According to the American Pregnancy Association, a nonprofit that promotes reproductive health, increased research is demonstrating that preconception diets and nutrition are essential for fertility. They have found that the dietary changes may take three months to a year to have an impact on your body and fertility. These nutritional concerns apply to both the male and female trying to conceive. Both partners should assess their diets.
Zinc: This nutrient contributes to semen and testosterone production in men, and in ovulation and fertility in women. There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc impede upon both male and female fertility. Maintaining the recommended dietary allowance of zinc (15 mg a day) can help keep your reproductive system functioning well.
Folic Acid: Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Folic acid may be obtained naturally through dark green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach), citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals. These foods can be supplemented with a prenatal vitamin which usually contains 800mcg of folic acid. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin allowing your body to flush out excess amounts.
Calcium: It is recommended that women get at least 1,000 mgs (three 8 oz glasses of skim milk) of calcium a day if they are considering getting pregnant. Calcium may be obtained from natural sources such as cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, rice, and cheese.
Supplements & Vitamins: In addition to a healthy diet, many healthcare providers will encourage supplements to increase the probability that you get all the nutrients you need. Talk to your healthcare provider about prenatal vitamins.
Caffeine: It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate), because research has shown that more than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium.
Things to Remove: Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, recreational drugs, and cigarettes all have the potential of harming your soon to be conceived baby.
These are just a few ideas. Visit The American Pregnanacy Association for more information.