You can get everything you need from diet and don’t need to take supplements

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you can find yourself bombarded with conflicting advice.  What you eat can be crucial for conception, but does that mean you can get everything you need from a healthy, balanced diet?

It’s true that lots of women who live on a diet of chips and takeaways get pregnant straightaway.  But if you’re struggling to become a parent, making positive changes to your diet can be hugely beneficial in improving your chances of conceiving. And it’s not only important for you to eat well: diet has a significant impact on the fertility of men as well as women.

However, sometimes diet alone isn’t enough.  There is one supplement that all women who are trying for a baby need to take: folic acid.  This is essential for helping a baby’s spine, brain and skull develop in the early weeks of pregnancy – potentially before you even realise you are pregnant – and most people in the West don’t have enough folic acid in their diet to provide the levels needed for a growing foetus.  While folic acid won’t help you get pregnant, it will reduce the risk of spontaneous miscarriage by helping any pregnancy to develop successfully.

But supplements can also give an added helpful boost to fertility, especially if you are struggling to conceive.  Anti-oxidant supplements have been found to be beneficial for men with poor sperm quality .  They have also been found to improve fertility in women, including those with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.   

The official advice is that you take 400 microgrammes of folic acid a day from when you start trying to conceive through to your 12th week of pregnancy as well as 10 microgrammes of Vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and when you are breastfeeding, but that you should avoid supplements containing excess levels of Vitamin A, as it can be harmful to your baby.  If you are struggling to conceive and are considering taking additional supplements, you should seek expert advice.