It is not uncommon for couples to become disappointed and frustrated after months of negative pregnancy tests after starting to “try” for a baby.
While there are numerous reasons for problems with conceiving a child, ranging from actual medical problems, to factors such as: stress, an unhealthy diet or sleep deprivation for example, in some cases the problem is that the hormones in the female (and in some cases in the male) are mixed up and unbalanced, which affects the fertility and the chances of conceiving a child. By eating a healthy diet, losing the extra weight, and exercising in moderation, the hormones can be balanced naturally, unless there is some sort of more serious underlying reason for the imbalance. An overall healthier diet and lifestyle is recommended for both parents when beginning to plan a pregnancy, in order to improve the likelihood of conception, and to prepare the female body for carrying and giving birth to a healthy and well-developed child.
Some hormonal imbalances in women and man can seriously hinder the process of conceiving, making it difficult or even impossible.
One of the hormonal problems which may cause problems with fertility in women is having unstable estrogen levels. Estrogen is the main female sex hormone, which triggers and controls the proper functioning of the female reproductive system. It inhibits the hormones responsible for the production of healthy follicles and the luteinizing hormones – both necessary for the proper development and the release of an egg. The overproduction of estrogen usually occurs with women who are overweight or obese, and this excess volume of estrogen in the body will hinder the proper ovulation.
This is why, a healthy diet including foods which contain phytoestrogens is recommended for women who are trying to conceive, and especially for those who are overweight. Some of the foods which are excellent sources of phytoestrogens include: soy and soy products, cabbage, broccoli, flax seeds, beans and green veggies.
When trying to conceive, nutritional and medical experts recommend that both the woman and the man consume sufficient amounts of foods rich in vitamin E, such as: green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, avocados and others. The reason is, because vitamin E is known to boost fertility levels in both sexes. Also, vitamin E increases the chances of a successful IVF procedure for older women, because of its positive effect on the health of the eggs.
Consuming enough vitamin C will also help both women and men who are trying to conceive. Vitamin C is known to boost sperm quality and motility. Also, vitamin C increases the effect of certain fertility drugs for women. Vitamin C is naturally contained in citrus fruits, chili peppers, blackcurrant, guava, parsley, papaya – to mention just a few.
For a better and healthier diet when trying to conceive and preparing for a pregnancy, both women and men are advised to increase the consumption of foods rich in zinc. Zinc boosts sperm motility and the sperm count in men, and is also essential for the healthy growth of the egg and the division of the cells of the fetus after successful fertilization of the egg. Some foods which are rich in zinc are: pumpkin seeds, beans, almonds and other nuts.
Folic acid is a vitamin (also known as folate, vitamin M, vitamin B9), which is absolutely essential for the normal development of the fetus, and to prevent spina bifida in the newborn. This is why folic acid must be taken on a daily basis by women who are planning to conceive, and should be taken throughout the first trimester of the pregnancy. There are some natural sources of folic acid in fortified breads and cereals, green vegetables, brown rice and others, but it is recommended that women planning on having a baby and those pregnant take the prenatal ready supplements available, to get the necessary quantity of folic acid which is 400 micrograms a day.
Eating a healthy diet and losing that extra weight when preparing to conceive and carry a child is the first step for the future parents, the other is to increase exercise to about 30 minutes a day to boost the metabolism and balance the hormones necessary for successful conception.
Also, an overall switch to a healthier lifestyle, including: avoiding stress, getting enough sleep, quitting smoking and drinking, avoiding pesticides and harmful chemicals will also have a positive effect, and will increase the chances for conception and having a healthy pregnancy.
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