This is a guest post from midwife Shannon Staloch. Shannon Staloch is a mother to three homebirthed children, a midwife and lactation consultant. She blogs at www.birthrite.me, where you can also find her Preconception course.
When you want to conceive, you’ll try anything to make it happen. Simultaneously, you will down herbs that taste like compost, do a headstand (because it delivers circulation to ‘ze ovaries), chant affirmations about your self worth, and of course, look hot for your partner at just the right time of the month.
I’ve been there, and then some. In my mid twenties, I tried everything to get pregnant. I even sacrificed a cow. And then, one fine May morning, there was nothing, no sign of a dejected egg, and I knew I was pregnant. Spring had sprung in my house. It may have been the headstands, it may have been the tear soaked prayers (it certainly was the One Who Hears!), or it may have been the cow. It was probably everything.
I wish I could go back to my self, eight years ago, and offer a heaping spoonful of cod liver oil. I’m thinking it would have shaved three months minimum off of my baby longing. Just a guess.
Wrapped up in the little liver of a cod fish, is a whopping dose of vitamins A & D. These two fat soluble vitamins form the foundation to a nutrient dense diet, for without them, your body cannot absorb the minerals contained in your diet. So even a diet full of fruits and vegetables can literally be starved for nutrients. When the famous dentist, Weston A. Price, traveled the world to learn about the diets of non-industrialized peoples, he found that their diets contained a whopping four times the amount of Vitamin A & D as American diets.
Not only that, these peoples would go to great lengths to procure fish eggs, fish heads, and other seafood to feed women in their childbearing years. What did they instinctively know about these foods?
For one, they contained large amounts of Vitamins A & D. They likely observed that the young women and men who consumed these foods not only conceived faster, but had healthy pregnancies, smooth births, and quick recoveries postpartum. How do I know that? Because as a midwife for over ten years, I’ve observed it too.
The mothers in my practice whose diets contain large amounts of foods rich in Vitamins A & D do conceive quickly, have healthy pregnancies, and smooth births.
There are many foods rich in Vitamins A and D, but cod liver oil packs a quick punch. It can be seen as a nutritional insurance policy. When you are unable to source out high quality foods, cod liver oil easily provides you with enough Vitamin A and D to make up for it. And when you’re trying to achieve optimal fertility, you will swallow the fishy tasting oil with great abandon. And so will your partner.
Cod Liver Oil supports fertility by:
- Provide the basis for optimal hormone expression.
- Helps with sperm production – and sperm quality – by protecting sperm from environmental toxins.
- Differentiates fetal cells. Before you even know you are pregnant, the fetus is developing lungs, a heart, kidneys, etc. A diet rich in Vitamin A ensures that these early fetal cells know where to go, and develop properly.
- The fatty acids in cod liver oil assist with hormone production in both men and women, and can alleviate mild depression, often a factor in conception difficulties.
There are so many factors that go into a successful conception, but nutrition may be the most important. Once the nutritional stage for fertility is set, it can continue on and provide you and your family with beautiful babies. If you’re interested in learning more about Preconception, hop on over to my website and check out my Preconception course, where we talk about cod liver oil and standing on your head, and other ways to maximize fertility!
Green Pasture – The best cod liver oil!
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care – So much information on the role of nutrition in the childbearing years.
Real Food for Mother and Baby – Essential reading for conceiving!