DETROIT -

The dream of having a healthy baby starts long before the infant is brought home.
Rebecca Brandt knows that. She and her husband have been trying to conceive for four months.
"I'm approaching my mid 30s now, been married for just under two years, and it's something that my husband and I really want," Brandt said.

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She got a check up - and is now making a conscious effort to eat the foods her body needs right now to help make a baby.
The website WhatToExpect.com has narrowed down the key foods to help women and men up their baby making odds.
They include minerals - starting with three servings of calcium a day.

And it's not just in milk and cheese - broccoli, soy products and leafy green veggies have it, too.

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Dr. Joseph Walsh is UConn Health Center's Chief of Obstetrics, who encourages overall good health for optimum fertility.

"Calcium is good for the person and for the baby because it's a key component of bone. it also is involved in muscle contraction and the nervous system as well."
Another mineral for women is manganese, which is required for reproductive health. You can find it in things like spinach, carrots, whole grains, nuts and bananas.


Zinc is good for women and men. Zinc-rich food include meats, almonds, yogurt, eggs, and cooked shellfish. It's double duty when men eat oysters - an aphrodisiac - and full of zinc! It helps with sperm production.

Pomegranate juice and pumpkin seeds boost sperm count. And studies show that the more produce a man consumes - the more active his sperm is.
“Being overweight can cause menstrual dysfunction and poor egg production, so it can lower your chance of getting pregnant,” said Walsh.
Then there's caffeine. While Dr. Walsh does not believe it impairs fertility, he does recommend cutting back.

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There's some evidence suggesting if you have over 200 milligrams a day, which is 2 or 3 strong cups of coffee you have an increased miscarriage rate, although even that is controversial.

He says cigarette smoking is also a no-no. It can also cause problems with sperm and affect the woman. And alcohol is also a known toxin.

"We know it causes birth defects so while you're trying to get pregnant you might want to cut back because most people don't know when they become pregnant," he said.