Did you know that a healthy diet is key to fertility and increasing your chances of getting pregnant? The fact is, a significant percentage of women who want to become mothers don’t eat a healthy diet or watch their weight. And they’re often unaware that certain foods can affect their fertility positively or negatively.
Being overweight or underweight increases the risk of infertility and reduces the chances of getting pregnant. This means that a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5 or more than 25 can affect your chances of getting pregnant. A healthy diet must be balanced, and accompanied by physical activity to compensate for the energy consumed.
WEIGHT GAIN REDUCES FERTILITY
Body weight issues can lead to complications when trying to get pregnant. Drastic changes, whether due to weight gain or loss, can become an infertility risk factor. Therefore it’s essential to take this into account when trying to start a family.
To give you a general idea, obesity reduces the chances of pregnancy through assisted reproduction treatments by up to 50%. It also increases the risk of miscarriage.
It has consequences for male fertility too, and can cause erectile dysfunction and a reduction in the frequency of sexual intercourse. It’s estimated that 10 kg of excess weight in a man increases infertility problems by 10%. In addition, body fat affects the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which is essential for sperm production.
WHAT’S THE BEST DIET TO BOOST FERTILITY?
There are no magic formulas or miracle diets, but the secret lies in the sum of small efforts. There’s no single, perfect diet to solve infertility problems. The best thing to do is to eat well and keep active.
The term “diet” shouldn’t be interpreted as weight reduction, but as satisfying our nutritional needs. Every woman requires specific minerals, macronutrients and vitamins.
Diet is a fundamental pillar in some pathological cases. For example, in women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), who often have insulin resistance, or in women with amenorrhoea due to low body weight.
VITAMIN D: KEY TO FERTILITY
Folic acid and other micronutrients, such as calcium, iron and zinc, are essential before, during and after pregnancy. These micronutrients or vitamins have a direct effect on the proper development of the foetus.
Similarly, Vitamin D is essential for both male and female fertility. It is a macronutrient that significantly improves the rate of natural pregnancies, and also has an effect on patients undergoing assisted reproduction treatments, especially in women with PCOS, as it helps to regulate the Anti-Müllerian Hormone.
Vitamin D is mainly obtained from exposure to the sun. In the case of men, however, it’s important to remember that an excessively high body temperature can have a negative effect on sperm.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISING AND RESTING
Getting proper rest and avoiding stimulants, such as soft drinks and caffeinated beverages, helps to promote the production and activation of melatonin, commonly known as the “sleep hormone”. This is an important antioxidant at the follicular level, and its concentration is related to egg quality. However, bear in mind that excessive supplementation can be harmful.
It’s also worth mentioning that physical exercise promotes the production of mitochondria, which promotes sperm motility and helps deal with stress. Chronic stress causes cortisol levels to rise, inhibiting ovulation. With this in mind, the best way to prepare yourself is to seek advice from family members and professional psychologists, and to learn how to deal with emotions.