Whether you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, products are available to help maximize your reproductive health. At no time is nutritional support more important than during pregnancy. Good nutrition gives your growing baby the best chance of growing up strong and healthy. As always, you should get the advice of your doctor as to what supplements to take during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin with folate, iron and other essential nutrients like calcium.
Prenatal vitamins with DHA contain a balanced array of nutrients including folate, iron, and calcium that may be recommended during pregnancy. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that supports healthy fetal brain development and development of a baby's visual system. Cold water oily fish are rich food sources of DHA. Your doctor may suggest taking a prenatal vitamin with added DHA if you are unable or choose not to eat fish or other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some moms-to-be may need specialized nutritional support. During pregnancy, it's essential for moms to get enough folate. Also known as vitamin B9, folate may reduce the risk of birth defects called neural tube defects that can damage a baby's brain and spinal cord. Some women have problems converting folate to its active form. Methyl folate supplements contain an active form of folate that can be readily used by the body.
One of the most common problems women experience during pregnancy is morning sickness. Prenatal supplements with digestive support contain a full array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with a blend of peppermint and ginger that may help calm an upset stomach. More research is needed to prove the effectiveness of these products for symptoms associated with morning sickness.
For women who are trying to conceive, fertility formulas are available. These supplements are formulated with a blend of vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants that may support reproductive health and wellness while possibly helping to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.
Sometimes the composition of a woman's cervical mucus makes it harder for her to conceive. Supplements that combine vitamins and minerals important for fertility with an amino acid called L-arginine may help support reproductive function and promote healthy cervical mucus. L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide, a chemical that increases blood flow to reproductive organs. In addition, fertility supplements contain antioxidants that may reduce cellular damage. They also contain vitamins and minerals a woman needs for reproductive health. There's little doubt that good nutrition can have a positive impact on fertility. It is not certain if these supplements are effective in boosting fertility.
When used correctly and consistently, condoms are an inexpensive and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. They have the added benefit of lowering the risk for sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV, the virus that causes AIDs. Condoms are now available in several materials including ultra-thin latex for increased sensitivity and non-latex condoms. Non-latex condoms are ideal for couples that may have an allergy to latex. You can choose from condoms of various thicknesses and degrees of lubrication. Some condoms are textured or ribbed to maximize a woman's pleasure and sexual experience.
Optimizing Your Reproductive Health
No matter what your stage in life, there are sexual wellness products that may be able to help. If you're unsure which products are right for you, talk to your doctor.