Part of an overall healthy TTC lifestyle is making sure you’re getting the vitamins and nutrients necessary to help your body function optimally for getting pregnant.
But with all of the different types of vitamins and supplements out there, and even more people selling them, it can be hard to know what’s really best for baby and what’s just bunk. Let’s take a look at what you need to know before adding vitamins and supplements to your TTC plans.
It’s important to take prenatal vitamins during the course of your pregnancy to improve your chances of delivering a healthy baby, though prenatal vitamins won’t necessarily increase your chances of conceiving in the first place, says Dr. Shahin Ghadir, ASTROGLIDE TTC’s resident fertility expert.
However, taking prenatal vitamins while you’re trying to conceive is still a good idea — the earlier you start getting adequate levels of nutrients like folic acid, the better. Prenatal vitamins can help prevent fetal spinal abnormalities and other issues in utero, so they’re a solid addition to a healthy TTC lifestyle.
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins, which means they cover most of the bases when it comes to supplementing a healthy diet with the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, you may find that you have a deficiency in a vitamin or nutrient, whether for dietary reasons (vegans, for instance, often have to supplement with B12), or because a medication or condition makes it difficult for your body to absorb a certain type of vitamin.
The only way to know this for sure is to visit your doctor early in your TTC journey and get tested for deficiencies as part of an overall checkup. Your doctor may prescribe a shot or inhaler to help bring your levels back to normal, or they might recommend a certain dosage of over-the-counter vitamin supplementation.
One of the most common deficiencies is in vitamin D, which is also an important vitamin for ensuring optimal fertility. While a healthy diet and adequate sun exposure are common sources of this essential nutrient, some people still have to add an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement to get the amount their body needs.
Here’s a fun fact: inadequate vitamin D is also implicated in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so if you find yourself getting especially blue in the winter months, a supplement can help you feel more cheerful (and more likely to want to hop in the sack) while keeping your reproductive tissues healthy. That’s a win-win when you’re trying to conceive!
Again, with over-the-counter vitamin D pills ranging from 400 IU to 5,000 IU, the best way to know how much you need (and whether you need it in the first place) is to talk to your doctor, who will help you plan the best course of action.
Remember: women’s bodies aren’t solely responsible for trying to conceive! As it turns out, vitamins are also important for male fertility — in particular, vitamins C and E, as well as zinc, all of which help men maintain high quality sperm. If you’re trying to become a father, adding a multivitamin to your healthy lifestyle can help keep your swimmers strong.
While certain vitamins, minerals and other over-the-counter supplements can help improve your fertility, it’s critically important that you talk to your doctor about how these treatments may interact with any medications you may be taking, and whether you really need to be supplementing in the first place. As always, your fertility doctor is the best source of information when it comes to your own health and that of your growing family.
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