One of the most important things you can do when you are preparing to start or grow your family, is to follow a healthy pre-pregnancy diet and lifestyle.
Read this article to learn: What to eat (and what not to eat) when planning for pregnancy, an example diet plan, plus other pre-pregnancy considerations. Let’s get started.
Here is a list of what to eat and why:
1. Full-fat dairy
The risk of ovulatory infertility is decreased by 27% for women who eat full-fat dairy at least once daily. Try full-fat cheese, yogurt and whole milk. As dairy products are high in calcium, it is essential for the developing of the fetus’ skeleton. You should start increasing your calcium as soon as possible, as it takes quite a while to raise calcium levels. Yogurt also contains probiotics which are essential to boost the immune system. Another option is to buy all natural probiotic supplements. Authority Reports is great if you’re looking for an independent review site which evaluates a wide variety of products to determine which are the most effective.
2. Leafy greens
Greens like Swiss chard, kale and spinach are excellent sources of folate – which helps to prevent defects during the early stages of fetal development.
Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries contain a lot of phytonutrients (which help to fight disease) and vitamin C (which is necessary for strengthening membranes and proper collagen formation).
Oysters contain very high levels of zinc which is very important for sexual growth and maturation. Deficiencies in zinc can impede development and growth, delay sexual maturation and hamper female and male fertility.
4. Red Meat
A lot of women of reproductive age seem to be iron-deficient which can be quite dangerous in early pregnancy. Try leaner varieties of red meat or grass-fed beef. Combine it with tomato sauce (which contains Vitamin C) for better iron absorption.
What NOT to eat and drink and why:
It is said that as little as 200mg of caffeine per day can increase your risk of miscarriage and decrease your chance of conception.
While trying to conceive, decrease the amount of alcohol you drink, especially if you are going through fertility treatment. The beginning stages of pregnancy (when you don’t even know you’re pregnant yet) are some of the most important stages in fetal development. The baby’s nervous system is forming during this time and alcohol should be avoided to prevent birth defects.
3. Unpasteurized Cheese or Milk
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria, an infection that may be caused by soft cheeses such as blue cheese, feta and Brie. Listeria may result in serious health problems, stillbirth or even miscarriage. Also stay away from luncheon meats and hot dogs, as they may also cause listeria.
4. Tilefish, King Mackerel, Swordfish and Shark
These types of fish have some of the highest concentrations of mercury, which is quite harmful to the unborn baby. These fish should, therefore, not be eaten when trying to conceive. Other fish are safe and essential to eat, as they contain important omega-3 fatty acids. Low-mercury fish such as tilapia, tuna and wild salmon can often be eaten in 6-ounce servings. Just make sure that your fish is cooked thoroughly to prevent bacterial exposure.
Fertility Diet Plan Menu Example
- Breakfast: Whole milk yogurt (plain) with berries and a handful of plain nuts.
- Snack: Cut veggies and hummus
- Lunch: Salmon on sourdough bread with steamed broccoli.
- Snack: Oatcakes with nut butter
- Dinner: Roast chicken, potatoes and steamed veggies.
See also Miso-Glazed Salmon with Asian Greens
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with full cream milk and cinnamon.
- Snack: Apple and a handful of sunflower seeds.
- Lunch: Salad with baby spinach, colourful veggies, cubed cheese, chopped nuts and a homemade dressing.
- Snack: Raspberries and almonds.
- Dinner: Grilled steak with steamed veggies and real butter.
- Breakfast: Kefir or yogurt smoothie – ½ cup kefir, frozen berries, banana and nut
butter of choice.
- Snack: Yogurt and berries.
- Lunch: Chicken sandwich with lettuce and homemade mayo.
- Snack: Apple and cubed cheese.
- Dinner: Grilled salmon, baked potato with real butter and steamed veggies.
Now that you know what foods to eat when trying to get pregnant and what not to eat, you might also consider other non-food related pre-pregnancy planning. Here is a list of what else to consider, beyond diet, for the mum and dad-to-be:
1. Maintain a healthy body weight
Being either underweight or overweight stresses the body. This further also impairs fertility and ovulation, interrupts menstrual cycles and disturbs healthy hormone production.
2. Start moving
Moderate physical activity is excellent if you are trying to get pregnant. It optimizes your
reproductive system and increases metabolism. Around 45 minutes of moderate exercise is
recommended most days of the week.
3. Reduce toxins in your home and life
Chemicals that we are exposed to can be pass through our to offspring, and can even cross generations. This can unfortunately have a mutli-generational effect on health and fertility. Learn more here.
What pre-pregnancy tips do you have? Help the thousands of women visiting this site each month by sharing them in the comment section below.
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