If you’re trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to start boosting your body now with vitamins and minerals it will need throughout pregnancy. Did you know it can take up to three months for nutrients to help prepare your body for pregnancy?
A well-balanced diet will not only prepare your body to conceive, but it can help you actually get pregnant as well. Certain nutrients have been proven to improve the ovulatory function of a woman, increasing her chances of becoming pregnant. Even if you’re consuming a balanced, healthy diet, taking vitamins can ensure you are getting everything you need and fills in any nutritional gaps!
Eating as if you’re already pregnant can prepare the body, especially during the earliest weeks of pregnancy when the embryo is developing—you might not even know you’re pregnant yet! Ensure the best possible growing environment by prepping your body in advance. While you can get most vitamins from food sources, supplements can be especially helpful once morning sickness, fatigue, and cravings kick in and disrupt your regular diet.
If you don’t want to take a million vitamins, find a prenatal vitamin with most of the following things and add more if needed. For example, most prenatal vitamins do not contain omega-3s which are essential!
Vitamins For Mom
Zinc supports fertility by regulating normal hormone function, cell division, and ovulation. Our bodies don’t store zinc, so it’s important for women who are trying to conceive to get a daily dose of it.
Folic acid is one of the most talked about vitamins for pregnancy, as it is vital in conception as well as throughout the first three months of pregnancy. This vitamin creates red blood cells, makes extra blood for your body during pregnancy, and decreases the possibility of a neural tube defect, according to the CDC. Both zinc and folic acid are important in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. It’s also an important nutrient in helping the baby’s spine to develop appropriately. A general recommendation is to get 400 micrograms a day.
P.S dad can benefit from folic acid as well! More on that below.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid
The omega-3 fatty acid has been proven to help fertility by regulating hormones, promoting ovulation, and increasing cervical mucus. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in some omega-3s is vital for an infant's brain and eye development, and mothers provide the sole source of it for their babies! There’s also been research that omega-3s can decrease the likelihood of premature birth and pre-term delivery.
It’s no secret that a growing baby and momma need calcium! Along with forming strong bones, calcium is important for baby’s teeth, heart, nerves, and muscles. If you don’t have enough calcium in your body, your baby will take it from you — which isn’t good for your bones! Be sure to keep your baby and yourself happy by getting 1,000 mg/day. In addition to dairy, calcium is found in tofu, tortillas, fortified bread, and orange juice, to name a few. If you’re getting calcium through a supplement, be sure it’s “lead-free.”
Good to Have:
Vitamin E is one vitamin you’ll want to start getting into your body as soon as you plan to start conceiving. Higher levels of vitamin E in the body has been shown to increase cervical mucus, which makes it easier for sperm to stay alive longer.
Since vitamin C isn’t naturally stored in the body, it’s recommended to get a daily dose of it, as it regulates the menstruation cycle and normal ovulation.
Research has shown that selenium can promote healthy follicles in the ovaries, which develop and release the eggs. Most people get enough selenium in their diet (and having too much can cause more harm than good) but it’s something to consider adding to your diet as this antioxidant might help to prevent miscarriages and birth defects that are caused by DNA damage.
Low iron has been shown to prevent ovulation in addition to leading to poor egg health. Iron is important as it makes hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. You should get approval from your doctor prior to starting an iron supplement, as people can store iron abnormally which potentially leads to toxicity.
While all B vitamins can be beneficial, B6—in particular—can help with getting pregnant as it aides your ovaries in releasing an egg around ovulation. In addition, some studies suggest B6 can help to prevent morning sickness.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
This antioxidant is found in many foods, but our bodies also naturally produce it. Our cells use CoQ10 to produce the energy needed for cell growth and maintenance. It’s recommended for older women in particular who are trying to conceive to get extra CoQ10 to help improve their chances of a successful pregnancy.
Vitamins For Dad
There’s some research from the American Pregnancy Association which shows a zinc deficiency can correlate to impaired semen production. In addition to zinc (we’ve talked about the benefits here), antioxidants, L-carnitine, and folic acid are important for fathers-to-be when trying to conceive.
As well as being vital for mommas, men trying to conceive should get their daily dose as it can increase the quality and quantity of sperm.
Vitamins C and E, in particular, may help with fertility and better semen quality. You can get these through pills or by adding foods such as oranges and strawberries for vitamin C and almonds/sunflower seeds for vitamin E.
There’s some research that L-carnitine can enhance sperm motility as well as play an important role in sperm maturation and metabolism. You can get this in supplement form!
Before adding any vitamins or supplements into your diet, be sure to talk to your doctor first. You may think you need a vitamin, but your body might tell you otherwise. Vitamins regulated by Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) or the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) are some of the safest.
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