You may have heard of fertility specialists, but this might be the first time that you've heard of a fertility dietitian.
A fertility dietitian is a CORU registered dietitian who specialises in helping both women and men to optimise their diet for fertility. Working with a fertility dietitian can be beneficial for those who want to start a family, are having trouble conceiving, or have reproductive disorders such as endometriosis or PCOS. A fertility dietitian will develop an individualised plan for you based on your food preferences and lifestyle, and support and guide you in implementing these changes to help optimise your fertility.
Let’s look at the top 10 ways a fertility dietitian can support you to prepare for IVF.
1. To improve egg quality
Egg quality is a big topic these days. When preparing for IVF you may find the conflicting do’s and don’ts that surround egg quality frustrating. To help you with this, a fertility dietitian will use the most up-to-date evidence-based nutrition advice to provide a personalised and tailored plan for you to improve egg quality. Research has also shown the importance of the mother's and father's health and lifestyle in the six months prior to conceiving. This make sense as the sperm and egg are what provide the genetic material for the growing foetus! It takes approximately 3 months to optimise egg quality for egg collection for IVF.
2. To improve sperm quality
We talk a lot about women when it comes to fertility, however men and healthy sperm are just as important for successful conception and pregnancy. Foods and nutrients influence sperm quality and individual sperm parameters such as sperm mortality, morphology, count and DNA fragmentation. A fertility dietitian can help you to understand what foods and lifestyle factors can promote as well as hinder sperm quality. Similarly to improving egg quality, it takes approximately 3 months to optimise sperm quality for semen transfer dates for an IVF cycle.
3. To get a tailored-made supplement plan that’s specific to you
Fertility supplements can be so confusing especially when there is so much conflicting information about them on social media and on forums. They can also be so expensive and a lot of them have not been proven to help fertility. To support both male and female fertility, supplements and diet need to work together
Certain nutrients support sperm and egg quality in different ways, therefore, it’s best to seek professional and personalised support from a fertility dietitian who can make tailored recommendations for you!
4. You would like help boost your success rate of conceiving
You may want to make some diet and lifestyle changes to help increase your chances of successfully conceiving. You may also want to know what supplements to take to support your fertility. Fertility dietitians can provide a tailored specific nutritional plan to help improve your chances of a successful conception naturally or through IVF.
5. You want to manage reproductive health complications
There are several conditions, that can have an impact on your fertility and contribute to struggling to conceive. Some of these conditions include endometriosis, PCOS, coeliac disease, diabetes, or insulin resistance. A fertility dietitian can help to improve your chances of conceiving by providing useful strategies to help manage symptoms associated with these conditions, as well as providing specifically tailored dietary guidance.
6. Weight management
You may have been advised that you need to lose weight for an IVF cycle, this can be frustrating to hear especially when it is not followed by any practical advice. This is where a fertility dietitian can help. A fertility dietitian can help you to get your BMI target by supporting you with practical changes that you can make to help you to lose weight.
7. Food intolerances or major eliminations
Those with coeliac disease or those who follow major elimination diets such as vegan and vegetarian diets can benefit from working with a fertility dietitian who can provide solution strategies that are personally tailored to your needs. A fertility dietitian can also provide advice on how to correct nutritional deficiencies before you start IVF if you are on a restrictive diet.
8. You are preparing for a frozen embryo transfer (FET)
In order, to have a successful FET, you must create a desirable environment for the embryo to implant. There is so much misinformation around foods to eat for implantation or during the “Two Week Wait”. A fertility dietitian can clear up this confusion by helping you to include foods that have been found to support the thickness of the endometrium lining to help support implantation. A fertility dietitian can also work with you to improve your overall diet to make sure you are including all the nutrients you need to support a potential pregnancy. It is recommended to start working with a fertility dietitian 6-8 weeks pre-transfer.
9. Recurrent Implantation Failure
Advanced maternal age, BMI, endometrial receptivity and immunological factors are all factors that can be considered when recurrent implantation failure occurs. A fertility dietitian is the best professional to provide nutrition and lifestyle strategies to help you improve your chances of successful implantation and becoming pregnant.
10. Trying again after a miscarriage
There are several possible causes of miscarriage such as uterine problems, immunologic factors, hormonal disorders, and genetic abnormalities. A fertility dietitian will provide you with personalised advice on nutrition and lifestyle to reduce your chances of having further miscarriages.
10. To improve the lifelong health of your future child
Early Life Nutrition is the period from pre-conception to toddlerhood, also known as the first 1,000 days. Evidence shows that the first 1,000 days of life is a critical window where diet and lifestyle can positively influence lifelong health. Additionally, research has found vulnerable time-periods before conception and during pregnancy, when exposure to environmental factors is linked to unfavourable outcomes in later life, such as an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and allergies. Identifying these vulnerable periods in foetal development provides an important opportunity for parents and fertility dietitians to provide tailored nutritional advice to help optimise the lifelong health of your future child!
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These are general tips aimed for adults and they should not be considered personally tailored diet advice. If you would like an individualised consultation, please check out this website for details on how to contact Nourish My Fertility.