Baseball has a popular expression, “winning starts with pitching.” Hopeful future parents seeking improved fertility could have their own simple catchphrase: “Vitamins for pregnancy.”
There are so many tips available today to improve chances for conception. It can be overwhelming for a potential mom-to-be.
It is easier to just strip it to the basics. Start with vitamins and nutrients that help a pregnancy – to initiate it, and also to maintain it. Expectant mothers hear often of multi-vitamins and supplements they “need”. What are the very best for getting pregnant, and how can you get enough? Let’s explore:
Called an “overlooked nutrient for fertility and pregnancy,” Choline is called a macronutrient. Which basically means we all need it in big doses.
The list of choline benefits keeps expanding as scientists dig further into why the nutrient plays such a vital role in many functions including in the liver, neurotransmitters, and nerves. Basically it’s strong for brain development.
What it Does: Helps support the body’s reproductive systems, among many other benefits including aiding digestion and improving brain function.
How to Get It (Naturally): Our bodies make small amounts of choline naturally, but more is needed. The remainder must come from diet. Choline can be found in eggs, beef, liver and salmon, and in cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, dairy, legumes and some nuts, seeds and whole grains. Eggs in particular contain great amounts of choline.
This one’s no secret for anyone who’s already carried a baby. Doctors prescribe it so routinely that folic acid could be included in a Pregnancy Starter Kit, if such a thing existed.
Folate deficiency is known to cause neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Folic acid and other types of minerals and vitamins for pregnancy, such as Vitamin C and niacin, are typical go-to supplements for expectant mothers.
What it Does: Folic acid deficiency is a cause of anemia, which has been associated with infertility. Additionally, studies indicate that long-time oral contraceptive use could reduce folic acid levels and impact the body’s ability to use folic acid. The FDA actually has approved an oral contraceptive containing folic acid, to address this.
How to Get It (Naturally): This B vitamin is available in foods like eggs (once again!), dark leafy greens, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, and liver.
See above for anemia. If your doctor’s mentioned iron supplements you know where this is going. Iron is essential to fertility and pregnancies. But maintaining a good iron level can be a challenge.
Only about 20 percent of fertile women begin pregnancies with satisfactory iron levels. Iron deficiency is linked with infertility, miscarriage, low newborn birth weight, pre-term labor and other issues. A huge benefit with iron is ensuring efficient oxygen flow to the baby.
A woman’s body needs twice as much iron during pregnancy. Iron is required to produce estrogen and progesterone – critical elements for regular ovulation and therefore fertility.
What it Does: Iron is essential for red blood cell production and flow of oxygen to a baby. Adequate iron levels prevent anemia, suspected of impairing fertility.
How to Get It (Naturally): Red meat, pork and poultry; seafood; beans; dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach; peas; dried apricots or raisins; or iron-fortified breads, cereals and pastas. Careful with supplements: they can upset digestion.
Remember when you were a kid, how the virtues of milk and calcium were pounded into the memory? “It’s good for the bones!” There are good reasons behind it – and for aiding fertility.
Some experts say calcium is crucial for getting pregnant. Without getting into minutiae, let’s just say the mineral is essential for conception. It also makes for a more healthy reproductive system overall, a healthy baby, and the end result. Which is … birth.
What it Does: Broadly prepares the female body for pregnancy; and upon pregnancy continues to assist in a number of needed areas.
How to Get It (Naturally): Not news to say drink your milk. Just do it. For more calcium, or for the lactose intolerant, try avoiding soft drinks (which prevents calcium absorption); eat beans and canned salmon; and consume a lot of oatmeal, veggies and nuts.
There are a variety of tips and tricks to getting pregnant, but preparing the body to be a welcoming environment for a coming pregnancy can mean all the difference between frustration and the moment when she broadcasts “I’m pregnant"!