If you’re planning for a baby, you need to know what to eat before getting pregnant. While a healthy prenatal diet is no guarantee of conception, being healthy improves your fertility and increases your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Here’s our guide to help you understand what foods and nutrition you need so you can have a great pre-pregnancy diet.
Increase your iron intake
During pregnancy, you have a higher risk of anemia as a result of increased blood volume. You’ll have to increase the intake of iron from your diet before conception. With sufficient iron in your pre-pregnancy diet, you’ll be better protected from the chance of developing anemia during pregnancy.
Control your sugar consumption
You may want to consult your health care provider to determine if you’re diabetic. Diabetic women can still have a healthy pregnancy. But you need to know what food to eat and what to avoid in order to control your blood sugar.
Increase your intake of folic acid
Folic acid is a type of B vitamins that can prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects. It’s also a vital vitamin for the development of your baby’s spinal cord during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. You may want to take up to 400 mcg of folic acid per day in your pre-pregnancy diet throughout your entire pregnancy and until you stop breastfeeding. Fruits such as oranges and leafy green vegetables provide good sources of folic acid. But you’re also advised to start taking a folic acid supplement every day as early as you try to conceive, to ensure you’re getting sufficient amount.
Control your intake of Vitamin A supplement
Excessive amount of Vitamin A can cause birth defects. So you don’t need to rush to take too much of it from Vitamin A supplement. As long you’re eating foods containing beta carotene such as carrot, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, your body can make the amount of Vitamin A you need during pregnancy.
Increase your DHA consumption
DHA is a type of essential fatty acid that is crucial for the development of your baby’s nervous system. As this nutrient is needed by the baby during the early pregnancy stage, you should start eating sufficient Omega-3 DHA before conception. Fish such as salmon provides loads of DHA. You can also take Omega-3 fish oil to supplement this essential fatty acid as part of your prenatal diet.
Increase your fruits and vegetables consumption
Eating a pre-pregnancy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables can lower your baby’s risk of allergies. Besides, it’s good for your own health. Studies find that moms eating the most vegetables and fruits containing high levels of beta carotene and Vitamin E are less likely to have a baby who develops eczema and asthmatic wheezing.
If you’re overweight, you may want to loose some weight before getting pregnant. You don’t want to be on diet while you’re pregnant. On the other hand, if you’re underweight, you need to find out if you’re suffering from any nutritional deficiencies and have it addressed before you become pregnant. Remember, you need to be eating a healthy diet to allow your body to store the essential nutrients during pregnancy.