It’s fast becoming standard practice for docs to advise couples (yup – both mums and dads-to-be ) to prepare their bodies before they try to conceive. Not only will improving diet and general lifestyle habits maximise chances of falling pregnant, but a healthy start will also mean a healthy environment for baby to develop to its fullest potential.
Fitpregnancy.com lists the top food categories you should be focusing on if you’re planning to start a family.
1. Folic Acid
According to Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, author of The Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, “If you plan on getting pregnant any time in the next year you want to make sure your diet is rich in folic acid and that you’re proactive about that now”. Alongside a prenatal vitamin, you can also up your intake of folic acid with foods like fortified whole grains, fortified cereals, vegetables, and citrus fruits.
2. High-Quality Proteins
One fertility-based study found that a higher-protein, lower carb diet improved pregnant rates. Whole eggs and egg whites are excellent sources of complete proteins with all the essential amino acids, as are white meat poultry, and fish, especially those rich in omega-3, like salmon.
Veggie options include beans and legumes – which are incidentally also rich in iron, an important nutrient for healthy pregnancies.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Not only are omega-3s a brilliant way to boost baby’s brain development, they’re also great to help balance mum’s hormone levels – making it easier to conceive. Think chia seeds, flax seeds (or oil) and up to two servings of oily fish per week.
To refer to another study, women consuming a serving of whole milk each day reportedly decreased their chances of a certain kind of infertility. Dairy also increases calcium and the all-important protein levels.
5. Fruits and Veggies
This is an obvious one, and so easy to incorporate into every snack and meal of the day. Fruits and veggies provide a host of essential nutrients and antioxidants and help decrease inflammation in the body. The rule of thumb is to go for a rainbow of colour to ensure you get a good spread of all the vitamins fresh produce has to offer.