Getting Pregnant – Fertility Centre

Getting Pregnant – Fertility Centre

Our Fertility Centre offers natural solutions for you to find optimal fertility.

Preconception Care

Ideally both partners need to enjoy a period of at least 4 months of optimum health before getting pregnant. The formation of sperm may take up to 116 days, and immature eggs take approximately 100 days to mature before released for ovation. Given these cycles – 4 months is essential for the health of your sperm and eggs to be at their best.

A number of foetal abnormalities and childhood developmental problems have been found to be related to nutritional deficiencies before and during pregnancy.

Dietary Considerations

Food choices for both partners leading up to conception are important. Buy organic produce where possible.

Grains – Vary your grains, choosing whole meal, wholegrain, brown pasta, brown rice, spelt, millet, barley, corn.

Vegetables – Lots of vegetables should be eaten every day, making up to at least 40% of your total food intake. Keep nutrient loss to a minimum by eating raw, stir fried, steamed or dry baked vegetables.

Fruit – 2-3 apple-sized pieces of fruit should be eaten per day, no more as the sugar content is high. This includes fruits you decide to juice – dilute juice 50/50 with water.

Protein – A palm sized portion of protein at least twice a day. Protein can be animal or plant based. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, tissues, organs and hair – it is also required for the formation of semen, optimum function of the testes and manufacturing digestive enzymes. This is very important before conception as it helps to create healthy sperm, good quality eggs and aids in embryo development.

If you choose to have a plant based protein meal, because they are ‘incomplete’ proteins i.e. they don’t have the full range of amino acids that meat-based protein does you should combine at one meal foods from two of the following groups: nuts, grains/seeds and legumes/pulses. For example you could have rice and beans, nuts and lentils, nuts and seeds etc. Ocean fish is particularly beneficial and organically fed meat is preferred including eggs from organically fed chickens (keep your egg intake to 2-3 per week).

Dairy – Dairy should be eaten sparingly. It creates mucus in the fallopian tubes. Yogurt with no added sugar is ok, and goats milk/cheese is an alternative also. Avoid sausages, and if you want to cook with mince buy a trim piece of meat and get it minced on the spot or mince it yourself.

Fats – Olive or canola oil is best for cooking in, and add cold pressed olive oil to your salads. Substitute butter with avocado, hummus or nut spreads on your bread.

Water – Ideally water should be filtered to avoid heavy metals from rain water tanks or old pipes.

Supplementation

B Vitamins – The B vitamins have man beneficial effects in preconception care and in pregnancy. Deficiencies of all of the B vitamins have been associated with fertility problems, miscarriage, neonatal or perinatal death, fetal abnormalities and low birth weight babies.

Folic Acid – Requirement for folic acid doubles during pregnancy. It is required in the 3 months pre and post conception to prevent neural tube defects. Folic acid supplementation throughout pregnancy also improves birth weight and APGAR scores. Pica, unusual food cravings is commonly experienced in pregnancy and indicates a severe nutritional lack, often a mineral deficiency.

Calcium – Low calcium contributes to increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia.

Magnesium – Low magnesium may lead to premature labour and pre-eclampsia and love birth weight. High blood pressure is also associated with low magnesium. Leg cramps, common in pregnancy during the third trimester respond to magnesium supplementation.

Fatty Acids – Essential fatty acids are an essential part of the cell membrane and are important in the formation of new tissues and for normal cell signaling responses. Healthy sperm are highly dependent on an adequate supply of essential fatty acids, and the developing foetus has high requirements for essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for visual and cortical function. Foetal DHA correlates positively with birth weight. Supplementation with omega-6 fatty acids may prevent hypertension in pregnancy.

Vitamin E – Vitamin E improves sperm motility and is effective in the treatment of low sperm count and abnormal sperm. Vitamin E is also effective in preventing habitual miscarriage.

Zinc – Zinc is commonly deficient with 67% of Australian men and 85% of women having marginal dietary levels. Zinc is considered to be the single most important nutrient for trying to get pregnant or pregnant women. It is also vital for sperm health and increase fertility in women. Zinc is present in large amounts in semen and supplementation increases sperm count and sperm motility.

During pregnancy inadequate zinc leads to common problems such as stretch marks, cracked nipples and prolonged labour. More serious problems such as foetal growth retardation and congenital malformations may also result from zinc deficiency.

Postnatal depression has been linked with zinc deficiency by several researchers and zinc deficient babies cry excessively and are difficult to calm.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is necessary for health of the cilia in the fallopian tubes, for health of the testes, for sperm production and is important for zinc metabolism. Vitamin A is toxic in pregnancy only at daily doses above 25,000IU however doses below 10,000IU are generally recommended to allow a considerable margin for safety.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C improves all semen parameters. Even a marginal deficiency causes oxidative damage to sperm, resulting in reduced sperm motility and viability. In the female vitamin C is necessary for maturation of the pre-ovulatory follicle.

Selenium and Taurine – Selenium deficiency is associated with decreased sperm motility and increased numbers of abnormal sperm. Taurine is also important for sperm motility. In females, selenium deficiency is associated with infertility, spontaneous abortion and neural tube defects. One quarter of infant mortality has been linked with selenium deficiency.

Things to Avoid

Foods to avoid are products containing white flour and sugar.

Refined carbohydrates – Refined carbs have very little nutritional value yet they still require the presence of vitamins and minerals to be metabolized. So they cost the body nutrients without providing any to replace what was used up. A diet high in products containing sugar depresses the immune system, and sugar competes with vitamin C entering the immune cells.

Green potatoes – are toxic and should be avoided.

Fats and fried foods – avoid animal fats and fats or oils which have been heated.

Additives – almost everything which comes in a can, packet or bottle has something added to preserve it, enhance it’s colour, taste or texture. This also includes processed meats such as salami – they contain preservatives.

Salt – Avoid salting your food if that you are eating is already pre-prepared – this includes bread.

Coffee and tea – Replace coffee and tea with herbal teas, but if it is too difficult allow yourself 2 cups of tea per day. Caffeine adversely affects reproductive health. It interferes with the ability of the sperm to swim forward and reduces fertility in women. It also inhibits the absorption of iron and destroys B vitamins. There have been links with caffeine consumption and chromosomal damage, and consumption during pregnancy is associated with spontaneous abortion and congenital abnormalities.

Alcohol – There are direct effects on fertility for both partners regarding the consumption of alcohol. Considering the length of time to form mature sperm and egg it should be avoided by both partners for at least 4 months prior to conception. Studies have noted an increase in miscarriage and chromosomal malformation. It also depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals essential for the formation of sex hormones and proper fertility.

Allergens – Do not eat a particular food if you suspect an allergy or intolerance to it.

The acid/alkali balance in your diet is very important. If cervical mucus is too acidic it will destroy sperm and will also be a place less inviting for an embryo to implant.

The aim is to get your body in peak condition prior to conceiving, which includes a strong digestion and immune system. The effect of stress, addressing the fear of miscarrying, being ready to parent a child etc, should not be underestimated, particularly if such thoughts have been hanging around for a while. Stress can delay ovulation which in turn affects the health of the embryo. So find many ways to relax and reduce your workload and responsibilities.

Herbal Treatments

A combination of herbs with detoxifying and liver supportive properties is recommended.

St Mary’s Thistle – St Mary’s Thistle is detoxifying and hepatoprotective. It increases activity of the cytochorome P450 system, has anti-oxidant activity and increases intracellular levels of glutathione. It protects the liver against liver toxins and chronic exposure to heavy metals.

Reishi Mushroom and Burdock – Reishi mushroom, Burdock and Grapeseed protect against the effects of radiation. Reishi is useful in the overproduction of sperm antibodies.

Shiitake Mushroom – Shiitake mushroom improves cellular oxygenation and enhances immunity.

Grapeseed – Grapeseed extract is a rich source of potent anti-oxidants that are readily incorporated in to cell membranes. They are able to increase vitamin C levels and prevent the release and synthesis of inflammatory agents such as histamine, prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

Garlic – Garlic supports immune function and is effective against many bacteria, viruses, fungi and other toxins. It strongly inhibits candida which is often aggravated during pregnancy. Candida can seriously affect fertility and is associated with endometriosis, lowered immunity and poor absorption of nutrients.

Red Clover – Red clover and Burdock are blood cleansing herbs.

Cleavers – Cleavers is a gentle lymphatic stimulant.

Ginger – Ginger is anti-oxidant and improves/optimizes the digestive and circulatory functions and is used to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Globe Artichoke – Globe artichoke has anti-oxidant properties, increases bile secretion, relieves nausea, abdominal pain and other digestive symptoms.

Your Program

During the preconception period, extra detoxification may be required, for example if there are high levels of mercury or lead. Additional things to consider are to avoid exposure to toxins such as household cleaners, petrol fumes, etc and address any weight concerns (either under weight or overweight can affect a child’s health) and increasing your exercise to increase general health, reduce stress and increase pelvic circulation.

Protocols for treatment of infertility, menstrual disorders or allergy can be added to the basic nutrition program.

We have a range of formulations which, in conjunction with a prescribed diet provides complete nutritional support. These supplements are designed as an all-purpose program for general preconception and pregnancy care. Individual needs are also considered and may be added to the program where necessary.

If you are ready to take the next step towards planning for a healthy pregnancy feel free to call our fertility centre on 9879 9596 contact us online to make an appointment with one of our naturopaths.

Get in touch now

To make an appointment phone (03) 9879 9596.