Important foods for the Fertile Woman
Iron Deficiency, deficiency of Folic Acid and certain other trace minerals is on the rise. This is one of the reasons for rising lifestyle illnesses, infertility being one of them. Severe low levels of Iron leads to Anemia. The symptoms of Anemia are –
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Low Blood pressure
- Frequent headaches
- Brittle or weak nails
- Reduced appetite
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition caused because of Iron Deficiency where the Red Blood cells are low in numbers. A simple test called the CBC can help check the level of RBCs or hemoglobin in the blood.
Various other causes of anemia are-
- Active bleeding caused by wounds, menstruation, etc
- Long -term illnesses such as cancer
- Long -term kidney disease
- Pernicious anemia when there is poor absorption of Vitamin B12
- Thalassemia leads to insufficient amount of hemoglobin levels
- Leukemia or other bone marrow related illnesses
- Alcoholism can disrupt the absorption of essential nutrients.
Of these, the most common reason is Iron Deficiency or lowered capacity of the body to absorb Iron followed by a deficiency of Folic Acid.
How does Anemia impact fertility?
Doctors recommend that a woman should boost her Iron and Folic Acid levels even before she gets pregnant or when she is trying to conceive.
Insufficient amounts of Iron may lead to a condition called Anovulation.
Here a woman may not ovulate during each menstrual cycle. Even though ovulation happens, it may not support a pregnancy or the growing fetus.
A report by the International Journal of Current Research and Academic Review states that women with Iron Deficiency have a 60% higher chance of Anovulation and poor egg health.
This significantly reduces their ability to get pregnant and carry the pregnancy to full term.
Therefore, a woman should do a Haemoglobin test such as a CBC before she starts planning to conceive in order to ensure that the Iron levels are in check and there is no Iron Deficiency.
In some cases of Anemia, there is a deficiency of Folic Acid or Vitamin B 12.
Folic Acid plays an important role in the production of Red Blood Cells and in the baby’s neural development. Therefore, getting adequate amounts of Folic Acid is a necessity during the initial 3 months of pregnancy. It helps prevent Birth Defects too.
How to ensure that you get adequate amounts of Iron and Folic Acid?
In order to get the required dietary proportions of Iron, you need to eat a diet rich in Iron such as –
- Leafy vegetables especially spinach
- Cereals such as wheat, bajra, ragi, jowar, etc
- Lentils and beans
- Liver and Organ meats
- Red meat
- Pumpkin seeds
- And even Dark Chocolate.
To avoid Iron Deficiency, one needs to take appropriate amounts of Vitamin C. The Ascorbic Acid in Vitamin C helps absorb iron. Therefore, foods such as lemons, citrus fruits such as Sweet lime, Oranges, Papaya, Amla are important.
The amount of Folic acid required by the body changes as per the needs of the baby. The recommended amount if you are planning to get pregnant is 400 micrograms (mcg). This is the same amount required during 1st 3 months of pregnancy. The amount required increases as the pregnancy progress and during breastfeeding.
Therefore, doctors often recommend Folic Acid supplements to women who are trying to conceive or during pregnancy.
One can avoid Folic Acid deficiency by consuming a healthy, balanced diet comprising of-
- Leafy Vegetables
- Beans and Lentils
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds
- Oranges and citrus fruits
- Whole cereals
- Rice etc.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet has many benefits from maintaining a proper weight to leading a disease-free life. The needs of the body change during certain important times such as adolescence, pregnancy, and lactation. Having a knowledge of the foods required by the body at these times and increasing their intake can help ward off many illnesses and deficiencies such as Iron Deficiency and Folic Acid deficiency.
You can combine these measures with a simple, non- invasive Home IUI as a step forward towards your dream of becoming pregnant. This will ensure you conceive sooner and are stress- free.