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Essential Nutrition While Trying to Conceive

Posted on 25/07/2012 in Pregnancy & Baby & Well-Being

Many experts advocate that the sooner a woman (and also a man) start to eat a healthy and nutritious diet, the greater the likelihood that they will soon be shopping for
maternity dresses and stylish maternity clothes, preparing a baby’s nursery and trawling the plethora of pregnancy and childbirth information sites found on the net! Many people feel empowered and far more alive when they take control of their diet and increase their chances of enjoying a healthy pregnancy and welcoming a healthy baby to the world.

Without doubt, the best time to improve your diet and focus on nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is when trying to conceive a baby. In fact, the first step for couples unsuccessfully trying to conceive is often to improve their diet, engage in a sensible amount of physical activity each week and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Think about maternity clothes, baby nurseries and prams, but really focus on what you should eat when trying to conceive…

In many cases, successful conception is as much about the man as it is about the woman. Given the shared responsibility and contribution, men also need to consume a healthy diet that is rich in the vitamins and minerals crucial for making healthy sperm.

Each day, both men and women should consume:

  • Several servings of fruit, vegetables, grains such as whole wheat bread and foods rich in calcium, including: yoghurt, cheese and milk.
  • Vitamins C and E, zinc and folic acid, which are important for the production of good quality sperm and regular, predictable ovulation.

And, what should you avoid when trying to conceive?

The diet and approach to health of many people needs some careful review and adjustment when they decide that they would like to become parents.

It will come as no surprise to know that the following should be avoided when trying to conceive:

  • Alcohol (while it is preferable to eliminate alcohol altogether, it is recommended that you drink alcohol only occasionally if you wish to drink at all)
  • Recreational drugs
  • Smoking

While there are certainly health benefits for the adult avoiding these things, there are even more important benefits for the foetus that may be conceived. Abundant evidence shows that alcohol, drugs and smoking can all harm the growing and developing foetus.

Some specifics…

Caffeine:  There is no definitive answer regarding the effects of caffeine on fertility -- in fact, the research is mixed. However, you may want to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume if it is significantly high. Although some experts suggest that low to moderate caffeine consumption (less than 300mg per day or approximately three cups of coffee) will not cause an adverse effect on fertility, it may be recommended that you eliminate caffeine completely in order to be safe and stand the best possible chance of conceiving.

Fish with high mercury content:  Fish is typically a very healthy inclusion in a person’s diet, but some fish are high in mercury and this can be dangerous to an unborn baby. Fish that are high in mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, and because mercury can accumulate and stay in the body for longer than one year, these types of fish should be avoided when trying to conceive.

Fish that are lower in mercury, such as salmon and canned light tuna, are considered an important part of a healthy diet for a pregnant woman or woman trying to conceive and should be eaten once or twice a week.

Other tips for good nutrition while trying to conceive:

Take a quality vitamin/mineral supplement: A prenatal vitamin helps to ensure your body is getting an adequate amount (at least 400 micrograms daily) of folic acid (which is important before and during pregnancy and known to reduce the chances of the baby having neural tube defects such as spina bifida) and other nutrients to help increase the likelihood of conception.

Maintain an ideal body weight: Losing some weight or gaining it if you are underweight is important when attempting to become pregnant. You should be as close as possible to the recommended weight for a person with your physical characteristics, as being over or underweight can make becoming pregnant substantially more difficult.

Following a sensible eating plan that includes nutritious, fibre-rich foods represents good nutrition when trying to conceive. Being as healthy as possible will increase your chances of conceiving, enjoying a healthy pregnancy, glowing in your maternity clothes and delivering a healthy baby.


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