When it comes to trying for a baby, there is a lot of focus on ‘how many eggs do I have left?’ While of course it’s so important to have a number of eggs when trying to conceive, it’s important to remember, it’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality too. The quality of a fertilised egg is what enables it to copy the correct number of chromosomes and become a healthy pregnancy.
We know that egg quality declines with age, and unfortunately there’s not much we can about that. But did you know that we have a window of time before the egg is released where we can really help optimise its quality?
It Takes 12 Months To Make a Baby..
We like to say - It takes 12 months to make a baby. Yes, you read that correctly! The egg goes through a maturation process of 3-4 months before it is released, in which it is sensitive and receptive to changes in our nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle.
Here are some top tips on making sure you’re looking after your eggs before conception..
Eat The Rainbow
Research shows that the optimal diet for female fertility is a nutrient-rich Mediterranean style diet. This style of diet is full of a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, fish and lean meats. This diet is rich in antioxidants, which means it may protect our maturing eggs from oxidative damage.
If you are planning a baby in the coming months, fish should be a part of your diet. In particular oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. The omega 3 fatty acids in these types of fish have amazing anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they may protect our maturing eggs from inflammatory damage. If you don’t like oily fish, you can simply take a daily supplement and get all those beneficial omega 3s needed.
A Prenatal Multivitamin
You want to enter into pregnancy in a nourished state, and not in a delpeted state. A high quality prenatal multivitamin acts as an insurance policy, meaning you have your bases covered and are less likely to have nutrient deficiencies. Something to note is that the oral contraceptive pill causes nutrient deficiencies such as magnesium and zinc, so a high quality prenatal multivitamin is even more important if you have just finished taking the oral contraceptive pill.
A Word on Folic Acid
It is widely recommended that women should be taking folic acid (vitamin B9), 3 months prior to conception, to prevent the incidence of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. The type of vitamin B9 you are supplementing with is important. Vitamin B9 can be obtained in two ways. The first way is from folic acid, which is a synthetic form, and requires several steps in order for it to be converted into a compound that can be used by the body. The other form, methyl-folate, on the other hand, is naturally occurring, and is in an already active form of the vitamin. What’s interesting is there is a growing body of evidence which shows that up to 50% of women may have a genetic polymorphism, or mutation, which hinders the conversion of folic acid from its synthetic form, to its active form. This means that if you take methyl-folate, it bypasses the need for this complicated conversation process and you don’t need to worry about having this genetic polymorphism. Ensuring your prenatal multivitamin contains methyl-folate means you’re taking the more natural and active form of B9 which is readily available to be used by your body.
CoQ10 – The Battery for Baby Making
Egg quality naturally declines with age and if you are over the age of 35 years, you should consider supplementing with CoQ10. There is growing evidence to suggest that supplementing with CoQ10 improves egg quality and the chances of a successful pregnancy, particularly in assisted reproductive treatments. CoQ10 is a very important enzyme that supports this cellular energy production. The better the eggs and sperms ability to produce energy, the more likely it is to mature and successfully fertilise.
We have everything you need in our pre-conception pack here.
Minimise Alcohol and Smoking
Minimise alcohol consumption and stop smoking or taking recreational drugs when trying to conceive, as all of these lifestyle factors have been shown to negatively impact egg health and fertility.
If you are planning a baby in the coming months or perhaps you’re already trying, really prioritise your health in the three months before conception. Take comfort in knowing that by giving the best to yourself and your eggs, you are giving the best to your baby!
Planning on a baby in 2024?
If you are planning on having a baby in 2024, now is the time to start preparing! We will be opening our registration for the Fertility Focus very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!