By Sue Bedford, Nutritional Therapist
It really is vital to prepare yourself both physically and mentally before beginning fertility treatment. However, with so much information out there on what to do, what to eat, what to drink, what to take, It can be easy to lose yourself in a whirlwind of guidance. So, I thought I would instead give you just a few simple tips to help you get started.
Ditch white bread and cereals, any foods containing trans fatty acids or hydrogenated fats, alcohol, hormone/GMO meats and reduce caffeine. Instead choose whole unrefined bread and cereals, legumes, fish, vegetables, fruit and some meat (if you go for meat choose organic or grass-fed meat from your local butcher).
Take your Folic Acid
Folate (folic acid is the synthetic form) is a B vitamin that is necessary for the development of a healthy newborn. It should be taken before conception to help lower the risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida by up to 70% and to prevent up to 70% of first-time neural tube abnormalities. Along with your Folic Acid, you may benefit from taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement that includes Vitamin D, Omega 3, Iron, Antioxidants, and Zinc. As everyone is unique it is a good idea to personalise your preconception fertility diet plan with a qualified Nutritional Therapist, specialising in fertility.
Keep your hormones as balanced as possible
For conception and pregnancy to be successful, both the woman’s and the man’s hormone levels must be in balance. Infertility can develop when hormone levels are out of balance. Hormones are chemical substances that our bodies produce. These hormones have an impact on the actions of many organs and systems. Hormone levels can be influenced by lifestyle factors such as weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, and acute stress in some circumstances. Sugar fluctuations can have a significant impact on hormones and cause an imbalance if they are not properly managed. As a starting point, always consume some good quality protein whenever eating a carbohydrate food – and try to stick to complex carbs in your diet….it’s time to ditch the quick fix sugar!
Keeping adequately hydrated before, during and after fertility treatment has numerous advantages and its impact is not one to underestimate. Some of the benefits to be gained from drinking 8 glasses of water per day (around 230ml per glass) include: allowing essential chemical reactions in cells to occur, cushioning and lubricating all tissues and organs in the body, aiding hormone distribution throughout the body, and possibly enhancing follicles. Additionally, water helps in the production of cervical mucus. Cervical mucus helps sperm to swim to the egg.
Sluggishness, weariness, and inability to focus can all be symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration, even mild dehydration, can produce mood swings. Because the mind-body connection is so important in fertility, staying positive and keeping our bodies in peak condition can make a big difference.
Detoxification is another great advantage of drinking water. Drinking water helps to flush out the built-up toxins from pollutants in the air, medications, etc. For an extra vitamin C twist why not add a slice of lemon to your water?
Eat a rainbow
Eating a colourful range of foods is an easy way to obtain a full range of vitamins and minerals that your body requires to thrive. ‘Eat the rainbow’ simply implies that the colour of your food can reveal a lot about its nutritional worth, and so eating a variety of colours is one great way to ensure that you can try to obtain as many vitamins and minerals as possible (and eat a broad, diverse amount of food in the process). Prioritize quality over quantity because not all foods are made equal. Choose organic and grass-fed meats (if you eat meat, consult your local butcher), eat in season, and consume food as close to nature as possible.
Fertility and IVF – First Steps
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