Infertility is an increasing issue in America and most western countries. More and more couples seek assisted conception. Scientific studies suggest adjusting diet pattern could be an effective way to treat infertility and promote a healthy pregnancy.
The human body relies on a whole host of nutrients to keep us alive and functional, including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and others. Most of our nutritional needs are met by what we eat. Animal-based foods are major sources of protein in the American diet. We got many vitamins and minerals from vegetables and fruits. Bread, cake, and rice are loaded with carbohydrates. And most of the fats we consume are added in food preparation. You can find more detailed information in this USDA database.
Not all foods are created equal. Some are more beneficial than others; some may even have undesirable compositions. Careful food selection is important for maintaining a healthy body, and is even more critical to prepare the body for pregnancy. For example, fish is generally considered as a healthier food with high-quality protein and high-level unsaturated fat, but the mercury contamination in some fishes is detrimental to the fetus.
We believe the source of the foods is equally important to the variety and quantity. Organic food became our first choice when we started preparing for pregnancy. Though there are a lot of debates on the benefits of organic foods, we decide to err on the side of caution mainly because the accumulation of contaminants such as pesticides is much slower from eating organic foods (yes, you will be surprised that organic foods still has some level of pesticides). In addition, organic foods provide a higher level of micro-nutrients.
Some key nutrients are more crucial for reproductive health and fetus development than for normal body functions. Slightly lower intake of folic acid than recommended intake level may not be too serious for the adults. But lack of folic acid during pregnancy may result in birth defects. Nutrients need time to build up in the human body. Supplementing these nutrients, even way ahead of the planned pregnancy goes a long way to reduce the risk to the baby.
Overall, knowledge of key nutrients and nutritional structure of food sources enabled us to build a healthy diet pattern, which helped us with a successful natural conception and healthy pregnancy.