If you are trying to conceive, you must have come across every other person you meet suggesting the food to eat or things to do to ensure pregnancy. But too many suggestions are difficult to keep track of. There must be a thousand questions running through your mind: What should I eat? What should my ideal weight be? What is healthy for the baby? Worry not! We have mapped out everything you need to know about your pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan to assist a healthy conception.
Women trying to conceive are recommended to eat food rich in antioxidants like folic acid and zinc. Such food is known to deactivate the free radicals in the body which damages the gametes. Folic acid has vitamins which reduce the baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects thus, reducing the incidence of heart attacks, cancer, strokes, and diabetes.
Food to eat: Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, nuts, citrus fruits, whole grains, legumes, cereals etc. One can also take prenatal vitamins or a supplement to increase folic acid intake.
(What to Eat to Get Pregnant: Conception Diet, 2020)
Omega 3S is beneficial for the baby’s eye development while reducing your risk of preterm birth, preeclampsia and depression. Moreover, your body does not make Omega 3S which is why it is more important to consume food rich in the same.
Food to eat: Coldwater fatty fish like salmon, low mercury fish such as tuna, shrimp or catfish.
(Trying to Conceive - North County Health Services, 2020)
Consumption of low-fat dairy products enhances the chances of getting pregnant as it reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility. If you are trying to conceive, it is recommended to have at least one or two servings of whole milk in a day to ensure your calcium and protein intake.
Fruits and Vegetables
Studies have found that watermelon and asparagus are essential for the supply of glutathione in the body which has a direct impact on the egg quality. Pineapple, on the other hand, is rich in beta-carotene, which keeps your hormones at a steady level and helps to prevent miscarriage. Moreover, it has bromelain which supports implantation because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet are cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables etc. which provide the essential nutrients and antioxidants to decrease inflammation in the body. Kale contains elements necessary for estrogen metabolism.
You may prepare fresh fruit or vegetable juices like that of goji berries which contain phytochemicals beneficial for fertility. It is a good idea to roast vegetables in high heat for some time without water to avoid any nutrient loss. (17 Natural Ways to Boost Fertility, 2020)
While trying to conceive, it is important to ensure that you include fibre in your diet. This is because fibre reduces excess hormones and keeps your blood sugar level balanced. On average, a woman is recommended to have 25 gms of fibre per day. This would help in the reduction of ovulatory infertility among women older than 32 years.
Food to eat: Avocados, sweet potatoes, fruits, oats, whole grains, beans etc.
It goes without saying that the intake of the due amount of water can be quite helpful to avoid any hassle during conception. Water helps to thin out cervical mucus making it easier for the sperm to reach the egg cells. Moreover, it carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells, tissues and organs.
What else should I look for?
While a nutritious and balanced diet is vital to maintain healthy fertility, you would also need to keep a track of your weight. A pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan is essential for this. What may not be of common knowledge is the fact that obesity or being overweight significantly reduces the chances of being pregnant and having a healthy baby. Here, your BMI has an important role to play. Ideally, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy to start trying for pregnancy.
(Weight and Fertility, 2020)
How can overweight affect fertility?
Being overweight, that is having BMI more than 25, can have a considerable number of implications if you are trying to be pregnant. More often than not, it causes hormonal imbalances and menstrual disorders. Problems with ovulation are not uncommon either. With more fat cells in the body, more estrogen is released which can cause the body to react as if already pregnant. This prevents ovulation and thus a monthly period cycle.
If you are planning to opt for an assisted reproductive technique, being overweight can cause a few hitches and reduce your chances of getting pregnant through any fertility treatments.
Besides, obesity is one of the common causes of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which may result in infertility.
(Weight, fertility, and pregnancy, 2020)
Thus, it helps significantly to know what you should and should not be including in your diet to have a healthy start and have a pre pregnancy diet and exercise plan in place. A nutritious and balanced diet is quite vital for maintaining the appropriate BMI. Additionally, you can keep tracking your menstrual cycle to time your conception. Talk to your doctor and keep checking up regularly on your ovulation cycle.