We all know how important nutrition is for both fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
What happens when you can’t get enough through your diet though?
That is where a multivitamin or supplement comes in. Unfortunately not all supplements are made equal.
Which nutrients are actually important for fertility and pregnancy? Here are 13 important vitamins & nutrients and their roles:
FOLIC ACID :
Helps prevent anaemia and promotes ovulation.
Vital for your baby’s brain and nervous system development and reduces your baby’s risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida & cleft lip / palate.
Neural-tube defects can happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy before many women even know they’re pregnant. This is why it’s vital to begin taking folic acid before you start trying to fall pregnant.
Ideally taken for at least 3 months before, as well as during your pregnancy.
Helps prevent anaemia by building healthy new red blood cells and also helps boost fertility.
Research shows that women who take iron supplements can decrease their risk of ovulatory infertility by about 40%.
It is vital during pregnancy – important for normal brain development, delivery of oxygen to the baby and to prevent anaemia in the mom.
Did you know that pregnant women need about 3 times more iron than women who are menstruating?
VITAMIN C :
Ensures better absorption of Iron and therefore helps prevent anaemia.
A potent antioxidant, vitamin C is good for both male and female infertility.
Help to regulate hormones and menstrual cycle, most commonly by helping to lengthen the luteal phase therefore helping with an ovulation issue called Luteal Phase Defect.
An alarming 80% of people are thought to be magnesium deficient.
Magnesium regulates hormone levels, specifically progesterone, which is important for a healthy menstrual cycle, proper conception and a healthy pregnancy.
Healthy levels can also alleviate morning sickness, hypertension, level mood swings and help prevent preterm labour.
For women with PCOS it can alleviate anxiety, reduce blood pressure and help with insulin resistance.
VITAMIN D :
Plays a vital role in fertility and foetal development during pregnancy.
Essential for absorbing calcium to maintain strong teeth and bones.
Supports a normal immune system.
There are a few key reasons for poor Vitamin D or sunshine vitamin levels – we wear clothing, use sun protection and often spend most of our day indoors. Did you know that only 10% of what we need comes from our diet?
Read more about Vitamin D and Fertility here.
B VITAMINS :
Optimizing B vitamin levels can increase luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone to improve fertility.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to reduced sperm counts and sperm motility.
Vitamin B6 can help improve success rates in those struggling to conceive by helping to lengthen the luteal phase and increase cervical fluid. B6 is also beneficial during early pregnancy as it could help curb nausea.
It has been shown that 30-40% of PCOS women have impaired glucose tolerance. Taking this along with folic acid has been shown to help restore spontaneous ovarian activity & consequently fertility.
VITAMIN E :
Known as the fertility nutrient supplementation with vitamin E has been shown to significantly improve sperm motility and pregnancy rates.
- CALCIUM :
Calcium helps build baby’s bones and can prevent bone loss in the mom.
- CHROMIUM :
Beneficial in cases of insulin resistance – a common feature of infertility due to PCOS. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects about 1 out of 15 women worldwide.
Essential to promote health at all life stages but is particularly critical for brain health as the brain is forming.
Not all prenatal vitamins contain choline though. Our Viridian Pregnancy Multivitamin does.
OMEGA FATTY ACIDS :
Omega 3 acids have been shown to help fertility in women by helping to regulate hormones in the body, increase cervical mucus and promote ovulation. They also help your cycle to become normalized and could prolong reproductive function into an advanced maternal age. A short-term treatment of omega-3 fatty acids could help improve egg quality.
Can improve fertility in men as it is important in the production of sperm.
Getting enough omega 3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for your child’s development and could help reduce the risk of early preterm delivery.
Did you know that women with high levels of Omega 3 EPA were less likely to have endometriosis compared to women with low EPA levels?
During pregnancy larger amounts of nutrients are required for growth and metabolism. Pregnancy multivitamins are intended to lower the risk of disease and prevent abnormalities in the developing baby. As an added bonus they will benefit mums too eg in preventing bone loss and anaemia.
Trying to conceive? You’ll want to give your body the best possible chance by taking a comprehensive multivitamin. It’s best to take one specifically for pregnancy or pre-conception because some vitamins, such as Vitamin A, are dangerous if taken in high amounts during pregnancy.
Multivitamins should ideally to be taken by both partners for at least 3 months before planned pregnancy.
Did you know that Pregnancy multivitamins should still be taken after baby is born, especially while breastfeeding, to provide mum with the extra nutrients needed.