DI­ETARY CHANGES BE­FORE YOU CON­CEIVE

The best foods you should eat be­fore con­ceiv­ing

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Me­lanie McGrice

One af­ter an­other your girl­friends are an­nounc­ing that they are ex­pect­ing a baby. The cof­fee catch-up con­ver­sa­tion has switched from how to cope with your han­gover to how to tell when you’re ovu­lat­ing. Now you’ve started fan­ta­sis­ing about hold­ing your own lit­tle one in your arms too. As a fer­til­ity and pre­na­tal di­eti­tian, one of the first things you should do when you’re think­ing about con­ceiv­ing, is to re­view your di­etary in­take be­fore you con­ceive. The rea­son this is so im­por­tant is that what you eat in the lead up to con­cep­tion and dur­ing preg­nancy can in­flu­ence your baby’s epi­ge­net­ics, which will then im­pact his or her health, well­be­ing and in­tel­li­gence for the rest of his or her life. It is worth­while to skip the cho­co­late and opt for the al­monds in­stead, so that you com­mence your di­etary changes be­fore you con­ceive.

FIVE SIM­PLE REC­OM­MEN­DA­TIONS FOR YOU TO START WITH IN­CLUDE: 1. Re­view your nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments.

As a di­eti­tian, I usu­ally pre­fer that peo­ple get most of their nu­tri­ents from food rather than sup­ple­ments BUT when it comes to fer­til­ity and preg­nancy, it’s very hard to meet the high lev­els of nu­tri­ents re­quired with­out them. I sug­gest that you speak to your lo­cal di­eti­tian to get in­di­vid­u­ally-tai­lored rec­om­men­da­tions, but as a min­i­mum you need some folic acid. Most women re­quire io­dine and vi­ta­min D as well.

2. En­sure you are eat­ing enough fish.

The omega 3 fats in fish are great for your egg health. Aim to eat low mer­cury, omega 3 rich fish such as salmon two to three times per week when you’re try­ing to con­ceive. Click here to learn about which fish are best to eat for fer­til­ity. Try to get into a weekly rou­tine by hav­ing ‘Fri­day fish night’ so that you know that you’re meet­ing your re­quire­ments.

3. Op­ti­mise your weight.

Be­ing over­weight or un­der­weight can sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact your pro­duc­tion of the hor­mone oe­stro­gen which goes on to im­pact your ovu­la­tion fre­quency and con­se­quently, your chances of con­cep­tion. In fact, about 30% of in­fer­til­ity is thought to be due to oe­stro­gen im­bal­ance. Los­ing or gain­ing weight can take a while so if you’re plan­ning to con­ceive in the next year, it’s some­thing that you may need to start work­ing on now. Avoid fad di­et­ing or binge­ing, in­stead aim to op­ti­mise your weight in a healthy way.

4. Space your meals.

Many women I see in my prac­tice, skip meals. I know it can be dif­fi­cult, but try to eat small, reg­u­lar meals through­out the day. This helps to op­ti­mise your in­sulin lev­els, which then im­pacts other fer­til­ity

hor­mones to have a big im­pact on your like­li­hood of a stress-free con­cep­tion.

5. Eat a nu­tri­ent-rich diet.

Re­search shows that fol­low­ing a nu­tri­en­trich fer­til­ity diet can boost your fer­til­ity by up to 69%. Your diet should be packed full of nour­ish­ing foods such as whole­grains, lean pro­teins, fruit and veg­eta­bles. Min­imise your in­take of high kilo­joule snacks such as chips, bis­cuits and cho­co­late and fo­cus on eat­ing foods which will nour­ish your body – as it will soon be the home to your grow­ing baby. If you’re plan­ning to con­ceive, down­load your free fer­til­ity meal plan to help plan your di­etary changes be­fore you con­ceive. Me­lanie McGrice is a fer­til­ity and pre­na­tal di­eti­tian who runs the YouTube chan­nel Nour­ish With Me­lanie and Nutri­tion Plus women’s clin­ics. She has cre­ated a free fer­til­ity meal plan to help all women have ac­cess to a nu­tri­tious fer­til­ity diet.

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