Fertility is a reflection of general health and wellbeing. Self-care during pre-conception is not only beneficial for both paternal and maternal fertility status but also for the long-term health of the baby. Lifestyle and nutrition factors play an essential part in the process and affect your chances of pregnancy which are as follows (Mumford, et. al., 2014):
- 1 in 6 couples is infertile. In 40% the male is infertile, 40% the female, 10% both are and for10% the cause is unknown.
- 74.6% of couples ages 25 will conceive in <6 months.
- 25.5% of couples aged 25-29 will conceive in <6 months.
- 3 out of 5 couples conceive within 6 months.
- 1 in 4 conceive between 6 months – 1 year.
- Everyone else takes longer and may suffer from a problem (Hechtman, 2012).
Prior to pre-conception care, it is recommended that a couple should undergo testing to determine their health status.
The causes of fertility problems are many and vary. Some contributing factors include:
- Obesity (BMI >35) or underweight (BMI <19)
- Alcohol (>2 drinks/day) or smoking
- Caffeine (>250mg/day)
- Medical conditions
- Testicular trauma
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Endocrine disorders
- Fibroids and polyps (Hechtman, 2012)
Preconception care and nutrition management should start a minimum of 100 days for women and 75 days for men prior to conception (Hechtman, 2012). Macro nutrient intake should be balanced across all groups including protein, carbohydrates, healthy fat and also plenty of water! (Hurst & Linton, 2015).
A day on a plate
Breakfast: Smoothie – oats, berries, chia, almond milk
Morning tea: mixed nuts, 1 fruit & kombucha
Lunch: fresh salad – olives, fresh veg, olive oil, quinoa & wild salmon
Afternoon tea: celery, carrot & capsicum sticks with tzatziki, hummus & guacamole
Dinner: lightly roasted veggies in coconut oil, rump steak
Supper: 2 squares 85% dark chocolate
Fertility friendly breakfast Smoothie
35g organic rolled oats
100g frozen blueberries
1 tbsp chia seed
1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk
touch of cinnamon and nutmeg
water as desired
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend and serve.