Food for thought
Looking after yourself and your nutrition should be top of your agenda if you’re trying for a baby with the help of fertility treatment. Here, Cindy Charles, Fertility Coach at LWC, shares her top tips on nourishing body and soul when trying to conceive.
For many, preparing for conception, especially if you are having fertility treatment prompts a surge of mixed emotions as you embark on a new stage in your life, uncertain as to what the outcome maybe. Highs and lows may follow, which is perfectly normal, and a common side effect of the process that is felt by many.
It can be time for reflection and adjustment as you consider the implications of pregnancy and parenthood. Therefore self-care, is important both physically and mentally to give you the energy and strength you need to take your first steps towards parenthood.
Here are Cindy’s tops tips for eating and living well. If it helps, introduce them gradually on a weekly basis, ideally three months before treatment starts to give your body time to replenish itself.
- Eat Fresh – With good quality nutrient rich food that tastes good and does you good, experiment with food, try new recipes out with your partner or friends.
- Mix it Up - With an array of rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables and good quality poultry, oily fish, wholegrains, pulses as well as nuts & seeds. Zinc and selenium are important for cell renewal in both men and women.
- Weighty Issues – Fertility can decline if you have a BMI over 30, so seek help from your GP or a dietician if you need help managing your weight.
- Just for Men - Good quality sperm matters! Eat well and take a suitable pre-conception multivitamin. Opt for boxer shorts to keep the testes cool to improve sperm production.
- Alcohol - The Government recommends that for women planning to get pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum; for men, drinking too much alcohol can affect the quality of sperm.
- Protect - For women, take 400mcg Folic Acid to protect your baby against potentially serious neural tube defects, such a Spina Bifida and continue until 12 weeks into pregnancy.
- Liquid Sunshine – As winter looms consider taking a 10mcg vitamin D supplement, ideally in liquid form which can aid ovarian function. It’s also crucial for sperm count and motility, so it’s a must for men too!
- Pour it Out! Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated, which will provide more energy, reduce headaches and cleanse your system.
- Smoke Free – Smoking and passive smoking reduces fertility in men and women and damages your baby’s health, as well as your own. For help quitting speak to your G.P.
- Environmental Health– The NHS says exposure to certain pesticides, solvents and metals has been shown to affect fertility, particularly in men.
- Circulate – For women exercise moderately pre-treatment but not during and very lightly in early pregnancy. For men stay active but don’t exhaust yourself!
- Get Outdoors - UV rays and their Vitamin D will boost your sense of wellbeing and the fresh air will soothe and refresh you. Why not walk and talk with your partner or a friend?
- Me Time - Make time for something that relaxes you, just 30mins a day can really help to reduce your stress levels.
- Talk it Over – Share your feelings with those you feel comfortable with, join our Support Groups or speak to our Counsellors.
- Sleep Tight – Keep to regular sleep patterns, aiming for 7- 8 hours a night. Sleep is incredibly important in the body’s recovery process, hormone regulation and energy levels. Snuggle up as the night’s draw in and get cosy.
Most importantly, make time to do things that you enjoy that nourish you and your health so that you are prepared for whatever adventures lay ahead!
For more information on looking after yourself pre and post conception please visit the NHS Planning Your Pregnancy advice pages or contact our Fertility Coach for support firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find our more at our next Understanding Your Fertility seminars.