Paying attention to your diet is important when you're trying for a baby. If you have low nutrient stores prior to pregnancy, you'll have less to maintain your baby’s growth and development during pregnancy, while a lack of vitamins and minerals may impact your health and well-being too
Eating a diet that includes whole foods, a healthy balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber that can help boost your gut microbes, regulate hormones, and lower stress levels. These are all important to prep your body for pregnancy.
When looking to change your diet for a healthy, safer pregnancy, it is recommended to look for food that can increase blood flow to the uterus and lower the amount of stress hormones.
Published by a team of Harvard researchers in 2007, the "Fertility Diet" study— found women with ovulatory infertility who followed this eating pattern had a 66% lower risk of ovulatory infertility and a 27% reduced risk of infertility from other causes than women who didn't follow the diet closely.
Women following the "fertility diet" chose:
Studies indicate that a single cup of boiled asparagus brings with it about 60% of your body’s daily recommended amount of folic acid. And we all know how important folic acid is for those looking to become pregnant and even once you have succeeded in conceiving. Folic acid is used by your body to make DNA, it helps with the development of the neural tube, and prevents birth defects.
If boiled is boring, you can always chuck some on a pan for a light sear with a handful of bacon bits. Remember, to enjoy all things in moderation.
As we’ve been told growing up, beans are full of fibre and protein - making for easy trips to the loo. However, this fibre and protein also play a big role in improving ovulation. Additionally, seeking out plant-based proteins over their animal-based counterparts lowers the risk of ovulatory disorders where ovulation fails to occur or does so on an irregular basis.
Plus, both beans and lentils are rich in folic acid that is essential in preparing your body for conception and in the development of a healthy embryo.
If their shape didn’t give it away, walnuts are great for your brain. Chock full of your omegas 3s and 6s, these bite-sized babies are also fantastic for regulating your hormones. A major plus point is that walnuts also improve semen health. Meaning you and your boo can enjoy this snack together.
Or more specifically, egg yolks are packed with your essential B vitamins and omega-3s. Vitamin B6 aids in maintaining a healthy and regular menstrual cycle - which you will find makes tracking your ovulation a whole lot easier than with an irregular cycle. B6 is also critical for the luteal phase, which makes your body more receptive to pregnancy.
One cup of cooked spinach comes with 6.4mg of iron. Considering that your body doesn’t naturally produce iron and that low levels of iron can lead to a lack of ovulation, spinach makes a fantastic source.
Spinach is versatile enough to make even the most amateur cook feel like a professional in the kitchen - so fret not if you are new to this.
Much like spinach, broccoli is rich in iron - making it a must-have in your diet when you are trying to get pregnant. An inadequate amount of iron can not only affect ovulation, but it can also make proper placental development difficult, and leave your eggs unviable.
Remember to pair your broccoli with a good source of vitamin C, which helps in your body’s iron absorption.
7. Sweet Potatoes
This new, healthy lifestyle may require you to give up refined carbohydrates, meaning you may also find yourself with an undeniable hankering for just that. Satiate your carb cravings with a decent portion of sweet potatoes.
Touted for being rich in beta-carotene, sweet potatoes aid in the production of progesterone. The hormone progesterone helps you regulate your menstrual cycle. It is also crucial in preparing your body for pregnancy by thickening the uterine lining in anticipation of a fertilised egg.
Here’s another one to enjoy with your partner - rich in antioxidants, folic acid, and zinc, berries improve the sexual health of both men and women. Antioxidants help with deactivating free radicals in the body which damage our sperm and eggs.
Dunk some in chocolate and you’ll have a fertility-boosting aphrodisiac all in one.
Pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants, however, they also come with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and zinc. All of these vitamins and minerals play a significant role in improving male and female fertility.
Most notably, the antioxidants found in pomegranates have proven to increase the blood flow to the uterus which is essential in thickening one’s uterine lining as it prepares for implantation.
10. Greek Yoghurt
Aside from being rich, creamy, and delicious, Greek yoghurt is overflowing with the likes of calcium and vitamin D. Both calcium and vitamin D aid the follicles in your ovaries mature and promote good bone health.
Studies indicate that higher levels of vitamin D in the follicular fluid may improve embryo implantation rates. Vitamin D is also responsible for enhancing ovulation by increasing one’s progesterone levels.
If you’re looking for a healthy source of vitamin E, look no further than avocados. Vitamin E is known for improving your uterine lining and cervical mucus. Healthy cervical mucus aids the sperm in staying alive for a longer period, increasing your chances of successful fertilisation.
If you are thinking of getting pregnant and would like to increase your chances of conceiving, it is highly recommended that you speak with your doctor and ask to do a pre-pregnancy check-up. During this check-up, doctors will look into any health conditions that might be affecting your chances of conceiving and determine the areas that should be worked on.