Sponsored by Melbourne IVF
Words by Karen Kingham
Deciding to try for a baby is a big step, but how much do you know about boosting your chances of conceiving naturally? Making small but significant changes to your food and lifestyle choices can go a long way towards supporting your fertility and setting the foundations for a happy, healthy pregnancy.
1. Aim for your healthy weight range. You can’t ignore the scales – your weight can affect your fertility. Too many kilos more or less than your optimum weight can unbalance hormones levels (for both men and women), making it harder to conceive naturally. Check your ideal weight by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). A healthy BMI is between 20 and 25, and any food or lifestyle choices you can make to bring your weight closer to this range can have a positive effect on your efforts to conceive.
2. Nurture yourself with good nutrition. Research shows a preconception diet overhaul can pay off when it comes to falling pregnant. The easiest way to boost the quality of your daily diet is to focus on eating more fresh and minimally processed whole foods, such as:
- Whole-grain and slow, low-GI carbohydrates
- Low-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds
- Lean protein, like fish, eggs, chicken and trimmed red meat
3. Curb the caffeine. Order a decaf coffee and opt for herbal teas, because too much caffeine may increase the time it takes for you to conceive a baby.
4. Focus on folate. Folate is a B-group vitamin essential for the good health and development of babies while in the womb. It’s never too early to enjoy more folate-rich foods, such as dried peas and beans, spinach, broccoli, oranges and folate fortified bread. You should also start taking a folate supplement that contains at least 400 micrograms of folate.
5. Bypass alcohol. Say no to a glass of wine with dinner and enjoy mocktails when celebrating, because moderate to heavy drinking can affect the fertility of both men and women. Australian health experts recommend that the safest option for women planning a pregnancy is avoiding alcohol, and that men make their limit two standard drinks a day.
6. Savour seafood. Add fish to the menu two to three times per week, and reap the preconception benefits of the healthy omega-3 fats, iodine and zinc, but always take care to avoid higher mercury varieties.
7. Head for a healthier lifestyle. Ditch the cigarettes, because smoking is simply no good for either of you or your chances of conceiving a baby. And move more by taking up regular gentle exercise, such as walking or swimming – just take care not to over-do it, as this can disrupt hormones and affect the fertility of you both.
Read more about how eating and living well can boost your fertility here.
Melbourne IVF, part of Australia’s largest network of fertility clinics, Virtus Health, are the leading minds in fertility, dedicated to your success. With more than 35 years’ experience, Melbourne IVF has been helping couples and individuals achieve their dream of a family by offering world-class fertility treatment and access to the very latest assisted reproduction technology. Our collaborative team of expert fertility specialists, nurses, scientists and counsellors work together to give you with the best possible chance of having a baby. To find out more about the Melbourne IVF clinics and specialist treatments, please visit mivf.com.au.