I was chatting with a healthy lifestyle guru (I know she wouldn’t like that label), when she started to talk about what lifestyle changes needed to be made when you are trying for a baby. She had mentioned some supplements and herbs that can be infused into foods, like the maca powder, kale and beetroot power and then added that if your man is proving defensive as most of them were wont to be, all you need do is add these supplements and herbs to their foods, add lot loads of natural sweeteners like pineapple and you are good to go.
We had both laughed at that ingenuity but guess what, lots of women have mastered that act and this TTC mom, Bisoye, mastered it while she was waiting for her baby, who just turned one year old.
She said after she got married, as with most brides, she had expected that she would get pregnant soon but that wasn’t the case, and a visit to the doctor had shown they were issues with both herself and her husband; she wasn’t ovulating regularly, and her husband’s sperm count was low. She was placed on treatment while her husband was placed on some supplements meant to boost his sperm count.
However, it soon became glaring that getting him to take the supplements was going to be a struggle. He always forgot. She nagged, and then he got angry, she would get angry and the vicious cycle would continue, until she sat down to think about it and her first point of call was her doctor, to ask if there were other alternative to the supplements. He said no at first but then suggested herbs, found in powder form. She was told, she could even grind the supplements and add it to his meal, much like you would a baby.
All the herbs she was already using, like Cinnamon, cabbage and Maca were things she started to infuse in his food. Cinnamon in his oats became an acquired taste for him. He wondered at the way she gave him juices, instead of plain ol’ water. Whenever, he asked for something to drink.
Bisoye ensured they were eating a lot more healthily. As for Maca, it was in everything she had, from soups to drinks. It took a while but her husband got used to the new taste of her meals.
Especially as it meant Bisoye she was no longer harassing him about the supplements, which he still took as the spirit directed him, which wasn’t often.
About six months, after they started their TTC journey, they went back to the doctor, who put them through some tests, they were improvements on all counts and according to the doctor; “they were now really ready to start.”
It didn’t happen immediately like the doctor had assured them but it did, and resulted in their beautiful baby girl. She absolutely credits her diet with how fast they were able to get pregnant and it is what is helping her to lose the baby weight, even if it just a year into her motherhood journey.
Apart from the things she infused into meals, eating vegetables was one thing she made a habit of. She found that Spinach and the other vegetable called Soko in Yoruba, were rich sources of vitamins but she had been cooking them, the wrong way all these while. Instead of using hot water to soften it, she rinsed it instead and added it to her sauce. That way, she got more of the nutrients of the vegetable in there, than she had before. And the taste was even better for it.
Dark leafy greens are high in folate, a vitamin B shown to improve ovulation. As it happens, it also does a nice job in the man, as men who get higher doses of folate make healthier sperm, potentially reducing the chances of miscarriage or genetic problems in the baby.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that helps increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation throughout the body. This doesn’t really make sense, unless, you realise that inflammation in the body interferes with ovulation, conception, and early development of the embryo).
There are a variety of uses for the olive oil, from salads to cooking to spread. Have a party but make sure olive oil is included. Use it on salads with some balsamic vinegar, or use it for cooking, in place of butter.
There are many protein sources out there but a protein-rich diet (complete protein diet has all the essential amino acids) filled with high quality protein, with low carb intake has been known to increases conception chances.
According to a study on fertility diet, eating a diet of 25% or more protein and 40% or less carbs improved ovarian function and doubled pregnancy rate in IVF patients as opposed to those following a higher carb, lower protein diet.
Whole eggs and egg whites, dubbed one of nature’s power houses are excellent sources, as is some fish like sardine.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
While omega 3 fatty acid works wonders, when you are pregnant, as they are great for the baby’s brain development, they are also excellent to have in your diet now because your body needs the healthy fats to keep hormones functioning properly—so you can get pregnant in the coming months.
You can get your Omega Fatty acids in your supplements, which are readily available in pharmacies, you can also get it from natural sources like fish again, walnuts, are loaded with the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids we all need.
To mix things up a bit, you can include walnuts in your cereal, salads and even smoothies. It all boils down to making the healthy option, attractive, something which it is often not.
The best time to take a good look at one’s diet is while trying to conceive, as it ensure, you eat right to support conception; support the growth of another baby and even afterwards with losing the baby weight. It just shows how important our diet is, the more healthy options we make, and the better for us now and in the future.
Food for thought!
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