Why Nutrition Is So Important For Pregnancy And IVF Success

I say this all the time, but without a doubt nutrition is the cornerstone to laying down the foundations for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Nutrients play an essential role in creating and maintaining healthy eggs and sperm that will go onto fertilise, implant and grow a healthy baby.

Still, There is so much conflicting advice around diet and supplements when trying for a baby naturally, and we always attempt to cut through the generalisations and develop a personalised and targeted nutritional plan for you as a couple.

In this week’s Fertility Show, I’m sitting down with Isabelle Obert, our clinic nutritionist, and she is giving us her top tips on why nutrition is so important for pregnancy.

Here’s a sneak peek of what Isabella had to say…

‘A lot of people feel out-of-control during an IVF cycle. You know, when’s the next scan? When’s the next injection? By taking control of your nutrition, you can actually be proactive.

We make it as easy as possible. It’s got to be doable. It’s got to be interesting. It’s got to be … I try and be as enthusiastic as possible, so when people leave, they know what they’re doing. They have a diet plan. They feel comfortable. They feel relaxed.

I always want people to leave a nutritional consultation more relaxed than when they came in, feeling happier, and feeling that they can actually be proactive. It makes an enormous amount of difference, because one should not underestimate the mind-body connection.’

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Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

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Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

Fig, pear & pistachio muffins to sate your sugar cravings (and boost fertility!)

During IVF treatment, it is vital to avoid refined sugar and junk food, so today I’m going to share a recipe from my book, The IVF Diet Book, that is both nutritious and will help you curb your sweet cravings.

My fig, pear a pistachio muffins are a perfect healthy snack, an on-the-go snack option or can be eaten as a pick-me up when your energy levels are low. Figs have long been renowned for their ability to improve fertility and and for boosting libido. The use of ground almonds provides plenty of protein while Maca powder is useful for supporting adrenal health. These muffins will keep well in the fridge for three to four days or can be frozen up to three months.  

You’ll find the full recipe below the video.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Makes 8 muffins

Ingredients

  • 250g ground almonds
  • 60g tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 60 g coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 60 g xylitol
  • 1 pear, cored and grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 125 ml kefir or almond milk
  • 100 g dried figs, chopped
  • 75 g pistachio nuts, chopped

Step one: preheat the oven to 180oc (gas mark 4). Grease and line eight muffin tin holes with paper cases.

Step two: Combine the ground almonds, tapioca flour, maca powder, baking powder and salt in the food processor.

Step three:   Place the coconut oil or butter in a pan with the xylitol and melt. Stir to dissolve the xylitol.

Step four: Pour the oil and xylitol mixture into the food processor along with the grated pear, vanilla extract, eggs and milk. Blend to combine. Add the figs and most of the pistachio nuts and briefly pulse.

Step five: Divide the mixture between the paper cases and scatter over the remaining nuts.

Step six: Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  

Step seven: Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

 

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

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Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

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Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

What to eat during each trimester of pregnancy

This week I want to go through each phase of pregnancy and the foods and supplements that you should take during each trimester.

In an ideal world, if you’re eating a very balanced diet you should be absolutely fine. But so often in pregnancy, women are very depleted of key nutrients, especially in the first trimester, and they need a supplement to build up their diets.

I have a range of pregnancy products that cover each trimester of pregnancy so here is what I recommend for you during each trimester.

All of our products are available in our shop.

First Trimester – Vital Essence One is our supplement to aid the first trimester. In this phase of pregnancy you’re laying down the foundations of all of your baby’s organs, and there are key nutrients that are needed during this time. One very important nutrient is folate, and we have folate, not folic acid, in all of our products.

Folate’s really important for nerve development, but also for neural tube defect, so many women are encouraged to take folic acid or folate before pregnancy and during pregnancy. Folate is rich in foods such as; broccoli, parsley, cabbage and spinach. I also can’t stress the importance of Omega 3 in this phase because so many women are low in Omega 3 before they get pregnant, so building up your stores in pregnancy will ensure you’ve got plenty of Omega 3 in your system for your developing baby’s brain. Our supplement Vital DHA is great to top-up your Omega 3.

Second Trimester – What you need to focus on during this phase is looking at bone development. So, calcium, which is rich in yoghurt and seeds, vitamin D from oily fish, magnesium which is rich in green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds. To aid the second trimester we recommend Vital Essence Two.

Third Trimester – In this phase your baby is rapidly developing. Your baby’s brain, between 28 and 40 weeks goes through a growth period of rapid development, and it needs fats, so it’s great to eat oily fish and salmon, which is rich in Omega 3, but you’re not getting enough through diet alone, so you do need to supplement. Our supplement to support the third trimester is Vital Essence 3 along with Vital DHA.

Fourth Trimester – The postnatal period is what I call the fourth trimester. You’ve had your baby, you’ve got through your labour, but now your body really needs some key nutrients. What you eat and drink at this stage determines the content of your milk, if you’re breastfeeding, so you need good nutritious foods for the baby to be able to absorb.

Vital DHA or Omega 3 is really important after birth as your baby needs Omega 3 for his own brain development. It’s also rich in oily fish, but it’s very hard to get that amount from your diet, so taking a supplement is key. Also, there have been some studies that show, if your levels of Omega 3 are good postpartum, you’re likely to get less postpartum depression.

All of our products are available in our shop.

 

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Skype from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

What to eat for female fertility and preconception

Us women know everything about diets but we rarely know very little about good nutrition to help with fertility. Women really need to be eating a broad range of multi-coloured foods which contain a range of multi-vitamins.

This week in the Fertility Show, I am sharing with you the foods and supplements I recommend for women who are trying to conceive – also known as the preconception phase, which is the time before you get pregnant or leading up to pregnancy.

And as always, you’ll find your cheatsheet below

 

Your female fertility checklist

 

Include in your diet

Vitamin D – One of the key nutrients that a woman needs is vitamin D which you get from sunshine but also from oily fish and salmon.

Iodine –  Foods such as samphire are a really good source of iodine which is vital for the thyroid and ovaries.

Omega-3 – Omega-3 is found in oily fish and salmon but also in nuts and seeds and avocados. Omega-3 is really important for the immune system but also for cell membranes of the eggs and of the sperm.

Choline – The best source of choline is eggs, especially, egg yolk. Many women can be deficient in choline so it’s necessary to include it in your diet as it’s needed for early foetal development.

Additionally, you need to make sure that your diet includes plenty of antioxidant rich foods such as vitamin C from berries, pomegranates, vitamin E from avocados and nuts and seeds and also beta-carotene foods such as carrots and peppers.

When it comes to diets, despite our best intentions,  the body can be depleted of key nutrients and that’s where supplements come in and can top up what you’re not getting from your diet.

 

SUPPLEMENTS

What I advise to take alongside the above (click on the product link to buy in our shop)

 

Vitafem – Vitafem is a simple, effective way for women to support their fertility and ensure they are getting the essential nutrients they need while preparing for pregnancy. We advise our clients to take is Vitafem as it contains a broad range multivitamin and mineral such as; vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E and B vitamins.

Vital DHA – Another product we recommend that men take alongside the multi-vitamin and mineral is VitalDHA. Vital DHA contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids, plus a small amount of Zinc. It has been designed to help protect both partners’ DNA from oxidative damage during preconception as well as to support normal fertility and healthy sperm production. Omega 3 is rich in oily fish, but women are discouraged from eating fish too often in a week, therefore taking this supplement helps build up your stores of omega-3 prior to getting pregnant.

Vitamin D spray – Many of the women that we see are deficient in vitamin D so we encourage them to test their vitamin D levels and then use a supplement spray, depending on what results comes back.  Vitamin D plays a critical role in reproductive health. It is important for both women and men who are trying to conceive and for women when they are pregnant.

Vitafem boost – Finally, for women struggling to conceive, we recommend Vitafem boost. This is an enhanced version of Vitafem that contains vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, resveratrol, which are some of the extra antioxidants that can be found in berries, pomegranates and avocados.

To sum up, I always recommend that you lead with your diet a whole range of colourful foods, plenty of protein to build healthy eggs, take supplements to boost your intake of multivitamins and minerals, and if you’re really struggling, then I recommend Vitafem and Vitafem boost.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Skype from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

Quick & easy Beet Burst Smoothie for sperm health

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing some of my favourite recipes from my book, The IVF Diet Book. This week I‘m sharing with you my quick and easy Beets Burst Juice which helps energise your body during your IVF and today we are adding in Vitamen Burst 2.

This is a new, premium quality, antioxidant “booster” formulation, specially designed for use as a combination product alongside Vitamen or any other good quality mutivitamin and mineral supplement.

Beetroots are a fantastic source of the antioxidant resveratrol, which is thought to help combat against age-related infertility. They also supply nitrates known to improve blood flow to the sexual organs, making them useful for male fertility and for supporting a healthy uterus during embryo implantation.

This recipe is so simple and only takes 5 minutes to prepare!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large raw beetroot
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 120g fresh pineapple
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • Small piece of fresh ginger (optional)

Simply place all the ingredients in a juicer and whizz up. Divide between two glasses and mix well before serving.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Skype from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us: Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com

 

The foods and supplements that enhance male fertility

 

In this week’s episode of The Fertility Show, I am sharing with you the foods and supplements I recommend for male fertility during the preconception phase, which is the time before your partner gets pregnant.  

I’m a big believer that key nutrients can really help with sperm health and as men are producing sperm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  there is a lot that men can do with their diet to improve their sperm.

And as always, here’s your cheatsheet!

The foods I recommend for sperm health

Protein – Sperm needs  plenty of protein and amino acids as building blocks to build healthy sperm, so protein found in meat such as chicken is great.

Fats & Omega-3 –  Sperm also needs fats and omega-3, so rich in oily fish and nuts and seeds are good for this.

Berries – Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are very rich in important antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A. Pomegranates also are a rich form of anti-oxidants.

Beetroot – Beetroot is rich is in Resveratrol, which again is a very good antioxidant for the sperm.

Orange and yellow foods – Orange and yellow foods such as carrots and peppers contain beta carotene which is great for men. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene which again is very good for sperm health.

Green leafy vegetables – Men need folic acid as much as women. It’s very good for cell division of the sperm. Folate is easily assimilated in the body and you can get it from green leafy vegetables such as;  broccoli, spinach, cabbage, parsley. Lots of green leafy vegetables will provide a good amount of folate.

The supplements I recommend for sperm health

Vitamen – We advise our male clients to take is Vitamen as it contains a broad range multivitamin and mineral that men need and possibly lack through their diet. Vitamen is specially formulated to help support male fertility and to help prepare the body for conception.

Vitamen Boost – We also have a Vitamen Boost, which is an enhanced product with lots of vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol and lycopene.  Vitamen Boost is a premium quality, antioxidant “booster” formulation, specially designed for use as a combination product alongside Vitamen or any other good quality mutivitamin and mineral supplement.

Vital DHA – Another product we recommend that men take alongside the multi-vitamin and mineral is Vital DHA. Vital DHA contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids, plus a small amount of Zinc. It has been designed to help protect both partners’ DNA from oxidative damage during preconception as well as to support normal fertility and healthy sperm production.

Vitamen Boost 2 – For men with a lot of sperm issues, we use Vitamen Boost 2, which is a unique combination of zinc, selenium, carnitine, arginine and lycopene developed in order to provide key nutrients that support sperm count, motility and morphology

All of our products are available in our shop.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London, or our visiting clinics in Dublin and Cork or via Skype from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0207 224 0017 or email us at clinics@zitawest.com