Getting pregnant is not always easy, but thankfully there are some things that can help the baby making process along, such as food. While diet can't cure functional infertility problems, what you and your partner eat could have an impact on how easily you fall pregnant. There is no better time to focus on maintaining a healthier diet than when you're planning for a baby.
Changing your diet doesn't have to be a chore and you may find that you and your partner enjoy preparing and cooking a variety of healthy, fertility boosting foods together. We hope you find our fertility diet information useful. Good luck!
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General pre-conception dietary guidelines
- Caffeine and alcohol can be toxic to developing sperm so encourage your partner to minimise his intake of both. If either of you are cigarette smokers, you would benefit from stopping. Male smokers produce less sperm per ejaculation than non-smokers and female smokers can have problems with ovulation and their menstrual cycles.
- Watch your vitamin C intake and ensure you are eating plenty of citrus foods, berries, kiwifruit and drinking fresh juices.
- Both watch your weight. Being overweight or obese affects fertility and contributes to hormone imbalance. Women who are too fat or too thin for their age can have abnormal menstrual cycles.
- Both you and your partner need to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. A healthy diet including red and white meat, fish and seafood, milk and dairy foods as well as bread and cereals will meet your body?s nutritional requirements.
- Boost your own calcium intake with milk and dairy products, your folate levels with plenty of green leafy vegetables and your omega 3 intake with oily fish.
- Start taking a folic acid supplement up to 3 months before you conceive to help protect your baby from developing a neural tube defect. A supplement of 500 micrograms/day is the recommendation. Even if you are eating a diet high in folate, it will be difficult to ensure you are getting sufficient to gain the protective benefits from your diet alone.
Need some tips for getting pregnant? We’ve gathered a bunch of them from real mums who have been through the same problems. If you have any handy tips on how to get pregnant that you?d like to share please log in below and let us know!
Casey: Just relax, I fell pregnant straight away after we stopped trying so hard and began to relax about it.
Margaret: Both times I ate garlic prawns I got pregnant, also i had started eating Vegemite again after years of not liking it.
Nicola: Evening primrose oil until after ovulation. Helps your ‘fertile mucous’ be a nice consistency for the sperm to swim through,. Don’t take after ovulation as it can cause uterus to contract therefore not allowing a fertilised egg to attach itself
Natalie: Shatavari is meant to help.
Katie: I didn’t drink any alcohol for a month, ate well and was training for an Olympic distance triathlon when I unexpectedly fell pregnant!
Jessica: Raspberry leaf tea tablets, women’s balance multi vitamin, and definitely Acupuncture!
Lucy: I just started taking Blackmore’s Conceive-Well Gold, this was just to ensure that my body started off with all the right minerals and vitamin levels.
Jo: Something that may pay to be checked if it seems not to be happening so easily is ask for a thyroid function test and thyroid antibody level.
Melissa: Losing weight did it for me and hubby quit smoking.
Jayne: I started taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid 3 months before trying. Stopped all bad habits, e.g. smoking. And started charting my cycle on period tracker app. Then when was ovulating had sex every second day and didn’t pee straight away after. Got prego first month of trying this year.
Food for fertility
The focus on food during conception is really about optimising your chances of conceiving and then progressing to a healthy pregnancy. A diet full of nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods can be a positive way to increase fertility. We have also got tips about foods to avoid, as well as how much unhealthy options (like caffeine and alcohol) are allowed. Try our delicious range of recipes for some culinary inspiration, and get tips from real mums with their tried and tested methods.
Turn back time with an all star female fertility diet
Female fertility is strongly affected by ageing, so it might help to keep your body’s “internal age” in check by keeping to a healthy lifestyle. A generally healthy diet of unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds will help get the body ready for action. So a few items to pop on your shopping list include:
- Dairy products
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
If you and your partner enjoy a glass of vino in the evening then now could be the ideal time to cut it entirely. You’re unlikely to know straight away once you’ve conceived and the recommendation is for women not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. So a glass of wine during your period is probably fine but kick that and reduce caffeine when it comes to ovulation time. A few other nasties to keep out of sight and out of mind include:
- Trans fats
- Soft cheeses
- Unpasteurised dairy products
- Raw sushi
And lastly, reduce those carbs. Not only will your waist line thank you, your baby-to-be will too. Chuck the white bread, white rice and pasta in favour of wholegrains, yummy fruit, veg and protein.
Try exercising three times a week to keep your body fit and healthy – a gentle walk is great, as is swimming, a yoga or pilates class.
Male fertility diet
It takes two to tango, so he doesn’t get off that easily. When it comes to male fertility a bit of healthy eating can make a big difference. Go for unprocessed foods rich in nutrients, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes and try to convince him to avoid any junk food binges. There are some foods thought to be “sperm friendly” including:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Citrus fruits
Supplements that include selenium, zinc and B-group vitamins are also understood to be helpful. Talk to your partner about quitting smoking and recreational drugs, drinking less alcohol and caffeine and avoiding trans-fats.
Get more fertility information
Around one in six Australian couples are described as infertile. While diet won’t cure medical infertility, it could help if you’re having a tough time getting pregnant. Check out our pages on male fertility and female fertility, as well as the chances of getting pregnant for more information.