If you are currently trying to get pregnant or planning to try for pregnancy in the next several months, it’s time to start thinking about your nutrition. A healthy pregnancy diet can improve your chance for pregnancy as well as shorten the time it takes to get pregnant.
Importance of Body Mass Index
By now we have all heard that having a normal body mass index, or BMI, gives you your best chance for getting pregnant and your lowest risk for miscarriage. What you may not know is that regardless of your BMI, making healthy dietary changes can still have a very beneficial effect.
Standard American Diet
Unfortunately, most Americans eat what is called the Standard American Diet that includes high amounts of meat, dairy products, and processed foods while consuming too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grain carbohydrates. Over time, this type of diet and can lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body that is thought to be the starting point for many diseases. The Standard American Diet has led to not only obesity, cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, but can also contribute to fertility problems in men and women.
Choosing the Best Pregnancy Diet Food
There are a few simple changes that you can make that can start you on the path to better health and improved fertility.
- Increase your consumption of whole grains like whole wheat bread, quinoa, and brown rice
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate and try to mix it up so you get a wide variety of colorful food for maximum phytonutrients
- Try to get most of your daily protein from vegetables (yes, veggies have protein!) or low mercury-containing fish rather than from meat and dairy
- Avoid processed foods and choose healthy snacks like nuts instead
- Limit refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like white rice and white flour
- Eliminate sugary beverages! This includes soda, sweetened tea or coffee drinks, and juices
- If you’re craving a treat, 2 small squares of dark chocolate per day is good for you!
Now of course one final thing to mention is the importance of starting a prenatal vitamin a few weeks before you conceive. Starting your vitamin early means that you will have the best chance for adequate folic acid levels to reduce the risk for certain birth defects that can start developing before you even know you’re pregnant.
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