If you’re trying to conceive, there are some foods that can boost your chance of baby-making and some that should be avoided...
If you are planning on getting pregnant ensure your diet is rich in folic-acid. It’s crucial for the healthy development of the foetus and can reduce the chance of brain and spinal cord defects, such as spina bifida. You can buy folic acid supplements from the chemist and you can also eat certain foods, including wholegrain cereals, nuts, beans and leafy-green vegetables. It is recommended that you take folic acid (400 mcg) every day while trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is great for babies brain development whilst you are pregnant, so getting these into your diet whilst trying to conceive will keep your hormones functioning properly. Avocado, linseed oil, nuts, seeds and fresh oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon are full of fatty-acids. Don’t overdo it on oily fish though – it is advised to have no more than 2 portions a week.
Try and include protein in each of your meals, such as lean meat, poultry, eggs and fish. If you’re vegetarian then eat plenty of beans, lentils, tofu and vegetables, which are also rich in iron.
Calcium Rich Foods
While preparing your body for pregnancy it is essential to have calcium in your diet such as cheese, yoghurt and milk, as these are important for a baby’s bone development. Vegans can get their calcium from soy or green vegetables.
Zinc has been shown to help the production of eggs. Oysters and other seafoods are good sources of zinc as well, such as eggs, nuts, figs and whole grains. Zinc is also proven to be good for male sperm count.
Foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli and tomatoes, can help your body absorb iron more easily and iron is an important mineral during pregnancy. Vitamin C has also been shown to improve sperm quality in men.
It is important to keep hydrated. If you don’t drink enough fluid your cervical fluid becomes sluggish. It also helps thin out cervical mucus, which helps sperm swim freely through the cervix to the egg.
There are also some things to avoid
Studies have shown that high caffeine intake can interfere with conception. If you can, try avoiding caffeine altogether by cutting out coffee, tea and soft drinks. Once pregnant it is advised to drink no more than two five-ounce cups of regular coffee a day.
Alcohol can contribute to infertility so if you are having problems with getting pregnant it is recommended to avoid it completely if you can. Alcohol depletes your body of Vitamin B, which aids conception and supports the growth of the foetus.
Some fish are higher in mercury than others, for example, swordfish, bigeye tuna and marlin. High levels of mercury in the blood have been linked to fertility issues in both men and women and could also affect the development of the baby's nervous system. Low mercury fish is fine, such as cod, crab, anchovies, haddock and sole.