How nutrition can help you conceive:

How nutrition can help you conceive:

28th August 2015

How nutrition can help you conceive:

Good nutrition can help ensure your body is ready for pregnancy, as well as increasing your chances of conception and of having a healthy pregnancy.

There are a number of nutrients and lifestyle factors that can influence your fertility so in order to best prepare yourself, here are some helpful tips.

Your weight is related to your ability to conceive. If you are underweight, your reproductive cycle can become irregular and make it more difficult to conceive. Along with this the quality of your oestrogen depends on having adequate body fat and adequate oestrogen is necessary for pregnancy. Being overweight or obese can cause hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation. The first step in the process should be to achieve a healthy weight. Aim to do this by following a healthy eating pattern, including exercise. A safe rate of weight loss is one-two lbs/week. Extreme losses can deplete your nutritional stores and this is not how you want to start your pregnancy.

Folic Acid is an absolutely essential nutrient when planning a pregnancy. You should take 400ug folic acid (in a daily supplement) to help prevent neural tube defects in your baby. Ideally, you should start taking the supplement three months before pregnancy and continue for the first three months of pregnancy. Your requirements may be higher if you have diabetes or are taking drugs for epilepsy. Consult your doctor about this.

Building up your iron reserves before you get pregnant is optimum; it is hard to maintain adequate iron levels when pregnant as your baby draws on your resources. This can be achieved by eating a diet rich in iron sources, these include: meat, poultry, eggs, beans, dark green leafy vegetables and nuts. A recent survey has shown that over 40 per cent of Irish women could be at risk of iron deficiency.

While the evidence on the link between fertility, conception and alcohol intake is inconclusive, it is still important to watch your alcohol intake when trying to conceive. It is best to keep your alcohol intake at this time to one or two drinks per week. You also need to make sure you aren't already pregnant, as alcohol can be dangerous to a developing baby.

Omega-3 fatty acids are imperative for optimal fertility, and including sources of these essential fats is important. If you then become pregnant, this nutrient is important for brain and eye development in your baby. Aim to eat two portions oily fish (salmon, fresh tuna, sardines and herring) every week.

With caffeine, keep your intake to maximum 300mg (three cups of coffee, or four cups of tea) a day.

• For more information, or to book an appointment, call Michelle Lane on 021-4893255, or visit, or stop by

Elmwood Medical Centre, in Douglas.

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