What is Preconception Nutrition?
Preconception health and nutrition care focus on things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy baby
Why is it important?
Preconception nutrition research has shown that food and healthy nutrition are tied to fertility health in both women and men. Additionally, there are substances that can hinder fertility.
Preconception Nutrition Preparation.
Begin making healthy changes 3 months to a year before you conceive. Evidence shows that healthy nutrition and fertility is linked in both men and women. Below is a list of suggestions for healthy nutrition prior to conception:
- Folic Acid: The recommended dose that women of childbearing age obtain 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate or folic acid each day. This B vitamin helps reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
If your family has a history of neural tube defects or certain medical conditions, you may need an increased dose regime which your doctor can guide you. Folic acid may be obtained naturally through leafy, dark green vegetables (i.e. spinach), citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified bread and cereals. These foods can be supplemented with a Prenatal Multivitamin which usually contains 500 – 800mcg of folic acid.
- Calcium: It is recommended that women get at least 1,000 mg of calcium a day. Calcium may be obtained from natural sources such as low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, sardines, rice, and cheese.
- Supplements & Vitamins: In addition to a healthy diet, many healthcare providers will encourage you to take supplements to increase the probability that you get all the nutrients you need.
- Caffeine: It is important to wean yourself off of caffeine (including chocolate), as research has shown that more than 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day may reduce fertility by 27 percent. Caffeine also hinders the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium.
- Things to Remove: Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, recreational drugs and cigarettes and passive smoking all have the potential of harming your soon to be conceived baby.
A Nutrient That Can Benefit Both of You
Oysters contain high levels of zinc – a nutrient that contributes to semen and testosterone production in men, and ovulation and fertility in women.
There are several studies that indicate that deficiencies in zinc affect both male and female fertility.
Maintaining the recommended dietary allowance of zinc (15 mg a day) can help keep your reproductive system functioning well.
Dr Kaur sees patients for preconception counselling at her clinic in Woolloongabba. You can make an appointment by calling (07) 3839 0552 and one of her friendly staff can help you or submit a request online on the website “www. aurorawomenshealth.com.au”