Fertility Guide: 4 Healthy Habits to Start When Trying to Conceive
Every journey to conception is unique.
Unlike pregnancy, trying to conceive a baby has no established time table. For some it happens right away. For others, it can take months or even years, which can be frustrating, disappointing, and overwhelming. We know everyone’s journey is different.
The journey to conception can be complicated and there is no “one-size-fits-all” guide to success. Some things are in our control and some are not. What’s a mama to do? Control what you can.
The focus of this guide is to support you in whatever part of the journey you are on by highlighting 4 key areas of health and lifestyle that you can control: nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle choices, and tracking your cycle.
1. Nutrition: the foods you put in your body affect your fertility.
Your dietary choices not only influence your weight, alertness, sleep, and overall health. Diet also plays a key role in helping to reach your fertility goals, as well. Whole, fresh foods have been a staple for thousands of years, all across the world. And today, even with so many advancements in technology, whole foods still play key roles. In other words, nature got it right long ago. Listen to nature as you begin your parenting journey.
Here’s what to eat when trying to conceive.
Nutrient-dense vegetables and low-glycemic fruits
To start your pregnancy off on ideal footing, you’ll want to consume plenty of vegetables and fruits—because they contain folate and antioxidants, which have been shown to play a role in health when pursuing fertility goals (1).
Certain vegetables and fruits have more nutritional weight than others.
Folate-rich vegetables and fruits for fertility health and beyond
Dark, leafy greens like organic spinach and kale are rich in antioxidants like folate, iron, zinc, and antioxidants. Folate is a key nutrient when pursuing your fertility goals and during all stages of pregnancy. Folate contributes to your body’s methylation process, which plays a role in the quality of your eggs. Folate can also be found in oranges and avocados.
Low-sugar fruits and antioxidants for fertility health
Because your egg health is negatively affected by spikes in insulin, limit sugar, simple carbs, and high-glycemic fruits like bananas, grapes, and dried fruits. Berries, like blueberries, are a good, low-sugar option. Blueberries are also a strong antioxidant source. And while antioxidants benefit your health in general, they also protect your eggs from free-radicals in your system.
Eat vegetables with phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol
Cooked cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, contain the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol matters to fertility health because it promotes estrogen conversion and helps maintain a healthy estrogen-progesterone balance.
How many servings of vegetables and low-sugar fruits per day?
Aim to eat around six to eight servings a day. One serving size is usually considered to be between four and six ounces. And remember that there is a difference between eating 6-8 servings of spinach and blueberries and eating 6-8 servings of bananas and grapes (2).
Get your minimum 6 servings per day by eating 2 with breakfast, 2 with lunch, and 2 with dinner.
Sources of protein
Along with fruits and vegetables, consuming quality protein like fish, legumes, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef can build up your reproductive readiness. These proteins assist in the manufacturing of the hormones, enzymes, and blood cells needed for supported fertility health.
Meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy are also great sources of vitamin B12 which is necessary for the creation of DNA and supports brain and nervous system development. If you are a non-meat eater or vegan, unless you are taking a supplement with vitamin B12, it can be difficult to get your daily requirement for vitamin B12. Remember to avoid heavily-processed meats and dairy products.(2).
How much protein per day?
Aim to get about 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams per kg) of body weight. This amounts to about 35 to 50 grams per day.
Your body also needs healthy fats as they play an important role in hormone production and ovulation. But if you are looking to become pregnant, you should stave off too much saturated fats.
Make sure you’re consuming monounsaturated fats–like olive oil and nuts such as almonds, cashews, and macadamias. And for all of you avocado lovers, here is some fantastic news: avocados are rich in the “good” fats. So enjoy avocado slices with your breakfast or have some guacamole later on.
How much fat per day?If you eat about 2000 calories per day, aim to get about 45-75 grams of healthy fats per day.
Among those who may be at risk for iron deficiency are menstruating women, vegans and vegetarians, and pregnant women. Seek iron-rich foods to support your overall health while you pursue your fertility goals.
Iron-rich foods include grass-fed meats, oysters, sardines, liver, quinoa, chard, spinach.
To help extract the most amount of iron, it is best to pair the iron-containing food with foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, broccoli, strawberries, and dark leafy greens.
Snacks in between meals
For snacking, choose nutrient-dense nuts and seeds over salty potato chips and sweets, which can cause unwanted insulin spikes which may not promote egg health. Insulin plays a key role in the regulation of reproduction in addition to metabolism, (3).
Nuts and seeds help to regulate your body weight and provide great sources of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. This is ideal snacking as you pursue your fertility goals.
A standard snack serving is about 1.5 ounces.
Bridging the gap
No matter how healthy you eat, it can still be difficult to get enough of all the nutrients your body needs from food every day. Also, many nutrients, like folate, can break down when your food is chopped or cooked. We recommend you follow the above guidelines and bridge the nutritional gap with a prenatal or fertility multivitamin.
If you are just starting to think about trying to conceive or at the beginning of your pregnancy journey, we recommend a prenatal vitamin, such as our Mama Bird Prenatal Multi+ line. If you are looking for support for him as you begin your pregnancy journey, the Mama Bird line pairs well with Men's Fertility supplement.If you have been trying to conceive for more than four months, there is Women's Fertility supplement, a complete 3-in-1 formula of herbs, antioxidants, and a methylated prenatal multivitamin to promote vibrant health with specific nutrition for your fertility goals. This also pairs well with Men's Fertility supplement.
How much folate? When taking methylfolate to help with your fertility goals, consume between 400 and 800 mcg daily.
How much vitamin B6? Look to take between 50 and 100 mcg per day.
How much Iron? Take between 18 and 27 milligrams of iron each day. Iron chelate is the non-constipating version of iron. Among those who may be at risk for iron deficiency are menstruating women, vegans and vegetarians, and pregnant women. Consult your medical provider for your personal iron needs.
How much Iodine? 150 to 200 mcg per day is recommended, which is lower than normal because you are trying to conceive.
How much Choline? Women looking to become pregnant should supplement with around 400 mg/daily.
How much DHA? Around 300 to 500 mg/day is recommended.
How much vitamin D3? Women looking to get pregnant should have their levels checked, but most women should take between 2000 and 6000 IU daily.
Look for probiotics with: 50 billion+ CFUs with multi-strain benefits of 15 different probiotic strains.
By following the above food guidelines and bridging the gap with the supplement recommendations, you will have a strong nutritional foundation when trying to conceive. If managing all of these different supplements in the recommended amounts is a bit overwhelming, we have you covered with Women's Fertility supplement. It’s a complete 3-in-1 formula of herbs, antioxidants, and a methylated prenatal multivitamin to promote vibrant health as you pursue your fertility goals.
3. Lifestyle: your day-to-day activities matter, even when it comes to fertility health.