If you plan to get pregnant within the next few months—or even year—it’s important to get your diet on track now to prepare your body for pregnancy later. Learn about what foods to eat and avoid as you plan for pregnancy.
You must be aware that eating healthy is important during pregnancy but did you know that a balanced healthy diet is equally important for a woman during the phase of ‘planning a pregnancy’. The way nutrients are needed to nourish both mother and the baby and responsible for growth and development of the foetus, they are equally vital before pregnancy to prepare a woman for conception. So, if you are planning to start a family in the near future then it may be time to start considering making some changes to your eating habits and lifestyle for a successful pregnancy.
For both men and women, food and fertility are linked.
It is also worth noting that pre-conceptual nutrition is not only necessary for women, it is also important for men. A healthy lifestyle in both partners may help to optimise male sperm quality and will ensure that the female body is well prepared for a smooth pregnancy.
Here are the ten changes you should make to your diet and lifestyle so you’ll do your body good in the months to come. (scroll below for an exhaustive list) but the two most vital factors that you should consider are:
1) Folic acid : Connection with Conception
Folic acid is a B vitamin which plays a key role in the production and division of cells. During preconception, women are advised to supplement their diet with folic acid – ideally with natural sources.
Some of the food items that are naturally rich in folic acid include:
- dark green leafy vegetables
- ladies finger,
- citrus fruits,
- lentils and
Sometimes your doctor may also prescribe you a Folic acid supplement (400 µg) per day. It should be continued throughout until the 12th week of pregnancy in consultation with your doctor. This significantly reduces the risk of the baby being born with a neural tube defect.
A neural tube defect is a birth defect which involves incomplete development of the brain or spinal cord. Neural tubes of the foetus start forming at a very early stage of pregnancy and by the time a woman comes to know about her pregnancy, the formation of these tubes have already started. Hence, it is recommended to take folic acid supplements from the time one begins planning for pregnancy to avoid any birth defects among infants.
2) Body weight : Maintain the balance
Being either overweight or underweight has a bearing on the chance of conceiving and it is true for both the parents. Research has shown that men and women having BMI (Body Mass Index) above 30 experience difficulty in conceiving.
Risks for Overweight mothers: Females who are obese before pregnancy stand an increased risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy and birth, and in the first few days after the birth. Such mothers may suffer from:
- gestational diabetes
- high blood pressure during pregnancy (Pre eclampsia) and
- high chance of C-section delivery.
Babies born to overweight mothers can also face health complications in future.
Risks for Underweight Mothers: Underweight women are more vulnerable to miscarriage, pre-term delivery and delivering low birth weight infants.
Hence, both men and women planning to become parents should take efforts to achieve their ideal body weight in a healthy way by taking professional guidance from prenatal experts. The 3 month Pre-conception program with FabMoms has seen great results with couples planning pregnancy.
3) Other Factors while planning pregnancy:
Apart from the above two important factors, there are few more points which need to be kept in mind while planning a family. You should be mindful to:
- Limit the intake of alcohol
- Stop smoking completely. Even passive smoking could be hazardous.
- Eat Foods That Are Rich in Antioxidants
- Add variety to your food plate
- Avoid refined and processed foods
- Exercise regularly and stay active
- Manage your stress levels
- Effectively manage or even better correct any existing medical condition like Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Uncontrolled thyroid levels, PCOD in women, Anaemia or any other nutrient deficiencies.
If you can follow these simple pointers, it will take you a long way to improve your reproductive health. Rope in your partner as well and reap the benefits.
If you are planning a family / conception any time soon, you could benefit from the 3 month pre-conception Nutrition programme from FabMoms. It is a scientifically planned, completely personalised plan that micro-manages your diet very closely and hand-holds you to your way to a healthy body. Call 992099 1286 right away to know more.