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  • Writer's pictureTracy Davies

Preconception Nutrition

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Taking the time to look at ways to improve your health in the preconception stage will not only give you the best chance of conceiving, but also make those healthy changes easier to stick to once you do get pregnant. Remember perfection is not the key, consistency is! Small changes made during this period can make all the difference to both you, your partner and your future babies health.

Preconception Nutrition Tips:

Evaluation of current eating habits

Evaluating your current food choices (how, when, what and why you eat) is a great way to identify changes that to need to be made in relation to dietary and lifestyle habits. It can also help identify habits we may have developed towards food, as well as nutritional gaps that need to be addressed, in order to ensure you are in the best shape for conception & pregnancy.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Both fruit and vegetables are a key source of fibre, as well as providing important vitamins and minerals to the body, which is crucial during conception and pregnancy. Aiming to eat around 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fresh fruit per day, will go a long way to providing you with key nutrients required during this crucial time.

Limiting pre-packaged and processed foods

Pre-packaged and processed foods contribute little nutritional value to diets, and comprise high quantities of sugar, fat, and salt. Examples include, white bread, pasta, rice, cookies, cakes, pastries, pizza, chips, fried foods etc. Stick with whole foods which are nutrient dense, such as lean sources of protein, healthy fats and wholegrains, which contain more fibre, protein, vitamins & minerals, and are digested more slowly – keeping you fuller for longer!

Reduce caffeine

While most of us need our morning coffee fix, too much caffeine has been linked to lowered fertility. Getting your caffeine addiction under control in the preconception stage will also support a healthy pregnancy, as too much is not good for you or your future baby. Recommendations advise women to limit their daily caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg a day (approx. 2 cups of coffee) whilst trying to conceive.

Quit smoking

Quitting and avoiding second-hand smoke not only improves your own health but can increase your chances of getting pregnant, reducing the likelihood of birth defects, miscarriages, low birth weight and other health-related problems.

Cut out alcohol

Alcohol can negatively impact conception and the health of a developing baby. Large amounts of alcohol can potentially affect period regularity, ovulation and lead to fertility problems, making it difficult to conceive. If possible, try to avoid alcohol during the fertility phase, remembering that it is not forever!

Eat regular meals

Research shows that your diet can affect your baby's health long before you conceive. Getting into the habit of eating healthy meals at regular times will ensure your body (and future baby's) are obtaining the nutrients required to support conception and pregnancy at appropriate times throughout the day, supporting optimum health.

Supplementation support for preconception care

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need to support conception and future pregnancies. However, higher amounts of particular vitamins and minerals are necessary during the preconception phase which are best taken in a supplement form. Folic acid, for example, is recommended to help prevent birth defects. If you are planning a pregnancy, it is recommended that you increase your daily intake of folic acid for at least one month prior to pregnancy, continuing through the first tw trimesters of pregnancy. Look for a daily supplement containing 0.5 mg of folic acid.

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