27.5% of women between the ages of 15-44 suffer from impaired or outright infertility. (CDC, 2013a) A woman is deemed infertile if she is unable to conceive after 1 full year of trying. 1 in 5 couples is considered to be infertile. The chances of a woman conceiving diminished by 3-5% each year after the age of 30.
Possible Causes Of Female Infertility
There are many possible causes of female infertility some may be due to environmental issues such as toxins being consumed or accidentally ingested while others could be due to hormonal imbalances. Other causes can be due to damage to the fallopian tubes, cervical or uterine causes and then there are some cases where female infertility is simply unknown.
It has been proven that increasing proper nutritional intake and correcting deficiencies can help to balance hormones and thus increase the chances of a woman conceiving. By following an ‘Eating For Health’ diet, and following a building diet a woman can increase her chances of getting pregnant. Refined foods with toxins, antibiotics, and steroids only inhibit pregnancy and should be completely avoided while ‘Eating For Health’ on a fertility diet plan.
Specific foods have been shown to boost female infertility and should be added in large amounts to a woman’s diet. Through balancing hormones, ridding the body of toxins and uncovering what is preventing pregnancy will result in an increased chance of conception.
- Hormonal imbalances: Estrogen and Progesterone
- Short Luteal Phase: No Progesterone=No pregnancy
- Refined foods
- Sexual history
In terms of dietary recommendation, an ‘Eating for Health’ diet plan is highly recommended.
- Eating only organic unrefined foods is key for helping boost fertility.
- Increase protein intake, from high-quality organic protein sources.
- Increase foods that are going to help to stabilize hormonal balance such as maca, royal jelly, and dark leafy greens.
- Increase water intake and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
Foods should be eaten to correct deficiencies and certain supplements can be added on as well.
- Common deficiencies in women who are unable to conceive are zinc, B-vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
Key Nutrients for Increasing Fertility
• Essential Fatty Acids
EFA are essential for getting pregnant. Omega 3 fat is necessary to maintain the balanced production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. (Americanpregnancy.org) They can also increase blood flow to reproductive organs, increase cervical mucus, and promote ovulation.
1 tsp. of fish oil per day is recommended for women consuming animal products while 1 tbsp. of flax oil per day is recommended for women not consuming animal products.
• Vitamin B12
Many women who are not able to conceive are deficient in Vitamin B12. B12 will help to balance hormone imbalances, essential for cell formation, aids in nutrient absorption and metabolism as well as overall digestion.
It is also important for the nervous system, blood supply, and the development of red blood cells.Women who are trying to get pregnant and have a B12 deficiency may not be ovulating and may have abnormal estrogen levels which can affect implantation of a fertilized egg.
B12 deficiency has also been linked to cell abnormalities of the reproductive tract which may even be diagnosed as cervical dysplasia. (womensinternational.com) Vitamin B12 is found in the gut of animals and, therefore, cannot be obtained through plants. Women following a vegan or vegetarian diet are often low in B12 and should use supplements. Women trying to get pregnant, and pregnant women throughout their pregnancy should be consuming 2.6 mcg of B12 per day. (ods.od.nig.gov)
Aside taking supplements, if you’re trying to conceive, you should increase intake of beef, poultry, fish, fortified dairy or nondairy products as well as booster foods such as nutritional yeast. B12 shots are also effective.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should be increasing the protein intake to about 25% of what you have previously been eating. High-quality protein with all amino acids is the best option, high-quality animal protein is also sources of other important nutrients such as iron, and B-vitamins.
• Folic Acid
Folic acid is one of the best-known vitamins to aid in pregnancy. It is essential for preventing neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, as well as urinary tract defects in the baby. (natural-fertility-info.com)
Deficiency in folic acid can also increase infertility and cause pre-term labor. Folic acid can be found in liver, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach, black beans, navy beans, and collard greens. If you’re taking a supplement, then it should be should be between 600-1200 mcg per day. (Bauman College, 2010)