Nutrition journey during motherhood – Pre-conceive phase


Co-Authored by: Smriti Jha (Registered Dietitian, Child Nutrition Expert, Diabetes Educator, Blogger) & Saman Zaman (Child Nutrition Consultant, Public Health Nutritionist)

Just like most of the other major events in our life, we should plan for Pregnancy as well. Devote some quality time to know what you need to be aware of, what’s the most healthy to eat, something to get rid of, even if that is for limited period.

Experts suggest better to start early, 3 months to a year before you conceive. Ensure a healthy nutrition of a Mother that begins 12 months before the birth of a child and continued to the post lactation period. Research studies have also shown that healthy nutrition and fertility is interlinked.

 How to assure yourself:

  • Medical Conditions

Ensure to check for medical complication . Consult your Doctor regularly. Some of these conditions include: sexually transmitted diseases , seizure disorders, high blood pressure, arthritis, eating disorders, and chronic diseases, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus etc.

  • Lifestyle and Behaviors modification

If you are stressed, or have a history of substance abuse, please contact an expert. Health care professionals can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.

  • Medications

Avoid self -made prescription, over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements. If you are planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the need for any medication with your obstetrician or gynecologist.

  • Avoid Drinking Alcohol, Smoking

If you are trying to get pregnant please get rid of those pegs and butts.  If are addicted and cannot stop ―you need help! Reach out to your Doctor.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

Overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious complications during pregnancy, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon) .Maintaining your normal BMI (18- 24.9 kg/m2 ) is recommended.

  • Get Mentally Healthy and Stress free

Stress affects adversely, and if left unchecked, it targets both physically and emotionally. Like happiness, stress too can be shared and managed .

Pre conception Nutrition checklist:

  • Food First, Supplements later

If at all you are having a Balanced diet, supplements are not needed. Opt for a Nutrition Assessment tool wherein you will be counselled for what and where you are lacking nutrition point of view. When the food intake is not sufficient as per healthy requirements, you will be suggested for supplement.

  • Eat Food that meets your methylation (activation) by choosing B vitamins, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, l-methionine, and l-cysteine rich food.

(The B vitamin helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida)

  • Folic acid is a B vitamin. It can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. The easily available sources of folic acid are dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, collard, sprouts, beans, lentil etc.
  • Include gut healthy food like Probiotics such as curd/ yoghurt in your routine diet. Our 70% immunity comes from healthy gut lining.
  • Include zinc rich food in your diet. There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc affect both male and female fertility. To keep your reproductive system functions well take the recommended dietary allowance of zinc (15 mg a day). Sources are –seafood, meat, liver, eggs, milk, whole grains etc.
  • A check over
  1. Aluminum cookware – Aluminum compounds leaches into the food may have detrimental effects on Health & Fertility.
  2. Caffeine:Better to wean yourself off of caffeine, as research has shown that more than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 %

Hope this article suggests you in understanding and managing the nutritional needs during motherhood. Women travel through three trimesters to achieve her Motherhood and later through Lactation period, the journey is long and you need to take care.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs covering nutritional needs for the complete motherhood in phased manner. Have a Happy Pregnancy!

The next episode of this article can be read here

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