For some people it happens by accident and others’ make a plan and yet there are still some that, even with all the planning and wishing, spunky semen and exquisite eggs seem to be more of a dream than a reality. These four factors can help you ensure you are laying the foundation for fertility and a healthy fetus.
Nutrition for her and for him
Infertility has been associated with both men and women who do not have adequate vitamin D. Calcium is especially important for men because of its role in the creation and movement of sperm. Zinc, folic acid and a diet rich in antioxidants are also associated with a healthy sperm count.
For men to improve their fertility, make sure you eat enough fiber, focus on low-glycemic index foods, lower intake of meat, increase monounsaturated fat and decrease trans fats.
Women can increase their intake of EPA and DHA, while ensuring they get enough protein, zinc, iron, choline and folic acid. This can be achieved by focusing on whole foods vs. fast foods. All vitamins and minerals are important to the health of the parent as well as the fetus, thus meeting the RDA is important to both men and women.
Weight, part of the gravity of the situation
The target range for BMI is 18.5-24.9 this is because those who fall below are often lacking in adequate nutrition and those who are above are overweight or obese and have decreased fertility. Women who have a BMI that is less than 20 run the risk of anovulation, thus decreasing her chance at pregnancy. A healthy BMI is achievable with calorie intake that meets but does not exceed your needs and physical activity.
Exposure to chemicals, pesticides, mercury, lead and solvents in the environment has been associated with lower fertility, miscarriage, physical and mental abnormalities of the fetus. If you are looking for ways to increase fertility, look to decrease exposure to environmental toxins.
Alcohol, smoking, caffeine and illicit drug use
Alcohol and tobacco increase oxidative damage to cells, have been associated with undesired outcomes, can negatively impact a growing fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage. Illicit drug use is associated with lifestyle choices that generally result in nutrient deficiencies and reduce fertility in both men and women. Intake of less than 200mg of caffeine appears to be safe, however above that there may be an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Women’s Health Care Physicians. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2017, from https://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Exposure-to-Toxic-Environmental-Agents
- Fronczak, C. M., Kim, E. D., & Barqawi, A. B. (2013, January 02). The Insults of Illicit Drug Use on Male Fertility. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2164/jandrol.110.011874/pdf
- Effects of Drug Abuse on the Male and Female Reproductive Systems. (2016, August 13). Retrieved July 18, 2017, from http://drugabuse.com/library/effects-of-drugs-male-female-reproductive-systems/