When we spend so much of our early life trying not to get pregnant, it is natural to assume that getting pregnant will be a piece of cake – but that is not always the case. Around 1 in 6 couples struggle to conceive – ‘struggling to conceive’ is defined as 12 month of unprotected sex with no pregnancy.
Advice you often hear when trying to conceive is ‘relax and it’ll happen’ and although there may be an element of truth to that statement, it is not the whole picture.
Fertility can depend on many factors – physical, environmental and emotional. Couples often spend years planning weddings, buying houses, building careers and relationships and yet we often expect pregnancy to just happen.
It is ideal to do some preconception preparation before conceiving and I will generally recommend at least 3 months of preparation prior to conceive as 3-months is the amount of time it takes for new sperm to form and for eggs to mature.
If you are feeling anxious about your fertility, the below 6 steps might help you:
- Get a basic fertility MOT. That means gents go for a sperm test and ladies track your period and ovulation to ensure they are regular and get some of your basic hormones tested on day 3 of your cycle (FSH, LH, oestradiol, prolactin and testosterone). Then find a practitioner who can support you with the interpretation of these results.
Then regardless of the above results, the below nutritional and lifestyle advice can support everyone:
- Ensure you have complex carbs (wild rice, oats, root vegetables, quinoa, buckwheat, legumes, lentils, spelt pasta and bread), protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and nuts), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds) with each meal.
- Eat 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit a day – preferably organic.
- Get rid of hormone disrupting plastics in your life. Replace plastic water bottles with glass. Replace plastic Tupperware with glass.
- Stop smoking, reduce sugar and refine (beige) carbs, stop drinking alcohol and reduce caffeine as much as possible.
- Make sure you ladies are taking a good quality pre-natal that includes folate (much better than folic acid). Brands for different budgets, include; Together Prenatal, Cytoplan prenatal and Optimal prenatal.
Rosie Tadman is a registered Nutritional Therapist (CNHC and BANT registered) and specialises in fertility, pregnancy and postpartum Nutrition.
She is also one of our RHG Patient Support Partners.