Alternatively Speaking: One for my baby

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: Are there herbs that can help me and my partner boost fertility?

Pregnant woman does yoga in New York 370 (R) (photo credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)
Pregnant woman does yoga in New York 370 (R)
(photo credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)
Q. Dear Natalie, me and my husband have been trying to get pregnant for over 6 months. Are there any specific foods which we should be eating more or less of to help increase my fertility.
A.  Fertility depends on a variety of factors, including the vitamins and minerals you eat. In my experience there are several foods you can include in your diet to help increase fertility. Including more spinach has an excellent impact upon improving your fertility naturally. Packed with iron, spinach plays a vital role in female fertility. The journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology" (November 2006) published a report proving a correlation between increased iron intake and a decrease in infertility due to ovulation problems. One half cup serving of cooked spinach provides 20 percent of the daily recommended intake of iron.
Spinach is also high in folic acid, a compound which has also been found to improve sperm quality. A report published in "Fertility and Sterility" journal (2009) proves that folic acid increases ejaculate volume and also benefits the stability of DNA in sperm.
Try snacking on pumpkin seeds to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of zinc. Women need 12 mg of zinc per day and men should get 15 mg of zinc on a daily basis. It is suggested that men should eat pumpkin seeds to improve chances of pregnancy in their partners. It is the antioxidants minerals in zinc that improve sperm quality and fertility. Zinc also plays a role in ovulation in women as well, which will of course have a positive effect on their fertility.
I highly recommend lentils as one of the best foods you can eat to help you increase fertility. A single cup of lentils provides you with 357 mcg of folic acid. Since we know how effective folic acid is in fertility it is also believed to significantly decrease the risk of having ovulation problems, increasing chances of conception.
Try to decrease your meat intake while you are trying to get pregnant and instead replace it with protein from plant-based sources such as beans. Try to aim for 70 g to 80 g of protein per day for optimal fertility. Beans actually serve as a rich source of iron that promotes fertility.
Grapefruit has many benefits for reproductive health. It provides good sources of iron and folate, which are important especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Some of my women clients have reported that drinking grapefruit juice changes the consistency of cervical mucus, making it thinner. This is in fact an optimal environment for sperm to travel, thereby increasing the chances of fertilization.Q. Dear Natalie, how do you treat couples that come to you to help them become pregnant?
A. With over eight years of experience, I have become an expert in infertility programs. I have seen how the fertility process can drain you completely and the impact it has on your body, relationships, and life in ways that are profound, not only for your fertility, but for you and your partners overall wellbeing. 
As part of your treatment program, you will benefit and learn effective treatments and techniques to reduce the impact of this stress and learn exactly which herbs and vitamins you and your partner need. In addition to this naturopathic approach, I also offer an integrated treatment plan to help enhance your chances of conception including a combination of reflexology, homeopathy and flower remedies created specifically for the individual.
Q. Dear Natalie, are there any herbs which can help me and my partner boost our fertility?
A. There are indeed many infertile couples who I treat with herbs and herbal remedies to improve their fertility and increase their chances of conceiving. One highly effective herbal treatment for infertility in the female is Vitex, also known as Chasteberry or Agnus Castus. This miracle plant works to lengthen the luteal phase for women who have a shortened luteal phase - the period between ovulation and the start of menstruation—and this therefore increases the chances of implantation of a fertilized egg. It is also one of the number one herbs that increase fertility by regulating hormone levels. This herb increases the production of progesterone and lowers the production of prolactin, both of which increase fertility in the female. For women who don't ovulate regularly or who have irregular menstrual cycles, I use this herb as an excellent female tonic. It can induce ovulation and regulate a woman's cycles.
Another excellent herb is Evening Primrose Oil since a common cause of infertility in the female can be due to the lack of fertile cervical fluid. It is the cervical fluid which makes it easier for sperm to survive and actually reach the egg to fertilize. Evening primrose oil causes the female to produce or increase her production of fertile cervical fluid. To help regulate hormonal levels in the woman try red clover, stinging nettle, raspberry leaf and dong quai. Red clover can help make the uterus more hospitable for conception and Dong quai can increase the chances of implantation of a fertilized egg. If your partner has poor sperm quality, he should try herbs such as flaxseed oil, ginseng and astralagus which can all increase sperm production and improve sperm quality.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.To book a free 15 minute consultation with Natalie, please email She will advise which treatment is best for your individual needs; Reflexology, Homeopathy, Massage or Flower Remedies including nutritional advice. There is no obligation to book a treatment following the free consultation.