Healthy parents create healthy babies. The inclusion of certain nutrients can improve fertility, aid conception, support healthy foetal growth and reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. There are so many wonderful foods to include to support your fertility and pregnancy, but here are a few of my favourites:
- Oily fish – small, oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for foetal brain and nervous system development. They also help reduce the risk of peri and post natal depression. Small fish are safer as they contain less heavy metals – avoid larger fish such as tuna and swordfish for these reasons, as the metals can be damaging to both foetal and maternal health.
- Green leafy vegetables – these are a major source of folate which is most known for its ability to prevent neural tube defects, however it is involved in so much more including egg health and implantation.
- Oysters – known as natures aphrodisiac, thanks to their high zinc content which supports hormone synthesis and libido. Oysters are also a great source of selenium. Zinc and selenium are both amazing nutrients for both women’s and men’s fertility; acting as antioxidants to prevent sperm and eggs from free radical damage. They also help to improve sperm motility (ability to swim), morphology (shape) and count (amount of sperm in semen).
- Avocado – did you know it takes 9 months for an avocado to mature from blossom to a ripened fruit? Avocados are a great source of vitamin E, vitamin B6 and monounsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin B6 supports ovulation which is essential for both the release of an egg and progesterone synthesis. Progesterone is the hormone which helps to maintain a pregnancy and prevents miscarriage.
- Eggs – eat healthy eggs for healthy eggs! Eggs are one of the only food sources of choline, which, like folate, can help to prevent neural tube defects. Eggs also contain iodine which is an essential nutrient for thyroid health, hormone regulation, ovulation, prevention of miscarriage and also impacts the IQ of the subsequent baby.