Deciding that you want to try for a baby is an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Nutrition plays a huge part in preparing the body for pregnancy and here are just a few things to consider in order to help you when you’re trying to conceive.
Balance your blood sugar – this is critical because if we have imbalanced blood sugar it causes our hormones to be out of balance too. This is because our body prioritises blood sugar balancing (ensuring the sugar within our blood is within a set range – not too high, or too low). If we’re not eating in balance then our body uses specific hormones (insulin and cortisol) to keep our blood sugar in range -these hormones will be prioritised above our female hormones. Trick to balancing blood sugar – eat 3 nourishing meals a day with 1 snack mid-afternoon. By ‘nourishing’ the meals should contain a balance of essential fats, protein and slow release carbs (from veg, beans, pulses and legumes)
Don’t skimp the fat – many of us know now that fat important and not something to be avoided (as many of our mothers and grandmothers did). Good fat is essential for fertility as it one of the key building blocks of our hormones and cells. Without enough fat we can’t produce our female hormones, and our moods can also be negatively affected (leading to stress, or low libido) Eating a source of essential fat with each meal is an easy way to ensure you’re getting enough. Try almond butter on rye bread for breakfast, avocado and omega 3 rich eggs at lunch, baked salmon with tahini at dinner.
Seed cycling – seed cycling is gaining in momentum among women who are trying to regulate their cycles and conceive. The process involves eating particular seeds (ground) at certain parts of the cycle. Ground flax and ground pumpkin seeds to support oestrogen production and ground sesame and ground sunflower seeds to support progesterone production
Get tested! – simple as it may sound, but underactive thyroid, low iron, low vitamin D and even undiagnosed coeliac disease can all be behind difficulty in conception or recurrent miscarriage – work with a doctor or nutritional therapist to get some functional tests.
It takes 2 to tango! – men can easily check their sperm count with tests from any pharmacy. Men need to also think about their diet, and ensure they’re supporting their health by minimising alcohol, and eating a nutrient rich diet – taking care to include lots of zinc rich foods (shellfish, poultry, nuts, seeds) to make those sperm strong.
Supplement as if you’re pregnant – if you’re trying to conceive be mindful of ensuring you’re not doing anything to harm a potential baby – reduce caffeine, stop alcohol (and any recreational drugs/ smoking) and ensure you’re taking 400mcg folic acid and 1000iu vitamin D daily