Is it time to start your conceiving journey?
This is a really special time in your life and planning for pregnancy can come with a lot of considerations. You may be thinking about anything from your finances to changes to your physical space to what your life will look like in the future with your little one.
But before you get there, have you thought about lifestyle planning for trying to conceive?
Nutrition and lifestyle habits play a significant role in supporting your fertility. Optimizing your diet can help with conception in many different ways, such as helping to regulate your menstrual cycle and balancing your reproductive hormone levels, improving your egg or sperm quality, supporting implantation and helping to ensure your pregnancy starts off on the right foot.
Nutrition changes can also be helpful in managing different conditions that may impact fertility, including PCOS, endometriosis, IBS or hypothyroidism, giving you your best chance.
So what nutrition changes can you make to support you in planning your pregnancy?
Here are my top 4 tips for trying to conceive as a registered dietitian.
1. Start a prenatal supplement that includes folic acid or folate
Prenatal supplements have many nutrients that are supportive of your health (and eventually the health of your growing baby) when you’re trying to conceive— one of particular importance in conception: folic acid.
Folic acid, or folate, is a nutrient that’s essential and is always recommended for pregnancy. Current guidelines support that taking folic acid at least three months prior to conception can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
You’ll want to look for a prenatal supplement that contains 0.4mcg to 0.6mcg of folic acid or folate.
2. Fill your plate with fibre
There are a few of benefits that fibre-rich foods can have when you’re planning to conceive.
One key benefit of fibre is its role in promoting regular bowel movements. Bowel regularity is actually extremely important when you’re trying to plan a pregnancy as regular bowel movements help to support a balance of your reproductive hormones, including estrogen.
Fibre-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins— so aim for lots of variety in these foods to increase your fibre intake.
Increasing high-fibre foods also helps boost your intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals as an added bonus in planning your pregnancy. It’s a great idea to get a good amount of nutrients right from the start.
3. Don’t forget the healthy fats
Dietary fats play an important role in reproductive health such as helping with hormone balance. Certain types of fats are going to be more supportive of fertility, so you want to focus on increasing your intake of unsaturated fats.
These can be found in a variety of foods, such as fatty fish, nuts and seeds, nut butters, avocado and plant-based oils such as olive oil. Aim to include a source of unsaturated fat with each meal .
As an added bonus, fats will also help your body absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
4. Put a pause on your use of alcohol, drugs and smoking
Substances such as alcohol, drugs and smoking can impact your fertility, in addition to impacting your developing baby if you are consuming these substances after conception.
If you’re planning for pregnancy, it’s a great idea to think about reducing your usage or taking a break from these substances in order to support your fertility and protect the health of your baby if you do conceive.
It’s important to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lifestyle planning. If you’re trying to conceive and looking for individually tailored guidance, you can contact PUSH Mama Care to learn more about how we can support you in this important journey.