Prior to conceiving it is essential for both partners to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This helps to enhance fertility and maximise the quantity & quality of both the egg and sperm cells, thus providing the best possible conditions for conception to occur.

Sperm takes around eighty days to mature and another twenty to thirty days before it is capable of fertilization, therefore, would-be dads should aim to be health conscious for at least four months, prior to conception.

The female body will be the host to the foetus for the next forty weeks and as her health is paramount for the gestation of the baby, she should prepare her body for conception at least six months beforehand. However, it is important to remember that conceiving is only one part of the equation, the most critical stage of foetal development is during the first ten weeks in the womb and therefore the most important period for optimum nutritional care is not only during the six months immediately prior to conception but also those immediately after.

Whilst alcohol, smoking, caffeine, stress and a poor diet all can have a negative impact upon reproductive health, a balanced diet full of nutrient dense foods can play a vital role in fertility, conception and pregnancy.

Becky’s Healthy Eating Guidelines

Always eat breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a healthy breakfast should not include sugar, caffeine or saturated fats.

Eat little and often – Never skip meals.

Stay hydrated – It is important to drink at least 1.5 litres of non caffeine, non fizzy, non sugary fluids each day (preferably pure water).

Eat plenty of wholegrains – Wholegrains contain sources of fibre, the B vitamins and the minerals iron, magnesium, and selenium, whilst containing less salt and sugar then their processed, white counterparts.

Eat your 5–a–day – “5” is actually the minimum number of portions of fruit and vegetables you should be eating each day, ideally this number should be nearer 8-9.

Choose quality protein – Such as oily fish, chicken, game, beans and nuts & seeds.

Mix carbohydrates and protein – Each meal should contain a source of quality protein as well as complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrains or vegetables.

Include a source of good fats – A source of oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring), seeds or avocado should be included in the diet daily.

Avoid stimulants and toxins – Sugar, caffeine and alcohol, along with the additives and toxins contained within food are all detrimental to fertility health and should be eliminated from the diet.

Nutritional supplements – are often necessary as even when eating an ideal diet you will probably not be getting all the nutrients you need in order to give the best chance of conceiving. This is mainly due to modern agricultural and food production processing as well as modern haulage and storage conditions, during which food can lose many of its nutrient stores.

However you MUST ensure that any supplement you take is specially formulated for pre-conception and pregnancy and breast feeding.  Please be aware that many herbal supplements are not recommended during pregnancy and if you are taking any prescribed medication ask your GP or healthcare provider for advice.