Congratulations! You’re planning on becoming pregnant in the near future. As with any important undertaking, it takes preparation and effort. One of the most important things you can do is to adjust your diet — before and during your pregnancy.
According to obstetricians at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, even simple modifications in what you eat every day will help increase fertility and make for a healthy pregnancy.
A recommended first course of action is to find your ideal body weight. Being over- or underweight can make it more difficult to conceive. Obese women have more pregnancy and birth complications, and underweight women are more likely to have a low-birth-weight baby.
Approximately 300 extra calories are needed daily to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with sweets and fats kept to a minimum. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help your chances to conceive, minimize pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation, and help ensure the wellbeing of the baby. Follow a smart eating plan with low-fat, high-fiber foods:
1. High-quality proteins: Make sure you’re getting complete proteins that have all the essential amino acids, such as whole eggs, beans, white meat poultry and fish.
2. Dairy: Essentials for preparing your body for pregnancy. Be sure to include calcium- and protein-rich foods such as yogurt, cheese, and milk every day. 3. Fruits and Vegetables: Eating ample amounts help prepare your body for the baby. Vegetables in particular provide a host of essential nutrients and antioxidants and help decrease inflammation in the body. 4. Whole grains: They are important because they’re high in fiber and nutrients, including vitamin E and selenium. Whole grain breads and pastas are a good and healthy choice to incorporate into your diet.
5. Drink plenty of fluids: Fluid intake is an important part of healthy pregnancy nutrition. Drink several glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups. If you’re expecting, talk with your obstetrician or midwife about restricting intake of caffeine and artificial sweeteners. All alcohol should be avoided altogether.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids: Your body needs a certain amount of healthy fats to keep hormones functioning properly—helping you to get pregnant in the coming months. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, in walnuts, chia seeds or flax seeds.
7. Pre-natal vitamin supplements: Begin taking a prenatal vitamin daily, as prescribed by your physician or a midwife, to make certain that your body gets all the necessary nutrients and vitamins needed to nourish a healthy baby.