What To Eat When Trying To Get Pregnant

Diet plays a role in fertility, and there are several publications that show just how much a woman’s diet can affect her ability to become pregnant.

Research about Fertility and Diet

Results from the Harvard’s Nurses’ Health Study suggest that the majority of infertility cases due to ovulation disorders are preventable through modifications of diet and lifestyle. This large study followed 17,544 women without a history of infertility for 8 years while they tried to become or became pregnant. Another study from Australia showed that fast food and less fruit in the diet decreased fertility. 

Researchers say that a woman’s diet affects ovulation, and hypothesize that women with healthy insulin levels — the hormone that controls blood sugar — are more likely to ovulate normally. Those who have insulin resistance or diabetes are more prone to irregular ovulation.

In males, research has shown that semen quality in men improves with a “Prudent” diet (high intake of fish, chicken, fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) as compared to a “Western” diet (high intake of red and processed meat, refined grains, pizza, snacks, high-energy drinks and sweets). 

In addition to diet, research has also shown that less TV swatching and more moderate to vigorous activity were associated with better sperm counts. 

The following was found in a review of studies between the relationship of diet and male fertility:

“..healthy diets rich in some nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, some antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, selenium, zinc, cryptoxanthin and lycopene), other vitamins (vitamin D and folate) and low in saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids were inversely associated with low semen quality parameters. Fish, shellfish and seafood, poultry, cereals, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy and skimmed milk were positively associated with several sperm quality parameters.”

“However, diets rich in processed meat, soy foods, potatoes, full-fat dairy and total dairy products, cheese, coffee, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets have been detrimentally associated with the quality of semen in some studies. As far as fecundability is concerned, a high intake of alcohol, caffeine and red meat and processed meat by males has a negative influence on the chance of pregnancy or fertilization rates in their partners.”

 

Read more HERE…..

Common misconceptions and myths about fertility

Here are the 7 most common misconceptions and myths I hear my patients say about fertility and getting pregnant.

1. ‘I am 35 years old and there is no need to worry about getting pregnant until much later on.”

No matter how you look at it, from a biologic point of view the best time to get pregnant and havea baby is well before the age of 35. At birth, a woman has 7 million eggs, and at puberty around age 13-14, when she starts to ovulate, about 95% of these egs have already disappeared. At puberty there are about 350,000 to 400,000 eggs left. Over the next 30 or so years, about 400 to 500 eggs will be released, but many more disappear each month and every year a woman will have significantly less eggs, which means her ovarian reserve declines and so does her egg quality, in the late 20s, again in the 30s and then most notably after age 35.

2. ‘I am 42 years old and should be fine because all the women in my family had babies well into their 40s.’

Family fertility is part of taking the history during treatment. it can neither help nor hinder fertility potential. Previous successful pregnancies also do not signify a bump-free conception route.

A woman’s fertility decreases after 35, and when she turns 40, there is a less than 5% chance she will get pregnant in any given month (compared with 20% at age 30). Her ability to get pregnant decreases because there are less eggs available as a woman gets older and her eggs have a lower quality and they are less likely to be fertilized and implant.

3. ‘Why should he get tested? He is already a dad.’
About 50% of infertile couples have a male fertility issue. So the very first infertility test done on her and him should be a spermanalysis. As men get older, their fertility decreases too and as men get older healthy sperm and volume overall will decrease. In addition, researchers have reported a direct link between a father’s age and an increased risk of autism and schizophrenia.

4. ‘I may be a little overweight, but that should be fine.’

Your are overweight if your BMI is between 25 and 30, and you are obese if the BMI is over 30. When a woman or a man is overweight or obese, hormones change in the body and that can affect ovulation in women and and semen production in men. In addition, pregnant women who are overweight and obese have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy such as more miscarriages, preterm births, diabetes, hypertension, and more cesareans. Losing weight before pregnancy improves your chances getting pregnant and have a healthy baby.

5. ‘A little smoking before pregnancy is OK as long as I stop when I am pregnant.’

Smoking negatively affects his and her fertility, even if you smoke as little as five cigarettes a day. And it increases your chances of lung disease and cancer. So better stop now before you are pregnant.

6. ‘Our chances getting pregnant improves if we have sex several times a day 24 hours before or after ovulation.’

Your chances getting pregnant are nearly zero if you have sex after ovulation. Ovulation usually happens about 14 days before your next period, and to improve your chances getting pregnant you should have sex no more than once a day every 1-2 days during the 6 days before and the day of ovulation. Calculate your fertile days HERE.

7. ‘I will start folic acid and my supplements as soon as the pregnancy test is positive.’

Women should take folic acid to prevent certain birth defects, but it only works if you start taking it at least 1-2 months before you get pregnant. It’s too late to prevent birth defects if you start taking it after a positive pregnancy test. In addition, men can boots their fertility by taking supplements too, especially coenzyme Q10 has also been found to increase sperm count and sperm motility, and vitamin E which improves low sperm count

What diet can I use to increase my chances having twins?

Question:

I have a perfect 6 month old daughter and we will start ttc next month. I will be 37 in August and would LOVE to have twins. I have been eating diet to increase chances for twins (as well as male)

My questions are:

1. Many say to wait until as close to ovulation to conceive male so we were going to try that. However, will that decrease likelihood
of twins? in other words, do you have a better chance of twins if you have sex each of the 5 days of fetility?

2. Wth respect to diet, how far in advance should you start or is it just during the time ttc/ovulation?

Dr.Amos answers:

You are asking some interesting questions. There are two different kind of twins: Monozygotic and dizygotic twins.

Monozygotic twins are twins from a conception with one egg and one sperm. The fertilized egg then spits after conception. Monozygotic twins are also known as ‘identical twins’ or maternal twins.

Dizygotic twins are twins achieved from conception of two different eggs with two different sperms. These are also known as non-dentical or fraternal twins.

There is no way to increase your chances of monozygotic twins. They happen spontaneously in about 1 in 250 pregnancies.

For dizygotic twins, there must be two diferent ovulations with two different eggs. There is no evidence that you can increase your chances ovulating twice with either food or different kinds of sex. More sex or sex at different times will not make you ovulate more (or less).

Fertility drugs or IVF in-vitro fertilization increases the chances of having twins, but it would not be ethical to increase the chances of twins intentionally, because twins are associated with increased pregnancy risks especially premature births.

When should you see an infertility healthcare professional? Sooner rather than later

Couple together

In general, it’s recommended to see an infertility specialist after 12 months of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant if you are under 35 years of age or after 6 months if you are over 35 years of age.

Many couples have a health history that warrants consulting a healthcare professional either before or early in the process of trying to get pregnant. Here are some circumstances in which you should see a fertility specialist:

If the woman has:

  • Irregular no menstrual periods
  • Negative luteinizing hormone tests
  • History of sexually transmitted infection
  • Prior pelvic or abdominal surgery for any reason
  • Prior history of infertility

If the male partner has:

  • Known problems with the testicles or genitals
  • Hypospadias (opening of the urethra not in the end of the penis)
  • Sexually transmitted infection
  • Problems with ejaculation
  • Prior history of infertility

Should social egg freezing become the norm?

What is social egg freezing?

Social egg freezing is a way to postpone motherhood due to career advancement, lack of a partner, or simply just not being ready to be a mother yet as opposed to freezing your eggs for medical reasons. In the past, egg freezing was only offered to women who had medical issues such as cancer and wanted to preserve their eggs to start a family after treatment. However, now more women are postponing motherhood and deciding to preemptively freeze their eggs via vitrification, the fast freezing process that prevents ice crystal formation; protecting cells from damage.

The service is widely available at fertility clinics and typically offered to women 38 years of age and younger who want to keep the option of having a healthy baby at a later date. The idea of social egg freezing is that if you can preserve eggs by freezing them, you can not only use them later on when the time is right for you, but you can enjoy life without the looming biological clock ticking. With infertility affecting approximately 6.1 million individuals throughout the United States, many women feel that there is no time to take chances, although social egg freezing offers no absolute assurance.

What are the risks of social egg freezing?

Side Effects from IVF: While there are no hard studies on the outcome of social egg freezing, there are certain risks involved with harvesting and freezing your eggs, most of which arise from the stimulation of the ovaries. According to the Canadian American Medical Journal, common and controllable symptoms include “fatigue, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, breast tenderness and irritability, but these adverse effects can usually be well-controlled.” Yet, up to 2% of patients “may experience severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, resulting in blood clots, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, dehydration and vomiting that necessitates admission to hospital.”

Pregnancy Complications: Another risk stems simply from being pregnant in advancing years. The older a woman conceives, the higher her risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, cesarean delivery and preterm delivery of a baby with low birth weight. Further studies need to be done to weigh the risk to babies born from frozen eggs.

Financial: One last risk of social egg freezing is the financial gamble. IVF can cost tens of thousands of dollars and may need to be repeated in several cycles. Currently, only 15 states cover IVF cost through health insurance. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports that the live birth rate for each new IVF cycle ranges from 41 to 43 percent for women under age 37, and from 13 to 18 percent for women over 40. A basic IVF cycle costs around $12,000, not including fertility drugs and testing. Some women worry that they have not frozen enough eggs and become ‘addicted’ to freezing more and more eggs, just in case.

Emotional: Social egg freezing may seem like a great idea to ensure motherhood or at least postpone the possibility, but it’s not foolproof. Pregnancy is not guaranteed. In addition, a woman has to decide how many eggs she wants to freeze before she begins and as her age advances, her egg quality declines. It is entirely possible for none of the frozen eggs to produce any healthy pregnancies.

The Controversy: According to the U.K. journal Human Fertility, “there have been relatively few research studies which explore either women’s awareness and understandings of social egg freezing or the reasons why women consider or undertake egg freezing.” Some say that freezing eggs when you are perfectly healthy is not ideal and that perhaps IVF should be saved for extreme cases that involve cancer or other reproductive challenges. After all, pregnancy is much less taxing when you are young and healthy, and inducing the hyperstimulation of your ovaries is not a natural or risk-free process. Yet, at the same time, it has become more and more acceptable for women to put off motherhood for the sake of their career. To this end, companies such as Apple and Facebook now offer to cover the costs of egg freezing for their employees.