Article re-printed with permission from
The American Pregnancy Association

Increasing Fertility:

The Myth: There is no scientific data supporting the notion that certain foods increase your chances for conceiving. Similarly, there is no evidence proving that spicy foods will increase sexual potency by increasing your blood pressure or pulse rate.

The Exception: Oysters contain high levels of zinc, which is a nutrient that contributes to semen and testosterone production in men, and in ovulation and fertility in women. There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc impede upon both male and female fertility. Maintaining the recommended dietary allowance of zinc of 15 mg a day can help keep your reproductive system functioning suitably.

The Rule: Maintaining a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products regularly should provide you with the recommended dietary allowance of vitamins and minerals for the most favorable reproductive functioning.

Conception Preparation:

Begin making healthy changes three months to a year before you conceive. The evidence shows that healthy nutrition and fertility is linked for both men and women. Below is a list of suggestions for healthy nutrition prior to conception

Folic Acid: Health Canada recommends that women of childbearing age obtain 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate or folic acid each day. This B vitamin helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural-tube birth defects such as spina bifida. If your family has a history of neural-tube defects, your doctor may increase your daily intake. Folic Acid may be obtained naturally through dark green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach), citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals, and these foods can be supplemented with a prenatal vitamin which usually contains 800mcg of folic acid. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin allowing your body to flush out excess amounts.

Calcium: It is recommended that women get at least 1,000 mgs (three 8 oz glasses of skim milk) of calcium a day if they are considering getting pregnant. Calcium may be obtained from natural sources such as cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, rice, and cheese.

Supplements & Vitamins: In addition to a healthy diet, many healthcare providers will encourage supplements to increase the probability that you get all the nutrients you need.

Caffeine: It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate), because research has shown that more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also impedes upon the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium.

Remove: Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, recreational drugs, and cigarettes all have the potential of harming your soon to be conceived baby.