It is well known that being overweight has a significant effect on your health, including negatively impacting your ability to conceive and having a healthy pregnancy. However, what you might not realize is that being too fit or too thin can also affect your chance of getting pregnant.
Our bodies needs to be of the right weight in order to produce appropriate amounts of hormones, which allow ovulation, menstruation as well as normal sperm production. Being overweight or underweight can negatively impact a woman’s ability to become pregnant, and studies have reported lower success rates with in vitro fertilization (
IVF). Gaining or losing weight can help with infertility issues and may help increase your likelihood of success.
CCRM highly recommends that you be aware of your Body Mass Index (BMI) and take steps to ensure that you are in the healthy range. Focusing on your health prior to pregnancy will limit the risks to you and your baby during pregnancy and after.
Here are recommendations we have for both diet and exercise to help increase your odds of a successful and healthy pregnancy:
The occasional glass of wine or bottle of beer probably won’t hurt your odds of conceiving. However, people who have irregular cycles or are going through infertility treatments should avoid alcohol all together.
Cut Out Caffeine
Caffeine constricts blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the
Folic Acid (part of the vitamin B family) is very important for a strong pregnancy and healthy fetal development. Folic acid has been shown not only to decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects like spina bifida, but it has also been shown to reduce other birth defects like congenital heart conditions. Women should eat folate rich foods, such as spinach, beans, chickpeas, lentils and take a vitamin supplement.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables not only deliver a wealth of vitamins and minerals, they also overflow with free-radical-busting micronutrients, like phytochemicals and antioxidants. When it comes to color, choose deep or bright hues to ensure high nutrient content
Fish & Omega-3’s
Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids for optimal fertility, and fish is the best source.
You do need to be wary of mercury levels in fish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that women trying to conceive can safely eat up to 12 ounces (roughly two entrées) a week of low-mercury fish, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, catfish, cod, Alaskan halibut and Rocky Mountain trout (not talpia).
If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or you just don’t like fish you can get your omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and enriched eggs stores.
Research shows that low iron levels could play a role in infertility. Lean turkey, Grass fed and organic beef, free range or organic chicken are all chalk full of iron.
Caveats: Steer clear of high-fat cuts of meat and don’t overdo any kind of animal protein. Research shows that too much protein (even lean protein) can decrease fertility.
Eat Complex Carbs vs. Refined Carbs
Digesting refined carbohydrates causes an increase in blood sugar and insulin in the body — and increased insulin levels can disrupt reproductive hormones and mess with the menstrual cycle. Complex carbs take longer to digest and don’t cause spikes in insulin levels. Foods rich in complex carbs include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Avoid or limit soy products, unhealthy fats (trans fats and hydrogenated oils), refined sugars or fruit juices (unless freshly juiced)
Eat food rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants
These nutrients help prevent sperm defects and boost motility. Guava, red peppers, green peppers, kiwi and oranges are all high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Zinc is a key mineral for cell division, which helps with sperm production. Pumpkin seeds, oysters, garlic, dark chocolate and sesame seeds are high in zinc.
Men who are thinking about becoming fathers should increase their folate intake, which can be done by eating more folate rich foods, such as spinach, beans, chickpeas, and lentils, or taking a vitamin supplement.
Cut out (or back on) alcohol
While an occasional drink is generally considered safe, studies show that daily wine, beer, or hard liquor consumption can reduce testosterone levels and sperm counts and raise the number of abnormal sperm.
MEN & WOMEN
Get moving and stay active with a daily exercise program. When exercising, try not to over exert yourself. Keep your pulse below 140 beats a minute. Don’t become overheated.