By Dr. Laura von Hagen ND

We know that preconception care, what you do before becoming pregnant, sets the stage for a healthy mom and baby. Our goal as NDs is to anticipate complications that may arise during your pregnancy and try to prevent them in the first place. A key part of preconception care is optimal nutrition and micronutrient intake. We recently recorded a very popular webinar on Key Nutrients for Optimal Fertility. We received rave reviews from listeners and felt it was important to share a summary with you. 

You’re in the right place if:

You’re planning to conceive in the next year

You’re already been trying to conceive for several months or are working with a fertility clinic

You’re pregnant and already tired of Dr. Google

What are the essential nutrients that we want to focus on when planning to get pregnant? 

Vitamin D

  • An anti-inflammatory, fat-soluble vitamin
  • The prevalence of deficiency is higher in women diagnosed with infertility
  • Deficiency is also associated with decreased sperm morphology and motility

Vitamin D is by far my favourite vitamin. Vitamin D acts more like a hormone in our body and adequate levels have been associated with improved egg quality, higher AMH levels and decreased risk of miscarriage. How much vitamin D to take? We can’t look at you and know what dosage to give you. It is best to test this in blood work and adjust your dose accordingly. Assessing vitamin D levels is one of the most common lab tests I do in my practice. 

Fibre

  • A higher intake of whole grains is associated with increased endometrial thickness and live birth rates
  • By comparison, most gluten-free products are very low in fibre and essential nutrients
  • Whole-grain consumption has a positive impact on the vaginal microbiome and gut flora
  • Higher fruit & veg intake pre-IVF increases live birth rates 

Most over gluten-free, make room for whole grains! Whole grains are a major component of the Mediterranean diet, which has been studied extensively for improving fertility outcomes. Increasing dietary fibre through whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes can positively impact overall health and IVF outcomes. Aim to eat at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables daily, along with complex carbohydrates to meet your fibre needs.

Omega-3 Fatty acids

  • Higher dietary intake of dietary omega-3s is associated with better quality embryos and IVF outcomes
  • Omega-3s support healthy blood flow to the uterus and help thicken the lining for implantation
  • High consumption of omega-6 fatty acids (canola, sunflower, safflower) has been shown to impact fertility negatively

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA are important for egg quality, sperm fertilization and neurodevelopment of the fetus. Most Canadians consume too many omega-6s in their diet, mostly through processed foods, and not enough omega-3s. Depending on dietary preferences, some patients might need to supplement with high-quality fish oil. The best food sources of omega-3s include fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines), grass-fed beef, chia seeds, hemp hearts, ground flax and walnuts. 

Remember, you are what you eat and so is your baby. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with nutrition advice, I’d invite you to work with me 1 on 1 in my private practice. We can work together to help you achieve your nutrition goals and feel confident when making food choices. 

Book Appointment with Dr. Laura

 

As a Naturopathic Doctor and IVF mama herself, Dr. Laura von Hagen fundamentally believes in empowering her patients to achieve their ultimate goal, healthy pregnancy and baby. While it is common to feel isolated and uncertain while trying to conceive. Dr. Laura provides the support that patients deserve when navigating their fertility journey.