7 Ways a Fertility Dietitian Can Help You Prepare For Pregnancy
If you are trying to become pregnant or going through IVF you are making huge financial and emotional commitments, it’s important that you do all that you can to make sure you are set up for a successful outcome. There is a lot of information out there but a fertility dietitian can guide you through each step making sure you are following scientific research that is proven to work in pregnancy conception and retrieval.
A lot of excitement, uncertainty, and information surround preconception, or the period before pregnancy. It is the goal of most couples to become pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy and, ultimately, a healthy and happy baby. It is easy to see why couples may get overwhelmed with all the information out there, but working with a fertility dietitian can make things really straightforward and simple.
We have put together our top 7 ways an expert fertility dietitian can help you prepare for pregnancy. We hope that this can help you feel confident that working with a fertility dietitian is necessary to make sure you are setting your family up for success.
1. Correct Deficiencies Prior To Conception & Pregnancy
The first place to start with your pre-conception health is to get a pre-conception blood test. For dietitians, some of the major things we look at are your nutritional lab work. This includes cholesterol, blood sugar, folate, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D.
Correcting these labs prior to conception is CRUCIAL to a healthy pregnancy. Nutrient deficiencies interfere with optimal conception and heading into pregnancy these deficiencies can have a huge effect on the health of your pregnancy and baby.
2. Improve Egg Count & Quality
A woman is born with about one million eggs, by the time a woman hits puberty the number drastically drops to around 300,000.
There are many factors that go into egg count and a decent amount of research on dietary interventions for low ovarian reserve.
One of the biggest ways to drive success is to optimize the quality of the egg reserves.
There are a number of things that affect egg quality. Unfortunately, age is an uncontrollable factor but there are many dietary factors that impact egg health. Some factors include obesity, being underweight, AGEs, antioxidant intake, Omega-3s and more.
3. Improve Chances Of Conception
Following up on improving egg quality, nutrition, lifestyle habits and weight plays a critical role in conception (falling pregnant). For successful conception, we also need a nice first home for the embryo – the uterus!
Did you know that your diet can assist with improving hormone levels and in turn thickening the uterine lining for better support for the embryo? And it can help support a healthy environment and contribute to an environment that leads to a healthy conception and pregnancy.
4. Tailored Prenatal Supplementation Plan
Each person is completely unique when it comes to their diet and medical history. This means that there is no universal prenatal supplement.
Seeing a fertility dietitian who can complete a thorough nutrition assessment, considering medical and health history, diet and lifestyle, ensures you are able to achieve a successful pregnancy.
5. Improve Your Fertility With Considerations Around Your Health History/Medical Condition
Speaking of health history – did you know that several conditions impact your ability to conceive? Navigating a chronic health condition can be overwhelming and difficult. When we pair this with fertility and pregnancy, it can get a whole lot more confusing!
Dietitians are trained in navigating a number of medical conditions and can factor this in for optimal fertility nutrition.
- Diabetes (type 1 & 2)
- Endometriosis & Adenomyosis
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s & Grave’s disease
- Celiac Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis
- Autoimmune diseases
- Metabolic disorders
- Bariatric Surgery
6. Work With Your Partner To Improve Preconception Health
There is a huge focus on women’s health and fertility, however, the male contributes 50% of the genetic material for your future baby. Male nutrition is just as essential! Fertility dietitians can work with both persons involved in conception.
High-quality sperm is affected by weight, physical activity, healthy diet and specific nutrients.
A great fertility dietitian can take in all the same information around diet, lifestyle, and health history to develop a tailored plan for those of you with a male partner to work on their end of the deal and improve their nutrition to ensure optimal pregnancy outcomes.
Sperm quality is just as important as egg quality, let’s make sure it is the best it can be!
7. Assist With Weight Management Goals
A healthy weight is one of the highest contributors to successful egg retrieval and pregnancy. Our ability to ovulate is highly regulated by hormones, hormone production is out of balance when we have little or too much adipose tissue (fat). 30% of infertility is caused by hormone imbalance.
Research has shown that women who fall into higher ranges on the BMI scale are at an increased risk of pregnancy and obstetric complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, large birthweight babies and shoulder dystocia (Simko et al., 2019). This extends to the health of the infant as there is an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (Raaz et al., 2020). Having fat stores that are too low can impact on ovulation and menstrual regularity, which can cause issues when you are trying to conceive. If your body weight is too low in pregnancy, there is an increased risk of preterm birth and having a low birth weight baby (Yu et al., 2013).
A fertility dietitian can guide you through what an optimal weight range is for you and advise you on how to have a healthy pre-pregnancy diet. Dramatic shifts in weight and fad diets are not recommended for maximizing preconception health.
To avoid the overwhelming feeling of the overload of information on top of everything else, a fertility dietitian can ease your mind and make sure that you are set up for success. You deserve this.