Eating to Conceive

When preparing for pregnancy, many doctors recommend a 3 to 4 month preparation period, which includes a healthy diet. While trying to conceive, it’s a good time to begin good eating habits, as well as starting prenatal vitamins, to ensure that your baby will have all the essential nutrients from the moment of conception.

Avoid junk foods, fatty foods and sugar. These foods make up the small tip of the pyramid and tend to replace more nutritious foods. If you get hungry between meals, try eating fresh fruit, vegetables, low-fat yogurt or a handful of nuts.

Make sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, since they contain essential sources of many vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also helpful in keeping you regular, because they are a great source of fiber. When trying to conceive, try and eat organic, as much as possible to avoid chemicals and pesticides which can affect your hormones.

Cut down on caffeine now, because it has been proven to have a harmful effect on reproductive health. It has also been known to delay your chances of conceiving. Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, soft drinks and some over-the-counter drugs contain caffeine. But on the other hand, tea has been known to increase a woman’s chances of conceiving. To reduce the caffeine content in your tea by as much as half, brew the tea bag for just one minute, since the shorter the brewing time- the lower the caffeine concentration. Avoid herbal teas, without first talking with your doctor, because they can be potentially harmful to your unborn baby.

Extremely poor eating habits before pregnancy can harm both you and your baby, as well as your fertility. The Food Guide Pyramid is a good model for healthy eating. The steps of the pyramid show you how to make the best food choices. Eat at least the minimum recommended servings from each level of the pyramid for optimum health.

If your planning to get pregnant, it’s best to refrain from drinking alcohol. Even moderate alcohol consumption can reduce your chances of conception. And once pregnant, drinking alcohol can have very harmful effects on your unborn baby.

It is a good idea to start taking a prenatal vitamin (that contains folic acid) about 3 months before conceiving, if possible. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. But keep in mind that even if you are taking a daily prenatal vitamin, eating a balanced diet is still the best nutrition.

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