Nutrition and Fertility
Without a doubt nutrition is the cornerstone to laying down the foundations for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Nutrients play an essential role in creating and maintaining healthy eggs and sperm that will go onto fertilise, implant and grow a healthy baby. There is so much conflicting advice around diet and supplements when trying for a baby naturally, and we are able to cut through the generalisations and develop a personalised and targeted nutritional plan for you as a couple.
The Zita West Fertility Clinic specialises in taking a holistic approach to your assessment and the nutritional consultation is a cornerstone of the overall individualised plan which is created to:
- May help with egg and sperm health
- Optimise the chances of conception
- May reduce the risk of miscarriage
- May reduce the time it takes to conceive
- Ensure the healthiest possible environment for a pregnancy
In our experience, most women have a good general understanding of diet, but not such an understanding of nutrition. Many people find it difficult to access the right dietary information and often place themselves on unhealthy regimes.
“The body has very different nutritional requirements for conception and pregnancy as compared to fitness and weight management” Zita West
Carrying out over a thousand nutrition consultations every year, our nutritionists are experts in the field of fertility and will advise you on exactly what measures you can take to improve your chances of achieving conception and a healthy pregnancy.
Many find that just a few tweaks to their normal eating and lifestyle habits are what is needed to make that extra difference. After an initial assessment we develop with you an individualised plan of action (because everyone is different). We do not advocate faddy diets, the removal of whole food groups or calorie counting. We will always give you the rationale behind our advice based on the latest research, making it more comprehensive and therefore easier to follow.
After your assessment, you will be provided with the following:
- Nutritional guidelines
- Meal and snack ideas
- Tailored nutrition and lifestyle plan with advice on supplements appropriate for you
- Advice on when to have follow up consultations
- Advice on tests you should have to reveal levels of important vitamins and minerals needed for fertility
- Advice on which supplements to take
The advice we give can help with the following:
Improving and Maintaining Egg Quality
Since women are born with the total number of eggs they will ever have, as they age it becomes even more important for the remaining eggs to be of high quality. An egg requires a good hormonal balance, healthy cell membranes, energy and protection from free radicals all of which can be provided by good nutrition. We provide dietary and supplementation advice that is appropriate to you. We can test for micro-nutrients so that we are then able to focus on boosting specific nutrients.
Helping to combat Free Radical Damage
Certain types of foods can combat free radicals, which can speed up ageing of egg and sperm cells, causing chromosomal damage. This can also increase the risk of miscarriage. Free radicals can be found in certain types of food and in the environment.
Weight Loss/Weight Gain
Being over or underweight can interrupt normal menstrual cycles and disrupt or even stop ovulation altogether. Excessive weight in men can also lead to reduced sperm counts.
Many fertility-related issues such as endometriosis, miscarriage and pre-eclampsia are now being linked to abnormal inflammation. One of the reasons obesity is such a factor in infertility is because excess fat releases inflammatory chemicals.
We are seeing more and more evidence now that an abnormal immune response can affect implantation and increase the risk of miscarriage. Our Medical Director Dr George Ndukwe is the world’s leading expert in this field, known as reproductive immunology. We are leaders in the understanding of reproductive immunology and why women miscarry or have repeated IVF failures. In addition, this issue also needs to be addressed nutritionally as there are many micro-nutrients that may help in increasing the chances of success so adjustments to diet, lifestyle and supplementation can help.
Underlying Medical Factors
If you have undertaken tests that reveal medical issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), an under or overactive thyroid, anaemia or celiac disease, our nutritionists can work with you to compile a plan that helps you make sure you are taking the right measures to get in the best possible nutritional health.
Excessively stressful lifestyles can affect the reproductive system as stress depletes the body of vital nutrients needed for fertility, and an increase in stress hormones can interfere with ovulation in women and sperm production in men. Many of our clients find that making just a few small changes to their nutrition and lifestyle can make a real difference in the way the body responds to stress by replenishing the nutrients that have been depleted as a result.
It can often be difficult to ensure you are getting the right amounts of the most important vitamins and minerals from food alone, which is why we often recommend undertaking an appropriate supplement regime as part of a co-ordinated plan of action.
We focus on 5 key areas of nutrition
- Gut Health
- Blood sugar balance
- Acid Alkaline balance
- Immune system