Nutrition Tips to Boost Fertility: Preparing to carry a baby requires a dedicated approach to nutrition, says Dr. Amanda Roberson at SCNM Medical Center.
Dr. Amanda Roberson
Keeping the body healthy is one thing, but preparing it to carry a baby is another. Dr. Amanda Roberson, a naturopathic physician at the SCNM Medical Center, in Tempe, explains that there’s much more to fertility than meets the eye. “Nutrition is fundamental and foundational to health in general, particularly as it relates to fertility,” says Roberson. “When we attempt to bring a new life into the world, there are a number of micronutrients necessary for all the chemical reactions that take place to help the sperm and egg to unite successfully.”
This means a diet filled with junk food can cause issues when trying to get pregnant. “Eating processed foods, artificial sweeteners, foods high in sugar and even excess caffeine [more than one or two cups of coffee per day] can all overburden the body, so a whole foods diet with copious quantities of vegetables is the best option for fertility,” Roberson says.
In particular, women should focus on eating green, leafy vegetables due to their high nutrient density; eating a variety of colorful foods will also benefit the body by increasing antioxidant and anthocyanin intake. Healthy fats such as coconut oil, along with plenty of protein in the form of grass-fed beef, wild salmon, pasture-raised chicken and eggs rich in omega-3 fats, will also provide necessary nutrients for preparing a woman’s body to conceive.
“The most common mistake women make is not planning ahead,” says Roberson. “You should start preparing for pregnancy at least a year prior to conception, as it is very taxing on the body to produce another human.”
Ideally, a woman should cleanse her body of toxins for about a year, coupled with intermittent fasting or other types of detox programs. Regular exercise and building up her nutrient status through whole foods and supplements will also help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy. Roberson added that women should never underestimate the importance of sleep and stress management.
Certain factors, such as a woman’s weight (underweight or overweight) and conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also affect fertility. In fact, PCOS is the primary reason many women today have difficulty conceiving, according to Roberson. There are numerous options available through naturopathic medicine to alleviate the imbalances associated with PCOS, and proper nutrition can also help women manage weight.
Kate Lloyd is senior communications coordinator at SCNM. For more information about how nutrition can affect fertility and hormone levels, call 480-428-3232 for an appointment at SCNM Medical Center or visit MedCenter.scnm.edu.