Thinking about expanding your family and having a baby is a time that can be filled with emotion, excitement, and anticipation. It’s a time of preparation, of learning, and of growing together. Conception can be influenced by many factors, and what you do before you conceive is equally important as what you do once you’re pregnant. The health of both partners is key in ensuring a healthy conception, and there are simple everyday habits that can ensure you are both prepared for this next big adventure of parenthood.
Since your health is influenced by all aspects of your life, a mother-to-be should consider all lifestyle factors, including diet, fitness/activity level, sleep, stress, and resilience, as well as reviewing any pre-existing health conditions and medications with a healthcare practitioner.
Start with a few key habits for healthy conception:
- Eat a healthy, balanced, whole food diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats to ensure you are getting important nutrients like antioxidants, folic acid, iron, calcium and DHA, which all support healthy reproductive function and fetal development in the early stages of conception.2,3
- Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs, as these will all impact the health and development of a fetus.4
- Stay active to support a healthy body weight - this looks different for everyone but is important, as complications can arise from being over or under weight prior to and during pregnancy.2
- Reduce stress by building resiliency and self-care practices - stress directly impacts all other aspects of health, and research shows it is a common reason for difficulty in conceiving.5
- Decrease exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals in your home and work environment, including household cleaners, as some chemicals are known to cause fertility issues.6,7
- Supplement with a prenatal multivitamin, folic acid and omega- fatty acids BEFORE you start trying to conceive – these all help to prepare and support a pregnancy and are vital for the health of a developing fetus in the first month of growth and development, and for prevention of health defects.3
- For a prenatal multivitamin, try Jamieson Prenatal 100% Complete Multivitamin + DHA or Smart Solutions Prenatal Vitamin with Ginger to ease nausea.
- Use Jamieson Folic Acid (400 mcg or 1,000 mcg) if additional supplementation is needed.
- For a higher dose omega-3, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Smart Solutions
While the majority of fertility and conception issues focuses on women, as they carry the baby from conception to birth, men’s overall health and sperm health are also an important part of conception. Men need to consider the same lifestyle factors as women do: diet, fitness/activity level, sleep and stress, and ensure that they focus on developing those same healthy habits leading up to conception as well. For men, supplementation with a good quality multivitamin, like Jamieson 100% Complete Multivitamin for Men will support overall health. Adding a zinc supplement to your routine is also important, as zinc is an essential mineral for proper reproductive function by supporting hormone balance and sperm development and function.8
Creating these simple health habits will support your overall health and help as you prepare for your growing family!
- Silvestris, E., Lovero, D., Palmirotta, R. (2019) Nutrition and Female Fertility: An interdependent correlation. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 10:346. doi: 3389/fendo.2019.00346
- Stanford Children’s Health. Nutrition before pregnancy. Accessed Dec 30, 2020 at: https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=nutrition-before-pregnancy-90-P02479
- Nutrition during pregnancy. Accessed Dec 30, 2020 at: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw194870
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reproductive health – substance use during pregnancy. Accessed on Dec 31, 2020 at: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/substance-abuse/substance-abuse-during-pregnancy.htm#:~:text=Smoking%20during%20pregnancy%20increases%20the,infant%20death%20syndrome%20(SIDS).
- Rooney, K.L. (2018) The relationship between stress and infertility. Dialogues Clin Neurosci 20(1):41-47.
- Pizzorno, J. (2018) Environmental toxins and infertility. Integr Med (Encinitas) 17(2):8-11.
- Fertility Centers of Illinois. How environmental toxin exposures impact your fertility. Accessed Dec 31, 2020 at: https://www.fcionline.com/fertility-blog/environmental-toxins-and-fertility
- Fllah, A. (2018) Zinc is an essential element for male fertility: A review of Zn roles in men’s health, germination, sperm quality and fertilization. J Reprod Infertil 19(2): 69-81