A healthy diet can often optimise fertility and eating a nutritionally balanced diet if you are trying to conceive is important. Not only can this impact on your physical wellbeing but eating well can also help boost your mood.
At Fertility Plus, we work with nutritional partners to help support our patients with dietary and nutritional advice whilst on their fertility journey. Our partner, Plant Based Health Online, shares key nutritional information for those trying to conceive information below.
During pre-conception, women should eat a diet rich in omega-3 and 6 fats. Omega-6 fats are abundant in the diet, but it is important to eat sufficient omega-3 fats. Include a serving (30g) of walnuts plus a serving of flax or chia seeds daily and plenty of dark green leafy vegetables. A daily algae-based omega-3 supplement can also be taken; ensure this contains EPA/DHA between 400-500mg.
Important to increase food sources, including grains, dried apricots/dates, nuts, beans. Women require 14.8mg/ day, men 8.4mg/day. To increase absorption, include a source of vitamin C with each meal and snack (i.e. fruit and/or vegetables). Avoid drinking tea/coffee/ wine with meals and if on calcium supplements take in-between meals, not with. Iron deficiency in men is associated with defective sperm cell development, loss of libido, damage to sperm and impaired fertility.
Supplementation for women is vital during pre-conception period and the 1st trimester. A daily supplement of 400mcg must be taken, alongside food sources of folate. Some women may be advised to take higher doses so check with your GP.
An essential mineral involved in thyroid function and a key nutrient for first 1000 days of life (conception to just before 2nd birthday). Iodine is just as important as folic acid during the pre- conception period. Majority of non-dairy milks are now fortified (exception: organic brands). The WHO recommends a 150mcg supplement (not kelp) during pre-conception through to and including breast feeding.
Government guidelines for both sexes = maximum 14 units of alcohol weekly, spread over a number of days, with at least 2 alcohol free days each week. 1 unit = 1⁄2 pint 4% beer, 25ml 40% spirit, 125ml glass wine.
Women trying to conceive should ideally not drink in case of pregnancy.
It’s best to start reducing, with the aim of eliminating, caffeine consumption prior to becoming pregnant.
For more information, view the fertility nutrition PDF here.