How a nutrition professional can support your fertility journey
Whether you are just starting to think about family planning or you’re on your third IVF cycle, optimising your nutrition can significantly increase your chances of conception as well as help to prepare your body for pregnancy.
In fact, studies show that eating the right foods can improve the chances of a successful pregnancy by up to 40% (Vujkovic et al. 2010). Optimising nutrient levels before pregnancy is also associated with a baby’s development, health and birth weight.
Nutrition plays a big role in fertility, as micronutrients impact everything from egg quality to ovulation and the lining of the uterus. For men, we know there is a measurable impact on sperm count and motility. It’s also important to achieve a healthy weight, as this can impact your chances of getting pregnant naturally, as well as enhance the effects of assisted reproductive treatments.
The world of nutrition is a confusing one though. Information found online and tips from well-meaning relatives are often conflicting. Even the experts don’t always agree and not everything you hear or read about might be applicable to you. Deciding what to focus on can be tricky.
Why work with a nutritionist for fertility?
To make life a little easier during this exciting time of your life, you might benefit from the help of a qualified professional. This guide will help you understand all the benefits of working with a fertility nutrition expert and what else to consider on your journey.
A clear and easy-to-follow, personalised plan, formulated just for you
One of the main benefits of working with a nutrition professional is that we do the research for you, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the most up to date and most suitable advice. After reviewing everything from your medical history to your current health and lifestyle and food likes and dislikes, a nutritional therapist will create a completely bespoke plan for you. This will include everything you need to help you optimise your diet and lifestyle step by step.
- Recommendations on what to eat, including recipes and helpful tips.
- Lifestyle advice, including relaxation techniques.
- Exercise or suggestions around general daily movement.
- Supplement recommendations.
- Advice on further testing, if required.
Having it all broken down for you takes away the confusion so that you can be confident you’re doing everything you can to optimise your chances. It will also help you make these changes more easily.
Navigate the minefield of testing with the help of an expert
From hormone profiles and nutrient deficiencies to heavy metals and DNA testing, there are many tests available that can help you optimise for fertility or get to the root cause of any problems you may be experiencing.
A nutritional therapist will advise you on which tests will be the most effective for you to prevent you from spending money on lots of testing which may not all be necessary. More importantly, we’ll also help you interpret the results and fine-tune and adjust your nutritional protocol accordingly.
Ongoing support and reassurance
As both your fertility journey and pregnancy are times of many changes, many people opt for several sessions over a longer period (usually 3 months). This allows the nutritional therapist to tailor the plan to best suit your needs throughout the various stages.
It also gives you more access to your chosen expert and regular check-ins can give you the added confidence and reassurance you need during this sometimes worrying time.
Accountability to help you succeed
Making changes to your diet can be overwhelming. Often it’s about small changes over a period of time to get the best long-term results. Having someone to guide and coach you along the way can make all the difference. Many of my clients feel that working with a professional gives them accountability, making it easier to stick to the implemented changes and see success more quickly - whether that’s with overall health or measurable outcomes, such as weight management.
Your next steps
Once you’ve decided that working with a nutrition professional is right for you, here are some FAQs to help you get started.
How do I find a nutrition professional?
Find someone who specialises in fertility and is experienced in this field. They will be able to guide you not just in terms of nutrition, but also lifestyle changes which may improve your chances of conception. They’ll also be competent in experiencing test results that you may already have from your GP or fertility clinic. You can search for experts in this field on Nutritionist Resource, or if you’re already working with a fertility clinic, they may be able to recommend someone.
When should I start working with a nutrition professional?
It’s never too soon to start! Even if you’re not sure when you’ll be planning a family, it’s always a great idea to address hormonal balance and menstrual health.
In general, we recommend 3 months as a good time to really make an impact. This is roughly how long it takes for sperm production as well. However, even if you’re already booked in for IVF, as long as you have a minimum of 4 weeks, we’ll be able to make a difference with nutrition.
I’m not ready to work with a professional, but want advice on fertility nutrition.
On my website, you can download a free fertility nutrition guide that includes my top 5 nutrition strategies to increase your chance of successful pregnancy.