by Alan Murray
When you have made the momentous task of deciding you want to have a family you can increase your odds of conception by carrying out the following lifestyle and diet changes.
It is not just the female who should prepare herself for pregnancy. Males have an important role to play too and this should not be overlooked. If both sets of parents are in top physical health pre pregnancy then this should assist in the maximization of a healthy sperm, ova and uterus and thus ensure a healthy pregnancy.
The Planning Stage
Conception can be a difficult issue for some couples. Fertility problems are on the increase and there is a general decline in a males sperm count compared to twenty or fifty years ago. There are many reasons for this including environmental toxins, stress, smoking, alcohol, poor diet and nutrition, tight fitting male undergarments and prescription drugs. The majority of females will not get pregnant straight away after deciding to start a family. It can take you up to two years to conceive after coming off the contraception pill.
Alcohol can reduce fertility. It can cause a decrease in sperm counts and increase abnormal sperm. It can also prevent the body absorb vital nutrients such as zinc that are essential prior to conception. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) can result in under weight and under length babies as well as failure to thrive after delivery. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can cause other problems later in life such as behavioural problems, hyperactivity to name but a few.
You should stop drinking a few months prior to conception if you are trying to conceive or even if you are not actively trying not to conceive. This applies to the male as well. Heavy drinking sessions should be avoided at all costs. You should avoid alcohol for the duration of your pregnancy and through breastfeeding .
This can be not only a factor in reducing a males sperm count but can also affect the actual pregnancy itself resulting in premature babies and babies born with congenital malformations. Both parents should give up smoking prior to conception. When pregnant it is best to avoid second hand smoke as well. Other studies have shown a link between smoking in the presence of the baby and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Both parents should stop taking drugs whether illegal substances, prescribed or over the counter medication prior to conception. All can have an adverse affect on conception. Taking illegal substances can have severe affects on your baby while within the womb and can result in low birth weights or miscarriages. The drugs affect not only the mother but the baby as well and the baby can have severe withdrawal symptoms similar to adults when he or she is born. It is advisable to ask for suitable advice from your doctor of pharmacist prior to taking any form of medication.
Four Month Rule
In all cases of alcohol, smoking and drugs you should stop taking these four months prior to conception. Not only will both parents benefit but it will also ensure the optimum health of your unborn baby.
Both males and females should ensure they are at their ideal body weight pre conception. Being either over weight or under weight can affect female’s chances of becoming pregnant as the female can stop ovulating. A female should therefore try and maintain a healthy and nutritional diet prior to conception as this will assist the balance of hormones needed to maximize the chance of conceiving.
It cannot be stressed enough how health and nutrition are extremely important pre pregnancy.
The following play food groups can play an important part in affecting your chances of conceiving
Not all fats are bad for you. Fats can be split up into two groups – polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats are essential to the human diet and can help maintain good skin, hormonal balance and can assist in reproduction. These fats can be found in nuts, seeds and oily fish such as sardines or mackerel.
Saturated fats can lead to weight gain and clogged arteries. They should be kept to a minimum in your diet. These fats can be found in bread, cakes, eggs and dairy products including milk and cheese and meat.
To achieve a healthy and balanced diet fiber plays an essential part. It assists in digestion and helps to keep the bowels healthy and prevents constipation. It also ensures that nutrients are stored within the body. A high fiber diet assists a female in conception as it enables the body to get rid of any impurities and this in turn will help the reproductive system operate at an optimum level. Fiber can be found in all fresh fruit and vegetables, all types of beans, whole-grains such as brown breads, rice and pastas as well as in nuts and seeds.
Carbohydrates can like fats be split up into two groups, simple and complex. The body sources its energy from the carbohydrates we eat. You should eat as much complex carbohydrates as possible. These can be found in whole grain foods and wholemeal flours such as brown rice, potatoes and wholegrain pastas. Simple carbohydrates contain sugars, sweeteners and fats and nothing else of nutritional value. They are mostly found in jams, cakes, biscuits and other sweet tasting snacks. Eating too many simple carbohydrates not only affects your weight but can also cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. This may have an affect on your hormonal cycle. You should cut down on these types of carbohydrates or simply avoid them altogether.
A healthy diet is high in protein. A diet low in protein can reduce female’s chances of conception. Conception for both vegetarians and vegans may have to be boosted from other sources of protein such as nuts, seeds, algaes, sprouts, seaweed, grasses and legumes.
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