Getting pregnant: diet and pro-baby substances

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The partner is the right one, the job is stable, the house is in place: there are no more obstacles and, indeed, it is the right time to try to have that child you have wanted for a while. Once the contraceptive is stopped, however, the months pass and - perhaps thanks to the age that is no longer very young - the pregnancy does not arrive. L'preconceptional nutrition can it help maybe?

For many couples, the next step is to turn to medically assisted reproduction techniques, which however are not always successful, adding frustration to frustration.

What to do then, when the pregnancy does not arrive?

A possible answer comes from the book The secret of fertility (Sperling & Kupfer, 2022), published by Stefania Piloni, gynecologist expert in complementary medicines, and Simonetta Basso, journalist. A book with the stated aim of helping couples in difficulty to "enhance the gift of procreation, without losing sight of theindividual harmony and the understanding of relationship ", with a series of very detailed advice on lifestyle, supplements and" sweet "medicines, such as phytotherapy and acupuncture, which can help.

Without forgetting that fertility is a characteristic that must be taken care of throughout life, avoiding as much as possible substances and situations that could put it at risk, such as cigarette smoking or sexually transmitted infections.

Read also: How to get pregnant: 13 tips to increase fertility

Among the various suggestions, the authors devote ample space to those relating to pro-baby substances: vitamins, minerals and more capable of lending a hand to the ability to conceive and carry on a pregnancy. They are substances that are generally taken safely with the diet - as long as it is varied and balanced, of a Mediterranean type - but which in some cases they can be integrated with supplements. Obviously always on the advice of fertility specialists. Let's see what substances it is.

In this article

  • Vitamin B6 is folate
  • Vitamin C:
  • Carotenoids
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Inisitolo
  • Iodine
  • Omega 3 and Omega 6
  • Selenium
  • taurine and zinc
  • The importance of the Mediterranean diet

Vitamin B6 is folate

A shortage of Vitamin B6 it could affect the implantation of the egg and the development of the placenta. THE folate (vitamin B6) reduce the risk of certain congenital malformations of the fetus such as spina bifida and appear to increase the chance of getting pregnant. They are also important for man, for one effective spermatogenesis.

Foods with vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is found in particular in some foods of animal origin:

  • eggs,
  • milk,
  • cheeses,
  • chicken and turkey meat,
  • liver, brewer's yeast,
  • Whole grains,
  • Wheat germ oil,
  • spinach, lentils.

Foods rich in folate

Instead, they are rich in folate:

  • leafy vegetables,
  • artichokes,
  • asparagus,
  • broccoli,
  • cabbage and cauliflower,
  • legumes,
  • Whole grains,
  • some fruits such as oranges, avocados, kiwis and strawberries,
  • seafood.

The importance of folic acid supplementation

However, all women seeking pregnancy (or not ruling out having one) should get one folic acid supplement for a few months prior to conception.

Read also: Folic acid, very important for pregnancy

Vitamin C:

As Piloni and Basso write, this vitamin plays a leading role in safeguard the genetic material of eggs and spermatozoa from damage caused by oxidative stress.

Foods with Vitamin C

It is found in:

  • citrus fruits,
  • kiwi,
  • strawberries,
  • raspberries,
  • blueberries,
  • grape juice,
  • peppers,
  • rocket and green leafy vegetables,

but a little in all fruit and vegetables.

Carotenoids: beta-carotene and lycopene

There are strongly antioxidant plant pigments. In women, they help the endometrium to accommodate a possible pregnancy, while in men they protect the sperm from the aggression of free radicals.

Il betacarotene colors all the vegetables yellow-orange, while the lycopene it is found mainly in tomatoes, but more in sauces and concentrates than in raw vegetables. To absorb it better, the ideal is season the sauce with a drizzle of raw oil (fat makes lycopene more absorbable).

Vitamin D

Piloni and Basso remind us that low levels of vitamin D interfere with fertility to varying degrees.

Foods with vitamin D.

This vitamin is present in small concentrations in foods, especially in animal ones (liver, fatty fish such as salmon, milk, egg yolk), but it can be synthesized through exposure of the body to the sun. As a result, all women who spend most of the day indoors are at risk of deficiency.

Vitamin E

It is the main antioxidant, present in many cell membranes, and is very important especially for spermatozoa.

Foods with vitamin E

The best sources are:

  • the vegetable oils such as extra virgin olive oil or peanuts, soy, corn and sunflower,
  • wheat germ,
  • the seeds,
  • the walnuts,
  • almonds,
  • hazelnuts,
  • whole grains,
  • the basil
  • and turnip greens.

It is present in a fair amount:

  • in asparagus,
  • in avocado,
  • in tomatoes,
  • in green leafy vegetables
  • and in berries.


Iron in foods of animal origin

Various foods of animal origin are rich in the most absorbable form, which is called iron-eme. It is about:

  • egg yolk,
  • tuna fish,
  • cod and salmon,
  • but mostly meat (red and lean, or white).

Iron in foods of plant origin

Iron is also present in foods of plant origin such as:

  • Whole grains,
  • legumes,
  • dried fruit (apricots, figs)
  • and dark leafy vegetables (radicchio in primis).

The present one is however the non-heme form, less absorbable. For this, it would be better to take these foods along with foods rich in vitamin C (the classic spinach with lemon, for example), which facilitates its assimilation. Instead, it is better to avoid pairing it with foods and drinks that hinder it such as cheeses, tea, coffee, wine, chocolate.


Vitamin analogue substance capable of normalize ovulation, both in the presence of polycystic ovary both - it seems - in physiological conditions over the age of 38-40. And some studies suggest it can also improve male fertility.

In which foods is inositol found

"Its deficiency is rare because it can count on excellent and various food sources" write Piloni and Basso. We find it in:

  • brewer's yeast,
  • egg yolk,
  • Whole grains
  • and, above all, fruit (oranges, strawberries, bananas and nuts);
  • It is also present in offal (liver).
Read also: Inositol, a fertility aid


It is the fundamental constituent of thyroid hormones, and its deficiency puts the functionality of this gland at risk, which could compromise the well-being of mother and baby during pregnancy.

In food it is quite scarce (except for fish, crustaceans and algae), but to be sure to take adequate quantities just use iodized salt. To get ready for gestation, this salt should be used for at least two years before conception.

Omega 3 and Omega 6

Omega 3

- Omega 3 they are important for hormone production, reduce inflammation and help modulate the immune system. "On the male front - we read in The Secret of Fertility - there is a improvement of all seminal fluid parameters in men who consume foods that are rich in it. "They are also essential in the first months of pregnancy for proper development of the nervous system of the fetus.

They are found in:

  • seafood products,
  • algae,
  • fish oils,
  • flax and pumpkin seeds
  • and nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts).

"For a correct refueling it is enough to consume 2 or 3 portions of fish (of small size to avoid heavy metals) the week, plus a few walnuts or almonds during the day, without exaggerating for the high caloric content of oil seeds ".

Omega 6

- Omega 6 they favor the ability to fuse spermatozoa and egg cells and, once fertilization has taken place, also the implantation of the embryo. They are typical of vegetable oils as:

  • linen,
  • but,
  • soy
  • and sunflower.


It is a close associate of vitamin E in the prevent damage from oxidative stress. It is indispensable for quality and number of spermatozoa, while in women one of its deficiencies is associated with the risk of abortion.

Foods with selenium

It is found in:

  • fish and shellfish,
  • in offal,
  • in wheat germ,
  • in Brazil nuts,
  • in wholemeal bread and rice,
  • in oats.

taurine and zinc


It is a very useful amino acid for the heart and for the male fertility (through effects on testosterone).

It occurs naturally in foods of animal origin:

  • fish,
  • meat,
  • eggs
  • and dairy products.

But in the vegan diet its deficiency is compensated by presence of legumes, rich in two amino acids that are precursors.


It is a very important mineral for many cellular reactions and is essential for the correct activity of many hormones, including sexual ones and insulin. It seems to favor the quality of the oocytes, but it is especially important for the sperm maturation and mobility.

Among the foods richest in zinc are:

  • oysters (not surprisingly considered aphodisiac food),
  • beef, sheep and pork,
  • the mushrooms,
  • he cocoa,
  • the walnuts,
  • cereals
  • and the egg yolk.

The list of all these substances may perhaps be frightening. Some may wonder if it is really possible to recover them all with the power only. Don't worry: in most cases, the answer is yes. Provided, of course, that it is a balanced and very varied diet.


The Mediterranean diet is GOOD. Here because

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The more Mediterranean you eat, the longer you live. Also, those who eat "med" get sick less. This diet protects against various diseases: cardiovascular ones before ...

Mediterranean diet, but for real

The winning model, Piloni and Basso recall, is undoubtedly that of the Mediterranean diet. The important thing, however, is that it is truly such. In practice, this means focusing on:

  • preferably whole grains and pseudo-cereals (not only wheat, but also rice, barley, spelled, rye, oats, corn, quinoa, amarando), which are rich in vitamins and minerals and ensure a good amount of fiber;
  • lots of fruit and vegetables, of different colors, to guarantee the fullness of vitamins, minerals and pigments. It is essential to vary the palette of colors in the dish: the yellow orange of pumpkin and carrots, the red of tomato and strawberries, the green of spinach and broccoli, the white of cauliflower and fennel, the purple of cabbage and blueberries. Piloni and Basso recommend giving preference seasonal products, possibly coming from organic or integrated pest management crops and kilometer zero. In the kitchen, however, better avoid aggressive cooking, such as prolonged boiling and frying;
  • protein from fonti differentthe. Meat, especially white meat, is fine 3 or 4 times a week, but the protein shouldn't just come from there. Other fundamental sources must be the fish, which has the advantage of not containing saturated fat, ei vegetable. To be rediscovered, especially in combination with cereals. The authors also underline that to make the most of proteins, "it is better to distribute them equally throughout the day and not, as is often done, concentrate them in the evening meal, forgetting them completely in the morning". The ideal proportion instead provides a third for breakfast, a third for lunch and a third for dinner;
  • Good fats. The excess of fats in the diet, and in particular the excess of saturated fats, contained in red meats, butter, cheeses, palm oil, is an enemy of fertility. So, if the maximum intake of fat in the diet is 30%, only 10% can be covered by the saturated ones. The remaining share is thick with unsaturated fats, especially omega 3 from fish and omega 6 from walnuts, linseed and linseed and sunflower oil.
  • Wine? Little or nothing. a glass of wine every now and then is certainly not a drama, but if the search for a baby becomes difficult it would be better to give up. In fact, we have seen, the authors write, that "three glasses of wine a week are enough to reduce the chances of success of a woman who undergoes MAP by 18%. In men, on the other hand, alcohol would negatively affect the quality of the semen. , an effect all the more evident the more frequent and abundant the intake is ". Other research suggests that excessive consumption could impair the proper functioning of the glands that regulate the production of sex hormones.

  • fertility
  • sterility
  • infertility
  • diet
  • supplements
  • natural medicines
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