Fertility, self-care and preconception

Fertility, self-care and preconception

Fertility, self-care and preconception

Why is nutrition so important for fertility?

Babies are not created from nothing; they are made from the nutrients available at each stage of development. It starts with a healthy egg and a healthy sperm to start the process, then the mother needs to be able to provide everything to grow this new little human. If the mother’s diet is not sufficient, the body will take from the mother to give to the baby for example essential fatty acids will come from the mother’s brain (think baby brain) and iron from the mother’s stores (think fatigue).

A healthy diet goes a long way to creating quality eggs and sperm and supporting the nutrient needs of the developing baby, such as:

  • A diet rich in colourful vegetables especially of the green leafy variety.
  • Lots of good protein sources such as fish, eggs, beans, quinoa, lentils and lean meat.
  • Inclusion of quality fats such as avocado, oily fish, coconut cream, nuts and seeds.
  • Wholegrains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and rye.

In addition to a basic healthy diet the following foods are specific for each parent-to-be:

Mum-to-be needs:

Folic Acid

  • Reduce risk of DNA damage
  • Protect against miscarriage & pre-eclampsia
  • Prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida

Dietary sources: Eggs, beans, green leafy vegetables, lentils, organ meats, sprouts and yeast

Zinc

  • Helps to mature eggs prior to release
  • Reduces risk of miscarriage
  • Essential in numerous reactions required for healthy growth and development of the foetus and placenta.

Dietary sources: Beef, lamb, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, milk, wholegrains, seafood, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Iron
  • Helps with production of increased blood levels
  • Builds up baby’s stores to get them through first 6 months after birth (little comes through breast milk)
Dietary sources: Grass fed meat, poultry, almonds, avocado, liver, kidney, oysters, parsley, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

Vitamin D
  • Reduces risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia
  • Increases brain function, skeletal development
  • Reduces risk of developing diabetes & allergies later

Dietary sources: Sunlight exposure, cod liver oil, butter, egg yolk, sprouted seeds and activated mushrooms

EFAs
  • Essential in development of nervous system & brain
  • Prevents post natal depression
  • Component of every cell created
Dietary sources: Cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ground flaxseeds

Dad-to-be needs:

Zinc

  • Essential for semen and testosterone production
  • Helps mature sperm and reduce risk of DNA damage

Dietary sources: Beef, lamb, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, milk, wholegrains, seafood, sunflower and pumpkin seeds

EFAs

  • Essential component of sperm production and maturation
  • Increases sperm motility
  • Reduces oxidative damage to sperm

Dietary sources: Cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ground flaxseeds

Selenium

  • Improved quality and motility of sperm

Dietary sources: Broccoli, brazil nuts, butter, cashews, celery, eggs, garlic, oysters, tuna, onions and wholegrains

Vitamin E

  • Antioxidant that prevents DNA damage
  • Maintains energy status of sperm

Dietary sources: Almonds, hazelnuts, beef, corn, egg yolk and wheat germ

Vitamin C

  • Antioxidant that prevents DNA damage
  • Improves concentration and quantity of sperm

Dietary sources: Broccoli, citrus fruits, parsley, capsicum, pineapple, raw cabbage, sweet potato and tomatoes

If you’re pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, why not visit a Student Clinical Nutritionist at Wellnation Clinics. They can work alongside you to create a meal plan for preconception, as well as recommend supplementation if required. Book an appointment now.

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