their final trimester (1).Maintaining a healthy weight is hugely important if you’re trying to conceive naturally. Being overweight – or indeed underweight – may compromise your chances of successfully falling pregnant. According to the NHS, you should aim for body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.(1) Adjust your diet to meet your individual needs by entering into a calorie deficit or surplus.


Eat the Rainbow

To support pregnancy, try to eat a colourful and varied diet. Embrace a smorgasbord of fresh fruit and veggies. In particular, look for wholefoods with the deepest hues (think carrots, blueberries, and spinach), as they tend to be most abundant in free-radical fighting antioxidants. This approach will deliver a ton of nourishment to your blossoming baby and enable them to have the best start in life.


Know Your Good Fats From Your Bad Fats

Only some fats deserve their bad rap. One case in point: ‘trans fats’. Also known as hydrogenated fats, these health-hijackers are commonly found in fried food, cakes, packaged snacks and other processed treats. Choose healthy fats instead. Abundant in oily fish (mackerel, sardines, salmon), walnuts, chia seeds and avocados, essential fatty acids may help to regulate reproductive hormone function.


Lifestyle Factors/Health Concerns


Kick the Habit

The idea that smoking and pregnancy don’t mix well isn’t anything new. But did you know smoking and fertility is a dangerous combination, too? The smoke in cigarettes is packed with toxins that can damage the DNA in sperm and eggs. (2) Giving up is, undoubtedly, one of the best things you can do for your fertility.


Reduce Alcohol

Drinking excessively may also sabotage your fertility. For men, your fertility isn’t likely to be impacted granted your alcohol consumption is within the recommended limit of 3-4 units per day. (3) For women, however, drinking is riskier. Aim for no more than 1-2 units once or twice a week (4).


Cut Down on Caffeine

Don’t fret just yet, coffee-lovers. You don’t have to give up the java completely when you’re trying to conceive. However, try not to consume more than 200mg of caffeine, which is approximately one or two small cups daily. Like alcohol, excessive caffeine consumption s associated with fertility issues.


Exercise Often and Safely

Thanks to it improving the traditional baby blahs – backache, bloating and the ‘blues’ – exercise supports a healthy pregnancy. Find something you enjoy and try to move daily. Of course, it’s important to work-out safely. Always remember to warm-up before exercise and cool down afterwards. If you go to a gym class, inform the teacher you’re pregnant. Oh, and steer clear of any activity that involves the risk of falling. It’s a no to climbing, skiing and horse-riding.


Relax

If growing a tiny nut wasn’t stressful enough, you also have to contend with hormonal changes, lethargy and baby brain. Take time out for yourself every day: unwind in a warm bath, massage your bump or practice slow yin yoga. Always honour your need to rest. If you’re exhausted and uncomfortable, allow yourself to stop. Don’t feel guilty about it!


Vitamins & Minerals to Help Fertility


Folic Acid

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is critically important for the development of your tiny nut in the early weeks of pregnancy. Notably, folic acid may help to prevent serious nerve and brain defects. Government guidelines advise taking 400μg of folic acid from the time you start trying for a baby until the 12th week of your pregnancy.


Myo-Inositol

Structurally similar to glucose, myo-inositol is a vitamin-like compound – often referred to as vitamin B8 – that plays a key part in the way the body’s cells communicate with each other. Considered a good treatment for women with specific health problems, myo-inositol has demonstrated promise as a supplement for supporting female fertility.


B Vitamins

The family of B vitamins are active in nearly every metabolic process in the body. While all the B’s serve an important function for the regulation of hormonal activity, vitamin B3 may play an especially vital role in the production of reproductive hormones. Choose a quality B-complex with a good spread of vitamins at relevant levels.


Omega 3s

There’s some evidence to suggest the omega 3s found in oily fish support a healthy reproductive system in both men and women. (5) Aside from this, a plentiful intake of omega 3s is also needed for your little one’s development after conception. We recommend increasing your consumption three months before trying for a baby.


Multivitamin and Mineral Formula

There’s some evidence to suggest the omega 3s found in oily fish support a healthy reproductive system in both men and women. (5) Aside from this, a plentiful intake of omega 3s is also needed for your little one’s development after conception. We recommend increasing your consumption three months before trying for a baby.


Iron

Many women of reproductive age unknowingly have poor iron stores, particularly those with heavy periods. Low iron stores may negatively impact your chances of falling pregnant (7). To measure your iron levels, your GP can carry out a simple blood test called a ferritin test.


Calcium

During pregnancy, calcium supports the development of your baby’s teeth and bones. If your calcium stores are scarce, the body will greedily leach it from your teeth and bones to provide for your growing tot.


Vitamin D3

Crucially, vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium in your body, which is needed to keep growing bones and teeth healthy. Since the body synthesises vitamin D3 from sunlight, the NHS encourages pregnant women to supplement with 10μg of vitamin D between September and March when sun exposure is limited.


Iodine

A powerful trace mineral, iodine is known to support the healthy development of a baby’s nervous system and brain in the womb. Nonetheless, evidence suggests many pregnant women are unknowingly low in iodine, which may affect foetal brain growth (2).


Choline

Recently, choline has been the focus of research for its role in pregnancy. Empirical data reveals it may support important prenatal brain development (3).


Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)

Food can move sluggishly in the last phase of digestion during pregnancy. Eating more soluble fibre in the natural form of FOS from chicory root, can help maintain intestinal health.


Pregnancy Multivitamin

To optimise your prenatal health, choose a multivitamin with 400μg of folic acid, along with safe but relevant levels of vitamin D3 (10μg), iodine, vitamin B3, vitamin B12 and choline. We recommend complementing your prenatal multi with a high-strength omega 3 supplement.


References:

  1. Overweight and pregnant (2020). Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/overweight-pregnant /

  2. Stop smoking in pregnancy (2020). Available online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/smoking-pregnant/

  3. Trying for a baby Fertility problems: assessment and treatment NICE. (2020). Available online: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156/ifp/chapter/Trying-for-a-baby

  4. Trying for a baby Fertility problems: assessment and treatment NICE. (2020). Available online: https://www.niceorg.uk/guidance/cg156/ifp/chapter/Trying-for-a-baby

  5. , Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Aging Cell. ;11(6):1046-54.

  6. , , The roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in idiopathic male infertility. Asian Journal of Andrology. ;14(4):514-515.

  7. , Iron intake and risk of ovulatory infertility. Obstet Gynecol. ;108(5):1145-52.





 

Related Posts

 



Disclaimer: The information presented by Nature's Best is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.

 
 
Our Author - Olivia Salter

Olivia

Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.

View More