For couples looking to start or expand their family, there’s a simple biological equation involved :
Body part A + Body part B x 9 months =“Welcome to the world, boo!”
Granted, with modern medical advances, it doesn’t always happen that way. And it’s well understood that fertility is so complicated that there’s usually more than just one 10-minute attempt. The point is, people often think fertility solely depends on what happens in the bedroom. But what happens in the kitchen—and the way you prepare your body to carry a baby—is a vital part of the equation as well. And the same holds true once you’re pregnant; the way you fuel your body is the way you fuel your child’s body.
That’s because the healthier you are, the better your odds of carrying a healthy baby to term. What does that mean in terms of food?
It means you live at a healthy weight when you’re trying to conceive (and healthy weight is largely dictated by what you eat), and as your pregnancy continues.
It means that your body is peppered with nutrients that best enhance ovulation and other processes involved in fertility, and delivers proper nutrients to your developing child. And it means that you do what you can—via food and other lifestyle tactics—to manage stress.
- When Trying to Get Pregnant:
To be clear, bolstering your diet with baby carrots doesn’t mean you’ll be buying baby clothes in no time. Genetics and other conditions can influence fertility rates, so if you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant for more than a year and are under 35 then it’s wise to talk with a specialist to identify any underlying issues.
- When You Are Pregnant:
The main thing to remember is that you’re not “eating for two.” Although it can be tempting to add calories because you think you need to feed your developing baby with lots of nutrients, eating double the amount of food you usually do is a recipe for adding more weight than necessary. When it comes to quantity, think 1.1 times the normal amount of food you have; that means just eating a little more than normal.
When it comes to quality, the same rules apply: Eat healthy ingredients and minimize bad ones.
Above all, you want a healthy diet whether you’re trying to get pregnant (or already are). That means eating healthy doses of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. Do that, and you’ll have done what you can to help your body prepare for perhaps the greatest job it will ever perform.