Ready to have a baby, or increase your fertility? A healthy diet can do wonders towards balancing hormones, and helping your body get ready for a baby. Read on to learn how!
What is fertility?
Fertility– you hear so much about it when you’re trying to have a baby, but sometimes conception is easier said than done.
As most students in a middle school health class know, ovulation occurs when an egg in the female body has matured to such an extent that it can be fertilized by the sperm. In most cases, this happens every month and lasts about 24 hours. But the sperm can survive up to six days, so ovulation and conception often occur several days apart.
How do you know if you’re ovulating? Some can feel it, but not everyone does. Pay attention to your body, and note little changes.
How can I prepare for getting pregnant?
Since there’s not a huge period of time for the egg and sperm to connect, we want to make sure that our bodies are the optimal place for conception to occur. This means our lifestyle, hormones, and nutrition can have a big impact on pregnancy and fertility- for both men and women.
Nutrition and fertility
A balanced diet one of the easiest ways to improve fertility. A good diet signals to the body that it’s ready to conceive a child. In severely underweight or overweight women, ovulation may not occur, as the body doesn’t offer ideal conditions for pregnancy. An overweight man can also have reduced sperm production, so it’s not just up to the moms-to-be to stay healthy.
Another benefit? A healthy diet promotes your immune system and well-being. So it can also prevent some organic and hormonal fertility disorders. In addition to a healthy diet, sufficient sleep and exercise can also help. Lack of sleep and stress can disrupt the female cycle and ovulation. In men, it can also impair libido, potency and sperm quality.
Lifestyle changes and fertility
These dietary changes can’t just happen overnight for magical fertility results. You should start implementing them about three to four months before you want to get pregnant for maximum benefits. Dads, this means you, too! A balanced and varied diet promotes the quality of semen and helps make a woman’s body ready to conceive. The new research in the study of epigenetics is showing us how nutrition before and during pregnancy also has an effect on the health of the baby.
While it’s great to be at a normal weight for conception, don’t sabotage your efforts with crash diets. Sometimes they might compromise your nutrient intake. So your body will go into an emergency state and think that it’s not prepared for pregnancy.
If you’re overweight, aim to lose weight gradually, about 1-2 lbs per week, through a balanced diet and exercise. Sadly, there is no quick and magic bullet for this process. Be especially careful about extreme diets during pregnancy and lactation so you don’t compromise your baby’s health. You may also want to talk with friends and family in the FamilyApp for extra encouragement on getting healthy and fit.
Supplements and early pregnancy
Even if you’re not pregnant, a prenatal vitamin is an excellent choice for those wanting to conceive. Prenatal vitamins contain a good dose of Vitamin B, which can prevent abnormalities of the central nervous system.
The folic acid found in them helps with your baby’s spinal development, which starts forming before you’re aware you’re expecting. The baby’s neural tube closes between the 23rd and 27th day, and folic acid can help prevent spinal conditions like spina bifida
It is currently recommended to take 400 mcg folic acid in tablet form every day to prevent neural tube defects. Some gynecologists consider this dosage too low and recommend an additional dose of 800 mcg folic acid daily, especially if you’re having twins.
Dietary supplements are a great way to meet these requirements. You can also get good doses of folic acid and other nutrients in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach, liver, lentils, broccoli, and eggs.
A healthy lifestyle promotes fertility and ovulation
There’s no perfect formula to optimize conception, but maintaining a normal weight through exercise and a balanced diet, and avoiding environmental toxins and pollutants like nicotine are great first steps. A healthy body, which has a sufficient supply of nutrients, offers ideal conditions for a healthy pregnancy.
If you haven’t been living an especially healthy lifestyle, start with gradual changes, like eating more vegetables, taking a prenatal vitamin, or going on brisk walks. Not only will these changes promote conception, but they’ll also encourage a healthy pregnancy for you and the baby.