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Role of Nutrition in Fertility: Unlocking Your Journey to Parenthood
Unlock your journey to parenthood with optimal nutrition for fertility. Discover the role of nutrition in fertility and maximize your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Infertility is estimated to impact between 8-12% of reproductive couples worldwide. As women age their likelihood of natural conception decreases and rate of miscarriage increases.
Pursuing professional and personal goals may cause couples to delay starting a family or having smaller families.
Fertility is projected to fall to 2.1 births per woman by 2050. A society needs 2.1 children per woman for the population to remain stable. In the US, the current rate is 1.6 children per woman — and it’s even lower in most European countries as well as Japan (1.3), China (1.2), and South Korea (0.8). Other factors that couples may face in their journey to parenthood could include poor diet and lifestyle choices, obesity, underweight, hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism, and PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, a major cause for infertility.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in the overall health of both partners who are trying to conceive. Poor nutrition can negatively impact fertility by altering hormone levels, reducing sperm or egg quality, and disrupting the menstrual cycle.
Before pregnancy, women need nutritious and safe diets to establish sufficient reserves for pregnancy. Macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are essential for providing energy and building blocks for fetal growth and development.
Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in various physiological processes in the body, including fetal development. Research has found that pregnant women may not be consuming the required number of macronutrients and micronutrients to support a healthy pregnancy.
According to a study of more than 1,000 pregnant women, researchers estimated that even with supplements, many women were getting inadequate levels of magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E and iron. In contrast, most women were getting too much sodium, and many were consuming too much folic acid and iron.
Another study found that a substantial number of pregnant women are deficient in vitamins D, C, A, K, B-6, and E, as well as iron, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and choline. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, energy, and nutrient needs increase.
Meeting them is critical for women’s health and that of their child – in the womb and throughout early childhood. Men also need to pay attention to their nutrition when trying to conceive. Research has shown that certain nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E, can help improve sperm quality and motility.
It is also important for men to maintain a healthy weight, as obesity can negatively impact sperm count and function. Men who are planning to start a family in their 20s, 30s, and 40s should focus on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, it is important for men of all ages to practice healthy behaviors.
As men age, it may become more difficult to maintain their weight, so making healthy food choices and staying active every day can help jump-start their metabolism and keep off unwanted pounds.
Some of the most common nutritional deficiencies for men in their 30s and 40s include protein, potassium, and vitamin D. After turning thirty, there is a loss of muscle mass with each decade. Protein not only helps prevent muscle loss, but it can also help to combat a slowing metabolism.
Potassium is a mineral that plays a role in muscle contractions and blood pressure management. Adequate intake of potassium can help prevent cramps, reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Vitamin D is essential to health and vitamin D deficiency is staggeringly common.
According to one study, more than 40% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for healthy bones. Overall, a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help improve fertility and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
In addition to a healthy diet, both partners should also maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep.