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Pregnancy Clinic

Planning to get pregnant

Fertility: should I change my diet?

No one thing can guarantee successful conception, but making changes to what you eat could help.

Even before you start trying to get pregnant, best medical advice suggests you should be taking a supplement of folic acid (LINK) for at least three months, in order to lower the risk of particular health problems for your baby. However, your general diet can affect how good your sleeping habits are and how well your body can balance its hormones, so it’s worth getting your diet in order.

Eating when trying to conceive

  • Being underweight or overweight can affect the monthly hormonal changes that bring about ovulation, so keeping a well-balanced eating regime is important generally.
  • For sperm health, zinc and vitamin C are important, so men should make sure they’re getting zinc (from brazil nuts, fish, eggs or grains) and vitamin C (from tomatoes, oranges, kiwi fruit, peppers, sprouts and broccoli).
  • Good foods to enhance the production of seratonin and dopamine (which contribute to healthy hormone production) include bananas, dried apricots, carrots, turkey and fish such as cod and sardines.
  • For women it’s good to eat alkaline-rich foods including carrots, cucumber, leeks, apples, potatoes, olives and onions.

Cutting back

  • Salt, artificial sweeteners and fried, starchy food are not great for keeping a healthy weight, good energy levels and general health.
  • Alcohol should be consumed only in moderation even before you’re pregnant. This is because excessive drinking not only impairs the body’s ability to process key vitamins and minerals, but also can affect how much quality sleep you are getting and your blood sugar levels, and both of these can affect healthy hormonal activity. If you want to drink to de-stress, try to keep this to a minimum.


There is a school of thinking that supports the notion that other nutritional changes can not only enhance the chances of successful conception, but also improve the long-term health outlook of your child. For more about this, it’s worth checking out the website of Foresight, the association for the promotion of pre-conceptual care. 

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