The issue of childbearing is such a sensitive issue for all couples planning to conceive, trying to conceive or struggling to conceive.
But did you know that, there are some paramount nutrients you can have as part of your daily meals over a period to contribute to you being fertile?
Did you also know that, there is the right vaginal pH to have for fertilization to happen? It’s my wish and prayer to see every couple looking for the fruit of the womb achieve results in 9 months after working with everything this article has to offer together with other gynaecological plans or directives.
Nutrition is critical for a healthy body and the reproductive system, and to help you get pregnant. Staying with a nutritious diet and making positive lifestyle changes can help boost fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy. If you are working on or trying to get pregnant, it’s important that, you begin making healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices now.
If you are between 35-40 years, discuss with your doctors after 6 months of trying (if you are sexually active as far as your sex history is concerned). You may not be releasing matured eggs, and that might be a reason for you not getting pregnant.
Here are those at risk or factors that can contribute to you being infertile;
2. Weight (desire to achieve a normal BMI. Consult a nutritionist for help on this)
3. Sexual history (how often are you engaged sexually in the last 6 months?)
Note that daily oral iron and folic acid supplementation – with 30 mg to 60 mg of elemental iron and 400 µg (0.4 mg) folic acid is recommended for pregnant women to prevent maternal anaemia, puerperal sepsis, low birth weight, and preterm birth.
The equivalent of 60 mg of elemental iron is 300 mg ferrous sulfate heptahydrate, 180 mg ferrous fumarate or 500 mg of ferrous gluconate. Folic acid should be commenced as early as possible (ideally before conception) to prevent neural tube defects.
And so with this, it is critical for all women within the childbearing bracket (12-49 years) to enhance their iron and folate stores and the mg up there should affect them as well. Some studies have shown that zinc supplementation can improve the semen quality in sub-fertile men and increase testosterone levels in zinc-deficient men.
It is recommended that men have at least 11 mg per day of zinc, which can come from food or supplements.
Menstrual irregularities can be a reason (too short <21 days, too long >\=35 days or absence of ovulation can be the contributing factor to infertility also. Again, an acidic vaginal pH can make it difficult for sperms to thrive and this will affect fertilization.
Sperms thrive in an alkaline pH and so be sure to discuss with your gynaecologist if sperms won’t stay for fertilization to happen. Diet plays a vital role as far as fertility and conception is concerned no matter the treatment or medication been given to a couple on their quest to having babies; and since it takes a couple to make babies, here are some nutrients we need to be deliberate about if we want to prepare ourselves adequately for pregnancy to happen;
1. Folic acid – (for her) eg. of folate rich foods are, leafy greens, beetroot and so on
2. Zinc – (for him/her) eg.; avocado, potatoes, nuts and so on
3. Selenium – (for him/her) eg.; garlic, seeds and nuts and so on
4. Omega 3 – (for her) eg.; salmon, broccoli and flaxseed
5. Vitamin E – (for him/her) eg.; bell peppers, mangoes, tomatoes, cucumber, pistachios and so on
6. Vitamin C – (for men) eg.; banana, citrus foods (orange, lime, tomatoes, pineapple) and so on
7. Beta-carotene – (for him/her) eg.; carrots, spinach, pawpaw, potatoes and so on
8. L-arginine – )for the men), e.g.; nuts, seafoods, dairy, eggs and so on.
Again, these points below are worth every attention we will give them. May we adopt them and work at it for the results we seek to achieve;
• Eat more fibrous foods
• Eat foods rich in antioxidants (broccoli, spinach, carrots and potatoes are all high in antioxidants, and so are artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados, beetroot, radish, lettuce, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, collard greens and kale
• Eat a healthy/complete breakfast
• Cut down on carbs and eat fewer refined carbs especially if you have PCOS
• Take a multivitamin and consider a natural supplement (the maca supplement is shown to enhance on immunity and linked to quality sperm)
• Check your iron levels ( the right HB levels are 12-16g/dL for women and 14-18g/dL for men)
• Have a healthy weight (normal BMI is 18.5-24.9kg/m(2).
Talk to your healthcare team to find the best choices for you and stick with a nutritionist and a gynaecologist. All the best.
The writer, Akosua Konadu Yiadom is a nutritionist.