Fertility Diet: 5 Nutrients You Need When Trying to Get Pregnant
The timing feels right for you and your partner – you are nervous, excited, and hopeful about the idea of getting pregnant and adding a sweet bundle of joy to your family….
And although there are so many things that you can’t control about parenthood, you want to do as much as you can to ensure you have a safe, healthy pregnancy!
Something that I recommend to all of my patients who are ready to try and conceive is to go on a wholesome, delicious, and nutrient-dense preconception diet.
Whether you have a known history of infertility, are unsure how fertile you are, or have already had a child(ren) – this diet can help provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to increase fertility and improve your likelihood for a safe, healthy pregnancy!
PRECONCEPTION NUTRITION 101
1. FIBER: Eating enough fiber at mealtime can help your body remove excess estrogen (i.e. balance your hormones) and stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day!
Women should aim to get around 25 grams of fiber per day.
High Fiber Foods
- Lentils: 1 cup = 15.5 grams of fiber
- Black beans: 1 cup = 15 grams of fiber
- Chia Seeds: 2 tablespoons = 10g of fiber
- Green Peas: 1 cup = 9 grams of fiber
- Raspberries: 1 cup = 8 grams of fiber
- Avocados: ½ avocado = 5 grams of fiber
- Apple with skin: 1 medium-sized apple = 4.5 grams of fiber
- Spinach: 1 cup = 4 grams of fiber
2. FOLATE: Folate is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B9 and helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in your child.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate and must be converted to folate before your body can use it.
This is why I recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with the active form methylfolate so that your body can more readily and easily utilize this vitamin.
Women who are of reproductive age should aim to get 400mcg of folate per day.
High Folate Foods
- Lentils: 1 cup = 358mcg folate
- Beets: 1 cup = 148mcg folate
- Asparagus: ½ cup = 134mcg folate
- Steamed Spinach: ½ cup = 131mcg folate
- Steamed Broccoli: ½ cup = 84mcg folate
- Avocado: ½ = 82mcg folate
- Orange: 1 = 55mcg folate
3. CHOLINE: Choline is an essential nutrient that helps prevent neural tube defects and supports healthy brain development in pregnancy.
Women who are trying to conceive should aim to get 425mg per day and 450mg per day when pregnant.
High Choline Foods
- Salmon: 3 ounces = 187mg choline
- Eggs: 1 egg = 147mg choline
- Shiitake Mushrooms: 1 cup = 116mg choline
- Lima Beans: 1 cup = 75mg choline
- Cooked Cauliflower: 1 cup = 72mg choline
- Chicken: 3 ounces = 72mg choline
- Red Potatoes: 1 large potato = 57mg choline
4. IRON: It’s not uncommon for women to have low iron stores due to monthly menstruation.
Too little iron at the beginning of your pregnancy could increase your risk of anemia later on in your pregnancy and post-birth.
Vitamin C is necessary for the absorption of iron so be sure you’re eating iron-rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C (strawberries, bell peppers, oranges, and kiwis)!
Pregnant women should aim to get about 27mg of iron per day.
High Iron Foods:
- Cooked Oysters: 3 ounces = 7.82mg iron
- Dark Chocolate: 3 ounces = 6.82mg iron
- Lentils: 1 cup = 6.6mg iron
- Steamed Spinach: ½ cup = 3.21mg iron
- Quinoa: 1 cup = 2.8mg iron
- Pumpkin Seeds: 1 ounce = 2.5mg iron
- Sardines: 3 ounces = 2.48mg iron
5. CALCIUM: Calcium is vital for the formation of your baby’s teeth, bones, heart, muscles, and nerves. Your body doesn’t make calcium, so it is important to get this important mineral from the foods you eat or through supplementation. Pregnant women should aim to get 1,000mg of calcium per day.
High Calcium Non-Dairy Foods:
- Cooked Collard Greens: 1 cup = 268mg
- Chia Seeds: 2 Tablespoons = 179mg calcium
- Dried Figs: 1 cup = 241mg calcium
- Raw Kale: 2 cups = 180mg calcium
- White Beans: 1 cup = 161mg calcium
- Sunflower Seeds: 1 cup = 109mg calcium
- Sweet Potatoes: 68mg calcium
In addition to making sure you are getting enough fiber, folate, choline, iron, and calcium in your diet you should also be prioritizing your overall health and wellness.
PRECONCEPTION HEALTH AND WELLNESS TIPS
- Make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night
- Limit caffeine intake (no more than 200mg per day)
- Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, and cigarettes
- Eliminate artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and highly processed foods
- Drink plenty of water (most women need around 3 liters per day)
- Reduce stress by spending time out in nature, taking baths, reading, etc.
- Enjoy an acupuncture treatment to increase ovulation, blood flow, and reduce stress. I wrote a whole blog post about this that you can read HERE!
Preparing to have a baby is such an exciting time in your life!
You shouldn’t have to go through this journey alone or spend your days worrying about how you can heal your body to increase your fertility and chances for a healthy pregnancy…
For further fertility advice, support, and guidance on exactly what you should do to get your body into an optimal state pre-conception book a complimentary discovery call today!
Schedule your free 15-minute consultation to learn more and get started.