The world of nutrition is a minefield, the world of fertility nutrition is even crazier. Whether you are just at the beginning of your journey of trying to conceive or are further along, maybe needing some extra support, or whether you have a clinical condition which may affect your chances of conceiving, working with a fertility specialist dietitian is paramount in optimising your health and chances of conceiving.
As a specialist fertility dietitian and intuitive eating counsellor I work with women and couples every day in an individualised approach.
Unsure of how I can help you? Here are some ways that working with a fertility dietitian can support you throughout your journey.
1. Carry out a full nutritional assessment of your diet
How do you know if your diet is hitting all the right nutrient targets? What are the nutrient targets to be hitting anyway? Working with a fertility dietitian will mean you get a full nutritional analysis done of your diet, taking all the guesswork out of what you need to include or increase in your day to day diet. Your dietitian will do all the work for you and give you practical advice on how to optimise your diet whilst planning for conception.
2. Correct nutritional deficiencies prior to conception
Did you know that dietitians also interpret and review blood results? Your dietitian can advise you on what nutritional bloods are required and can go through these with you. Your diet and supplementation can then be reviewed specific to your current nutritional status and correct any deficiencies which are crucial prior to conception!
3. Improve egg quality
Females are born with all of their eggs, and these egg numbers start to reduce as we get older. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to increase the number of eggs we have but we can improve the quality of our eggs. Afterall it only takes one healthy egg (and sperm) to make a baby!
Diet and lifestyle play a huge part in improving the egg quality, particularly looking at increasing our intake of antioxidants which protect our cells from damage as well as reducing substances which may damage our eggs such as caffeine, alcohol and trans fats. It takes at least 3 months for changes to improve egg quality (but the longer the better) so if you are thinking about trying to conceive, start now.
4. Improve sperm quality
It takes two tango after all and we need good quality sperm as well as a healthy egg to make an embryo. Nutrition and lifestyle changes are as important for males as well as the females. Sperm speed and quantity can be improved upon with the right nutritional support and advice. The life cycle of sperm is roughly 3 months so like egg quality, any dietary changes implemented now will affect the sperm in 3 months time! So the earlier you start, the better!
5. Individualise advice around your medical history and clinical conditions
6. Support you with meal and snack ideas
Lacking motivation with cooking? Unsure of what meal components are best for you? Have no clue what to snack on between meals? A fertility dietitian can provide you with practical meal, snack and recipe ideas to make the process of making dietary changes as easy as possible.
7. Assist you on food safety pre and post conception
The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours googling what you can/cannot do. Your fertility dietitian can guide you on the most up to date guidance so that you can feel supported and confident in navigating the first stage of pregnancy.
8. Can support you with your relationship with food
Despite what some people may think, dietitians are definitely not the food police. We want to support you in having a stress free, happy relationship with food. This is not always easy, working with a fertility dietitian who also has experience in intuitive eating can really help those who may have a history of dieting for weight loss, disordered eating or struggles with food.
9. Will not advise restrictive or fad diets
Moving on from point eight, having a harmonious relationship with food, where no foods are off limits (unless you have a clinical reason to avoid them) is possible when you want to conceive. A fertility dietitian will not advocate or advise you to cut out whole food groups or follow strict dieting rules.
Instead we want to support you to optimise your diet rather than restrict!
Interested to learn more about how a fertility dietitian and intuitive eating counsellor can support you?