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Fertility clinic

You want a baby, so how can you give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant?

If you’re thinking of trying for a baby, you should start by introducing a healthy regime at least three months before. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important, as being excessively overweight or underweight can contribute to infertility. Bear in mind that both the man and woman should make changes to their lifestyle and diet.

Your fertility-boosting diet

“High quality protein is very important for fertility and it is a good idea to eat a wide variety, including vegetarian sources such as beans, pulses and nuts as well as meat and fish,” says Sian Eustace of health store Healing Harvest in Kinvara, Co Galway. “Fats are also key for fertility, but should be of a high quality, and trans fats such as those found in margarine type spreads and processed foods should be avoided. Always opt for good quality high fats, rather than the low or no fat products.

“Dietary fibre is very important as it enables the body to rid itself of unwanted hormones and other waste products,” says Sian. “This will enable hormonal balance which is key for fertility. Eating a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables will increase antioxidant levels in the body. Where possible, opt for organic products. These are grown and produced without chemicals and, as such, reduce the toxic load on the body, enabling it to function at its peak level.

“Reducing refined carbohydrates, such as refined sugar and white flour products, can be helpful for everyone in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Avoid caffeine and nicotine at this time. Remember that caffeine is not just in coffee and black tea but also in green tea, white tea, matcha, maté and chocolate.”

Supplements for fertility

“If you decide to take a supplement, it is important to take one which is safe for preconception or pregnancy depending the stage you are at,” says Sian Eustace. “There are a number of reputable products on the market which are specially formulated for preconception and pregnancy. Most will contain folic acid or folate as part of the formulation.”

Your A-Z of fertility boosting vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin A – aids implantation of the fertilised egg. It is also vital for growth of the foetus, especially the heart, hearing and visual development. There is some controversy over optimum levels in pregnancy.

B vitamins – these are needed to create new blood cells for the growing baby.

Vitamin C - essential for the formation of collagen to keep the protective membrane around baby strong.

Calcium – essential for the development of baby’s bones, heart and nervous system.

Vitamin D – helps tooth enamel and bone development in the foetus.

Folic acid – very important before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy. From the moment you start trying to conceive, you should take a daily 400mcg supplement of folic acid.

Iron – to carry oxygen to every cell in body of the developing foetus. Go for a non-constipating form of iron.

Magnesium – for relaxing the body and relieving stress. Ongoing chronic stress can lead to disturbances in the menstrual cycle, failing to ovulate and infertility.

Omega 3 fats – vital for many functions in the body related to reproduction and the developing foetus. Oily fish, nuts and seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids.

Zinc – “For both men and women, zinc can be a key mineral in fertility. Foods which naturally contain zinc are pumpkin seeds, meat, shellfish, beans and pulses, nuts, dairy and egg," says Sian Eustace.

Take it easy

“Stress can have a huge impact on fertility outcomes,” says Sian Eustace. “It is important to look for ways to reduce stress levels such as yoga, t'ai chi, mindfulness or even taking time each day to be in nature.” Many people looking to improve their fertility have found complementary therapies such as acupuncture can help.

Toxins and your body

“If you are really focused on eating healthily and without toxins, you should also look at the shelves in your bathroom and cleaning cupboards,” says Sian Eustace. “These products can contain harsh chemicals which can increase the toxic load on your body. There are many body care and home cleaning products sold in health stores that contain less chemicals and are more gentle on your body.”

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