No no this is not a statement that I’m pregnant, but rather I want to share with y’all my preconception diet and what I am doing to prepare my body for pregnancy. Having children wasn’t in our minds due to me completing my masters in nutrition and my hubby taking medication for ulcerative colitis. The doctor warned him that he couldn’t take the medication when we went to have kids. Well, after completing our first Whole30 and my hubby getting off his medication, the idea of having a baby was now possible. So I started doing a lot of research and wanted to get my body prepared for while might happen in the future.
Getting to a healthy weight: Being a healthy weight can increase your chance of conception. Research shows that people who are underweight or overweight can have a harder time getting pregnant. 1 Of course you want to do this in a healthful way, like following the recommendations below. Crash diets can cause your body to deplete nutrient stores and you will probably feel terrible!
Nutrient Dense Foods: You will be creating a whole new life inside of you so it’s important to get tons of nutrients before, during, and after pregnancy.
This should include:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables (preferably organic)
- Protein from wild caught fish, grass-fed or pastured animals
- Tons of healthy fats (see below)
- Healthy carbohydrate foods like sweet potatoes, whole grains, squash, etc.
- Other nutrient dense foods like homemade bone broth.
Avoid highly processed foods, sugar, fake sweeteners, chemical additives, and any food like product (i.e. Pringles)
Whole milk: Swapping low-fat milk for whole milk (including yogurt and cheeses) has been shown to increase fertility. This is probably due to the beneficial nutrients in milk fat. Also, I would advise almost everyone to switch to whole milk if you can tolerate it. 2
Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are essential for fertility, hormone balance, and baby’s brain development. Healthy fats include: coconut oil (like this one), butter from grass-fed cows, olive oil (like this one), wild caught fish, grass-fed meats, whole milk (preferably raw or from grass-fed cows), avocados, eggs (preferably from pastured chickens), etc. You should avoid unhealthy fats like trans-fat, shortening, and oils with high omega 6’s (safflower, corn, vegetable, canola oil, etc).
Taking a Prenatal Vitamin: It is always better to eat your nutrients rather than pop a pill. But getting a diet adequate in all the nutrients we need can be difficult so a high quality supplement can be a good choice. You should choose one that contains natural and not synthetic vitamins and minerals. I take Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamin. It is made from organic fruits, vegetables, and contains folate (the natural form of folic acid). Folate helps prevent neural tube defects such as spinal bifida.
Balance Hormones: Hormone imbalance, including conditions like PCOS, is a huge issue today and many women may struggle to get pregnant because of it. Balancing your hormones naturally with food can increase your chances of conceiving. Wellness Mama provides 9 tips to balance hormones naturally.
Exercise: aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Walking is a great exercise. It’s also a great idea to continue to exercise during pregnancy.
Magnesium Baths: Some believe morning sickness is related to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium can be a tricky thing to get due to stress depleting our stores. Magnesium is found in some foods (especially nuts) and your prenatal vitamin may have some. Another great idea is to take an epson salt bath. Not only will it help you relax, but can help restore magnesium levels.
Reduce Stress: Stress can reduce your chances of getting pregnant so it’s important to relax. Take a bath (see above), pray, get away from your computer… ahem… and take a little time to sit without distractions. My front porch swing is one of my favorite places to go.
Avoid Harmful Substances: This includes toxic chemicals (like cleaning supplies), pesticides, most store bought body products (most contain endocrine disrupters), smoking, alcohol, and work to reduce caffeine intake (high caffeine intake can be related to miscarriage).
Recently, I read Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck. She is a great resource for all things real food. Although I didn’t completely agree with everything she says, (personally I’m going to avoid alcohol during pregnancy) she does have some great information about eating for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and baby’s first foods.
By the way… That picture is Libby when she was pregnant with baby A, who is now a little over a year! Isn’t she the cutest?
The information provided is intended for educational purposes and are based on the opinion of the author. You should always consult with a healthcare provided before starting any diet regime or making any health changes. This post is not intended to take the place of doctor recommendations.
Jan Willem van der Steeg, Pieternel Steures, Marinus J.C. Eijkemans, J. Dik F. Habbema, Peter G.A. Hompes, Jan M. Burggraaff, G. Jur E. Oosterhuis, Patrick M.M. Bossuyt, Fulco van der Veen and Ben W.J. Mol. “Obesity affects spontaneous pregnancy chances in subfertile, ovulatory women.” Human Reproduction Advanced Access. December 11, 2007. Accessed February 4, 2008.
Chavarro JE1, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner B, Willett WC. “A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17329264
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