HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF FERTILITY
By MaterniTea Dietitian Michelle Nearchou, APD
If you are planning on starting a family in the near future, it may be time to start considering making some changes to your diet, lifestyle and fitness regime. Unlike other factors that you cannot control, such as age and genetics, improving your diet is something you can control and improve to increase your chances of falling pregnant. Here are my top six tips to improve fertility:
1. Choose complex (low GI) carbohydrates:
Low GI carbohydrates such as multigrain bread, rolled oats and legumes are digested slowly having a gradual effect on your blood sugar levels and insulin. Studies have found high insulin levels to inhibit ovulation and hence reduce your chances of falling pregnant. Try swapping your quick oats for whole rolled oats, jasmine rice for basmati rice and white or wholemeal bread for multigrain bread.
2. Eat a rainbow:
Aim for 5 serves of vegetables each day. Try to get a good mix of a variety of colours on your plate for a balance of fertility boosting nutrients such as folate found in leafy green vegetables, sprouts, peas, lentils, legumes and beans. It is also recommended when planning pregnancy to take a daily folic acid supplementation of 400micrograms for at least one month before conceiving.
3. Swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats:
Saturated fats found in processed foods such as commercially baked goods and snack foods, animal products and fast food raise lipid levels in the body and have also been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity. Aim for a thumb sized portion of healthy fats at each meal including olive oil, avocado and seeds to name a few.
4. Choose water:
Reducing consumption of juice, soft drink and other sweetened beverages can help decrease unnecessary energy intake not providing any valuable nutrients and help you to maintain a healthy weight. Choose water instead, aiming for at least 8 glasses each day. You can also get this water intake through specialist pregnancy teas such as MaterniTea, try it warm, iced, chilled or add it to your smoothie.
- Tip: Drinking warmer beverages increases body temperature and therefor increases blood flow to your reproductive organs. It is believed that women should aim to stay warm when trying to conceive and men should aim to keep their nether regions cool.
5. Be active:
Aim for 30-60minutes of moderate physical activity each day. Select activities that you enjoy – this may include dancing, going for a bushwalk, joining the sports club or visiting the local pool. In addition look for incidental ways to move more – for example walk or cycle to work, use the stairs instead of the escalator, and when parking your car, look for the spot furthest from the door.
6. Weight Management
In addition to eating a well-balanced healthy diet containing all five food groups, maintaining a healthy weight is also important when trying to conceive. If you are overweight or underweight, it can be more difficult to fall pregnant. If you are overweight and planning for pregnancy it may be appropriate to lose some weight. Extreme weight loss diets which exclude any whole food group or restrict calorie intake may deplete your body’s nutritional stores which is not a good start for pregnancy. Instead aim for moderate safe weight loss of about 0.5 – 1.0kg/week. If you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight remember that our MaterniTea Dietitians are always available to develop individualised strategies tailored to your needs.
To find out more about how you can eat for fertility, and get expert advice tailored to your individual health and nutritional requirements, make an appointment with one of our MaterniTea Dietitians. BOOK NOW