Conceive within the next 6 months
Whether you are looking to have your first pregnancy or thinking about having another child, the time leading up to conception is a valuable window of opportunity to evaluate your diet and lifestyle.
Taking 6 months to re-evaluate your health and lifestyle gives you a great opportunity to improve your diet, as well as making necessary lifestyle changes to not only improve your fertility, but also make the transition into pregnancy even smoother.
Often the significance of diet and lifestyle affecting fertility is put on women, and whilst the mother’s health does play a critical role in fertility, so does the fathers! In fact for over half the couple in the UK who experience sub-fertility, it is the result of problems on the male side.
Here are some foundation dietary and lifestyle changes you and your partner can make to improve your chances of conceiving naturally:
Eat protein with every meal – protein provides the building blocks of the body and is essential for hormone production and healthy cell development. Good source of protein include fish, free-range poultry, grass-fed meat, eggs, yoghurt, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa.
Eat healthy fats with every meal – each of our cells are lined with a layer of fat so getting adequate fats in the diet is really important for cell communication as well as hormone production. Sources include avocado, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and trout, nuts and seeds, eggs.
Eat wholefoods – avoid processed foods and build your diet around fresh whole foods including whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, lentils and pulses. All rich in valuable nutrients required for hormone production.
Eat a rainbow every day – choosing seasonal and local colourful fruit and vegetables. These are valuable sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients shown to support preconceptual health. Also include lots of fresh herbs and spices such as turmeric, an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory food, that can help to achieve this rainbow.
Eat green leafy vegetables – as well as being an excellent source of folate, dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of dietary fibre which helps to support a healthy digestion and the elimination of spent hormones. Steaming them helps to maintain nutrients, and adding them to soups and smoothies is an easy way to increase your intake.
Eat every 4 hours – this will help to support blood sugar levels and maintain steady energy levels throughout the days. Dips in blood sugar levels not only prompt low mood, energy and cravings for sugar and caffeine, but also pulls on our stress hormones. We want to support our overall hormone balance by minimizing internal and external stressors.
Eat mindfully – taking time to sit down and enjoy your lovingly prepared meals will not only aid digestion by ensuring adequate secretion of digestive juices, but also helps to move the nervous system into rest and restore mode where digestion is optimized. Chewing food effectively also support digestion and therefore increase the absorption of nutrients.
Self-care – dealing with fertility can be a stressful time for many. So finding techniques to manage your stress levels and take time for yourself is key. For many it can become an over whelming period of stress and worry, which further feeds any hormonal imbalance that might exist. Taking time out in nature, enjoying long hot baths, yoga, mediation are all examples of activities you can do that take time out of your day just for you, and help to calm and sooth your nervous system.