‘Babies’ the very word brings a smile to everyone’s face. It is a life changing experience and the most enjoyable one too. It is well established that optimal nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is essential when you are trying to get pregnant or even when you are planning for one.
However, research suggest only a small proportion of women planning a pregnancy follow the recommendations for nutrition and lifestyle. Also, as many pregnancies are unplanned, improved nutrition and lifestyles of women of childbearing age is of utmost importance*
Many studies support the role of specific nutrients in improving sperm quantity and quality, egg quality and even to support couples during fertility treatments. A healthy diet and lifestyle will keep the weight within a healthy range enhancing chances of having a baby, ensure hormonal balance pre and post conception while giving the nutrients to the foetus for its healthy development.
There following nutrients are particularly important for fertility:
Omega 3: An essential fatty acid that helps balancing immune system, maintaining healthy cells and their antioxidant properties improve even male fertility by increasing sperm count.
Folic Acid/Folate: is an essential vitamin which must be obtained either from diet or supplementation. Pre and post conception folic acid supplementation protects against foetal structural anomalies, including neural tube and congenital heart defects. Recent data also suggest that it may protect against preterm birth**
B Vitamins: family of vitamins that are necessary to produce healthy genetic material in both the egg and sperm.
Vitamin D: has been associated with better sperm quality and quantity in men while in women it has been shown to help to maintain a pregnancy. So, go and get some sun, it helps with relieving stress too.
Antioxidants: Vitamin C, E, Zinc, Selenium and CoQ10. These help cells from ‘free radical damage’ impacting the quality of the sperm and eggs. Out of these, Zinc in particular, is the most important nutrient which plays a vital role in fertility for both men and women.
Lifestyle factors can be modified to enhance overall well-being and they are ultimately under one’s own control. They play a key role in determining reproductive health and can positively or negatively influence fertility ***
Stress also has an impact!
The biggest lifestyle factor to consider is stress management! Stress significantly impacts various hormonal pathways, which are important for pre and post conception. Self care is the best care and more importantly, enjoy the journey!
Note: It is best to incorporate foods high in the above nutrients as every individual is different. Avoid single nutrient supplementation unless recommended by your health professional.
Sohini De is a renowned expert in Functional Medicine and Nutrition, if you'd like to make an appointment with her visit Wellclik.com
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