Christmas, conception and nutrition
More babies are conceived in December than any other month. What’s more, babies conceived in December have an increase likelihood of being healthy babies at birth. If you are trying for a family, then fingers crossed that this is your month. With December a time for socialising and food, make sure you are eating the right foods to increases your chances.
For women, the nutrients proven to increase your chances of conception are folate, vitamin B12 and omega 3s. Men will benefit from an increase in antioxidant consumption and a reduction of saturated and trans fats. Both parties will benefit from eating a Mediterranean style diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish and olive oil.
The following foods are often available at Christmas and are good sources of the nutrients needed:
Vegetables especially dark green leafy vegetables including Brussel sprouts
Nuts including walnuts for omega 3s
Eggs – try starting your Christmas day with smoked salmon and scrambled egg for a good source of vitamin B12 and omega 3s. Make the toast wholegrain for added nutrients.
Poultry – your Christmas turkey is a great source of vitamin B12 and zinc which may increase sperm count
Salmon, smoked salmon and mackerel pate are all good sources of omega 3s. Aim for 1 portion of oily fish per week.
Fruits including citrus fruits are a great source of flavonoids, antioxidants that are thought to improve fertility.
If you are trying to conceive you should already be taking folic acid supplements which are the synthetic form of folate (400mcg per day). If you have diabetes or a family history of neural tube defects then speak with your GP about the folic acid dose you should be taking.
In the winter months, everyone is now advised to take 10mcg vitamin D per day. Make sure you are both taking yours as this may also improve your chances of conceiving.
For those not wishing to conceive, I cannot advise that doing the opposite will protect you from this! Merry Christmas!