- By Deanna Segrave-Daly
- In 2018
- April 25, 2018
Foods For Fertility: What You and Your Partner Should Be Eating
Did you know that healthy couples having regular, unprotected intercourse have just a 20-25% chance of becoming pregnant in a given cycle? And, according to the National Survey of Family Growth, 12.7 % of females aged 18 to 44 have impaired fecundity (the biological ability to bear children that we typically refer to as fertility).
With those statistics, I say that anything we can do to improve the odds, the better. The government agrees and has a few goals related to preconception in Healthy People 2020 that we can learn from:
Goal: Increase the proportion of women of childbearing potential with intake of at least 400 micrograms of folic acid from fortified foods or dietary supplements.
Action: Consumer adequate folate!
Resources: Office of Dietary Supplements Info – Folate
Goal: Reduce the proportion of woman of childbearing potential that have lower red blood cell folate concentrations.
Action: Consume adequate iron!
Resources: Office of Dietary Supplements Info – Iron
Goal: Increase the proportion of women delivering a live birth who had a healthy weight prior to pregnancy
Action: Lose weight if overweight and gain weight if underweight!
Resources: MyPlate Calorie Checklist
Additional factors related to impaired fertility in women (and men) that registered dietitian nutritionists can help clients address:
Weight loss >15% of normal weight
Negative energy balance
Inadequate or Excessive body fat
Extreme levels of exercise
High alcohol intake
Inadequate zinc status
Inadequate antioxidant status
A friend of mine has written a cookbook that is more like a self-help guide addressing this very topic: Fertility Foods Cookbook by Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN and Chef Sara Haas, RDN.
Caroline is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the owner of Caroline West, LLC and the Past President of the Pittsburgh Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When she isn’t fielding media interviews, consulting with clients, or fooling her friends with food you will likely find her spending quality – and active – time with her family. You can find Caroline on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.