Nutrition of the future mother

Epigenetic echoes of your mother's diet | Andrew Prentice | TEDxLSHTM (June 2019).


What and how much you eat can affect your fertility - both positive and negative. Here are some of the key nutrition tips to help you improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.

Optimize Your Diet Now

Food and fertility are inextricably linked for both women and men. If you both stick to a balanced diet, then your chances of conceiving shoot up. The man in your life will find even more nutrition tips in our article for healthy, expectant fathers.

Achieve Your Ideal Weight

You may choose to lose or lose a few pounds if you are underweight while trying to get pregnant. Experts advise women who want to have children to achieve their ideal ideal weight (BMI) as both overweight and underweight reduce their chances of conceiving. But talk to your family doctor before you go on a diet or start exercising.

If you're overweight, a personal diet plan could be less fat and more fiber - but do not forget to do some exercise. You may get pregnant faster if you join a weight loss group, where you will get nutritional tips and exercise together. Alone dieting and exercising is much more difficult than in the group.

Avoid extreme weight loss through zero-fasting or other ""crash dieting"". This can attack your nutrient depots in the body that you will need during pregnancy. Therefore, this is not a good start to a healthy pregnancy.

Eat Well

Above all, healthy nutrition means a balanced diet that contains all the vitamins and nutrients. Avoid fat and sugar. Cookies and cakes unfortunately have to be left out. The German Nutrition Society recommends eating as many different foods as possible. These include:

  • Fruits and vegetables - whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or as juice. Strive for five servings a day.
  • Carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes
  • Protein from white meat and poultry, fish, eggs and legumes (beans and lentils).
  • Fish, at least twice a week. Among them should be a little fat fish (eel, mackerel, trout). Tuna is also good - but not from the tin.
  • Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt and fresh milk are important for calcium intake.
  • Iron-rich foods such as red meat, legumes, dried fruit, bread, green leafy vegetables and fortified muesli. This will build up your iron balance for the upcoming pregnancy.

Your body can absorb the iron better if you also take vitamin C while eating or drinking. So if you have a lot of iron in a meal, eat fruit or vegetables or drink a glass of orange juice.

Take a Vitamin

Although you can theoretically get all of your nutritional needs, some experts believe that even the healthiest eater can use a little extra help. Especially if you get stressed, can not eat on a regular basis, or have restrictions on what you can or want to eat, a multivitamin can give you the assurance that you are getting everything your body needs, but keep in mind that A vitamin supplement is always only for safety, it can not replace a healthy diet.

Over-the-counter complexes often contain a high dose of vitamins and minerals that are not matched to pregnant women. Before you can harm your baby with an overdose, you should definitely take a preparation that is specially adapted to expectant mothers - even if you want to get pregnant. Or choose a preparation that meets 100% of the daily recommended use of D-A-CH, so you do not overdose. Talk to your doctor about choosing the right remedy.

Take folic acid

Any adult could tolerate more folic acid, not just women. It is believed that this B vitamin lowers the risk of heart attack strokes, cancer and diabetes. In addition, it promotes the neural structure of your baby, there are less common problems such as spina bifida (a serious illness in which the mantle around the spinal cord does not close completely).

Women who want to have children (and pregnant women in the first few weeks) should take 0, 4 milligrams (mg) as a preparation daily. You should start using it once you stop taking contraceptives and continue taking it until week 11 of pregnancy. Make sure that the preparation does not contain vitamin A or cod liver oil. (Read below what else you should avoid).

Women who have already had a child with a spinal cord defect are advised to take a higher dose - 0, 5 milligrams a day. If you or your close associate have a case of spinal cord defect, you should also take 500 micrograms (= 0.5 milligrams) of folic acid. The higher dose is also recommended if you take medicines for epilepsy, you have gluten intolerance or you have sickle cell anemia.

In addition, you should eat foods rich in folic acid, such as dark green leafy vegetables (eg.Spinach or grass cabbage), citrus fruits, nuts, wholegrain and fortified cereal.

Drink less alcohol

If your drinking habits are not ideal - and that's true of most people - then you should correct that now. Here is our recommendation: Screw down your consumption. The current recommendation is: no more than one or two units of alcohol per week. By unit is meant a bottle (0, 5 l) normal strong beer or a shot glass with spirits. A glass of wine (0, 2 l) corresponds to two units, an Alcopop 1, 5 units. The main risk from alcohol is for the fetus, which may suffer developmental damage.

If you stop taking your contraceptive, you can theoretically get pregnant right away. So before you renounce alcohol as much as possible. It's better to be on the safe side than having to worry about how much you drank during the first weeks of pregnancy.

Think About Caffeine

There is no clear evidence that caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cola) affect fertility. But experts recommend reducing caffeine consumption - more than 300 mg of this legal drug is associated with miscarriage and low birth weight. As part of your preparation for pregnancy, you can slowly wean yourself off of caffeine. It is found in chocolate, cocoa, energy drinks, coke, black tea and of course coffee. Now, if you reduce these drinks, you will lose it during pregnancy.

To check your consumption - about 300 mg of caffeine are contained in the following foods:

  • 3 cups of instant coffee (100 mg each)
  • 4 cups of instant coffee (75 mg each)
  • 3 cups fresh coffee (per 100 mg)
  • 6 cups of black tea (50 mg each)
  • 8 cans of cola (up to 40 mg per drink)
  • 4 doses of an ""energy drink"" (up to 80 mg per drink )
  • 4 (100 g) Tables Dark chocolate (up to 50 mg per plate). Milk chocolate contains only about half of it.

What you should avoid

The German Nutrition Society recommends that women who want to have children avoid the following foods:
  • Too much vitamin A. This means you should not eat liver or liver products such as pâté. Also, do not take vitamin supplements with vitamin A and cod liver oil. Your body needs vitamin A, but if you take too much of it during pregnancy, it may harm your baby.
  • Fish can contain mercury. Particularly stressed are sharks (Schillerlocken!), Swordfish and marlin. Do not eat tuna steaks or four small tuna tuna tins more than twice a week. High levels of mercury can harm the baby's nervous development.
  • Peanuts and products from them, if your baby has a high risk of peanut allergy due to your family history.If you, the father of the child, brothers or sisters suffer from hay fever, asthma or eczema, then your baby is at an increased risk. Then beware of the ""hidden peanuts"". You can also hide in chocolate or other foods. Carefully read the ingredient list on the back of the product.

Your doctor may give you further good advice when trying to get pregnant. This time is also a great opportunity to get some exercise going with sports. Your body will thank you during pregnancy.

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