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Let’s face it, many of us do not start thinking about how to optimize our health for conception until we are already trying. I’ve been there! Even as a pelvic floor physical therapist, I was only partially listening to my own advice when I was trying to conceive the first time. Sure I started my prenatal and continued exercising, but that was about it – I know I know, I’m my own worst patient.
But the second time around I’m taking my own advice and better preparing my body – especially with all of the mental and physical stress that has accompanied this year. If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, then you will know 2023 has been an especially difficult year with the passing of my mother and handling all that comes after the death of a parent. High cortisol (stress hormone) levels have a whole host of negative effects on muscle growth and might even contribute to suppression of your luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers ovulation. It’s safe to say that tuning into your own body will do wonders for your own health. Let’s dive into five types of supplements to consider taking while trying to conceive!
Without getting too into the weeds of medical terminology, Coenzyme10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body that helps convert food into energy for your cells as well as protect your cells against damage. A systematic review and meta-analysis from 2020 looked at the supplementation of CoQ10 in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology and found a significant increase in clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) in those taking anywhere from 180 to 1200 mg of CoQ10 per day. While there is still not an agreed upon recommended daily value, the research does support the statement that CoQ10 helps to support egg health – and we all want that!
Here are two options for supplementing with CoQ10. I personally have taken the Perelel Conception Support Pack for ease and convenience.
Perelel Conception Support Pack – 50mg of CoQ10
Needed CoQ10 – 200mg of CoQ10
To be honest, whether you are trying to conceive or not, you should be taking a probiotic! Many factors affect gut health such as stress, medications, diet, and alcohol, so a little extra help from a probiotic likely will only help.
But let’s talk specifically about taking a probiotic while preparing for and during pregnancy. Aside from improving general gut health, probiotics can help to reduce the colonization of GBS (Group B Strep) during pregnancy. If you are unfamiliar with GBS, it is a bacteria that is commonly found in the urinary tract, reproductive tract and digestive system of our bodies, but may come and go without notice.
While GBS does not typically cause significant harmful effects in adults, it can be more dangerous to a newborn who contracts the bacteria within the first 3 months of life. Newborns are more likely to contract the bacteria at birth if their mother’s are GBS positive towards the end of pregnancy. At week 36 of your pregnancy you will be tested for GBS with a simple vaginal swab and if you test positive, your provider will have to receive antibiotics during your labor to help reduce the chances of your newborn contracting GBS.
There is good news! A systematic review from 2022 showed that supplementing with a probiotic, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, can help to reduce GBS colonization, which is why I personally recommend taking one all throughout pregnancy and even while trying to conceive!
Here are two probiotics I love and recommend. I have used them both!
Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all essential for proper hydration…not just water! In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about Tips For Hydration During Pregnancy And Postpartum that you might want to read.
It can be difficult to consume enough electrolytes through your regular diet and you need these electrolytes for your body’s fluid regulation, muscle contraction, and nerve communication carrying messages from your brain to the rest of your body. During pregnancy you lose more electrolytes than at any other time in your life, which is why I recommend introducing an electrolyte pack while trying to conceive.
Here is the link to my favorite brand of electrolytes because they are not too sugary or too salty.
Needed Hydration Support – The Lime is my personal favorite flavor.
If you have not heard of this powerful duo, don’t fret, most people have not unless they are working with a fertility specialist.
Myo-Inositial and D-Chiro Inositol are both Inositols which are sugars that help with fertility by improving the effectiveness of various hormones and insulin. They also have antioxidant properties to help improve egg quality and ovulatory function.
What’s interesting is that they are most beneficial for improving fertility when taken TOGETHER due to their synergistic effect. In fact, taking D-Chiro Inositol on its own is not beneficial for fertility, but Myo-Inositol taken independently may still have benefits.
The benefits of taking these two Inositols together on fertility are numerous:
In addition to improving your fertility, this dynamic duo has shown to reduce adverse pregnancy and neonatal events such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage, stillbirth, and neural tube defects.
If you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, I recommend adding both Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol to your daily routine at least 3-4 months prior to conceiving. I personally mix the powder in with my daily electrolyte pack to kill two birds with one stone!
Here is the supplement I take and recommend:
Last but not least, a prenatal vitamin. I think most people know that you should start taking a prenatal vitamin prior to conceiving, but if you didn’t – here is your friendly reminder!
It is recommended to start your prenatal 3-4 months before conceiving to help improve fetal health as the first few weeks of conception are the most important!
I personally have been taking the Perelel Conception Support pack because it includes a prenatal, CoQ10, Omega-3 and Folate – all of which are essential for fetal development.
Here are a few brands I know and trust.
Perelel Trimester Packs – I like these because they are pre-packaged and include a Prenatal, Omega 3, Folate and Anti-Nausea blend.
Needed Prenatal Powder – The powder form is a game changer in the 1st trimester when nausea is real.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are NUMEROUS and include:
Current guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week spread out across 5 days. If you want more detailed information about exercise during pregnancy, read this blog post I wrote on How Much Can You Exercise During Pregnancy. But what about exercise while trying to conceive? ACOG recommends the same amount of moderate intensity exercise while trying to conceive which includes strength training and moderate intensity cardio.
What is important to note is that TOO much vigorous exercise may negatively impact your fertility according to research showing that vigorous activity might impact ovulation which would thereby affect fertility. Vigorous exercise in this instance is defined as >60 minutes per day.
Now, I do not want to instill fear in anyone. If you are ovulating normally and recovering well while working out 60 minutes per day, then you are probably fine! But if you have noticed irregularities in your periods, constant muscle soreness and other signs of poor recovery, then you might want to consider restructuring your workouts.
Need a structured workout program that focuses on muscle growth without breaking down your body? My monthly workout subscription might be just what you need! You’ll receive 4 NEW workouts every week as well as an ever-growing library of mobility flows and pain relief flows to help you build your strength while trying to conceive. Click here for a free preview!
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