Nutrition for Conception

January 12, 2019

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Conception is cruel. There, I said it. 

I truly believed (through the help of the media and emphasis on teenage pregnancy when I was sixteen) that creating life was simple. Easy in fact. So easy that if you were not on the pill by the age of fifteen that you would probably fall pregnant just thinking about losing your virginity.

Little did I know that when I was truly ready to co-create it would take months of false alarms, affirmations, visualisations, bitter disappointments, loathing of my seemingly dysfunctional body and one very quick pregnancy of a few weeks before disappearing amid a day of painful cramping, sat on the toilet.

Then, when I did finally fall pregnant, I was in so much denial that I didn’t take the dreaded test until I was five weeks in. And that had only happened after I had given up trying, taken a ferry to Amsterdam and drank copious amounts of rosé on the way. I will add in now that this was before my qualifications in nutrition!

How do you use nutrition to fall pregnant?

In order to conceive and give yourself the best shot at a healthy pregnancy, one must consider the body as an environment. Within this environment are all of the different gardens that produce the fruits your body needs to generate optimum health. If the garden is polluted by inflammation and acidity, the fruits will not grow or grow as effectively and effortlessly as they could.  Nourishing your body with good food and pure water is the easiest way to fertilise the different gardens within the environment.

To give a brief overview, here are a few things to consider:

Folic Acid:

A plant-based diet could aid conception due to being naturally high in folic acid, which helps to prevent Spina bifida in the baby. That said, folic acid should also be taken as a supplement at least three months before conception and three months after. Folic acid can be found in all green leafy salads, dates, yeast spreads, nuts and fresh vegetable juice.

Macronutrients: 

Changes to support pregnancy include gaining more energy from food. Three hundred extra calories is all that are needed from the second trimester onwards, although energy levels will change before then. It is therefore important to include complex carbohydrates to gain energy. A few ideas for complex carbohydrate snacks are:

Bananas in natural or soya yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, brown rice salad with fruit, oatcakes, pasta and pea soup. 

Protein does need to be increased by a small amount during pregnancy and should be eaten in equal measure to complex carbohydrates (not necessarily in the same meal but throughout the same day). Example snacks such a peanut butter sandwich, hummus on a pitta bread and scrambled tofu on toast would provide the amount needed.

Micronutrients:

There are certain minerals and vitamins that need to be considered essential for a healthy pregnancy (in addition to the aforementioned folic acid) and although these are often recommended to be supplemented, it is important to know the foods that contain these elements so they are obtained in their purest forms.

Calcium is crucial during pregnancy for the healthy development of the baby’s bones and teeth but also for a healthy heart, nerves and muscles. Foods calcium can be found in are: lightly steamed green leaf vegetables, hummus on bread, fortified milks, fresh vegetable juices, tahini and miso on bread. 

Calcium also needs vitamin D in order to work effectively. This is perhaps one of the easiest vitamins to acquire as it can be done through sunlight and even the smallest amount can lead to the dehydrocholesterol reaction in the skin. It can also be obtained in most soya and animal milks, along with fortified margarines and breakfast cereals, or supplemented should it be the winter season.

Iron is crucial for the formation of new blood cells for both the mother and the baby, along with many other roles. The absorption of iron is reliant on the intake of vitamin C. Iron can be found in: dried fruits, brown rice salads, fresh and roasted nuts and seeds, oats, steamed green leaf vegetables, bread.

zinc_conception_nutrition

Zinc is another mineral that is needed during pregnancy for the healthy growth and development of the baby. The following foods include zinc: pumpkin seeds, oats, alfalfa sprouts, tofu, steamed parsnips, raw salad foods, lightly cooked vegetables and pea soup.

Fresh fruit and vegetables eaten daily will ensure the mother has plenty of vitamin c within her diet which enables so many of the other vitamins and minerals to be absorbed into the body. 

It must be noted that many of these minerals and vitamins, proteins and complex carbohydrates can be met with simple cross over meals such as tofu on toast with a side of grilled tomato or avocado; or porridge oats topped with dried fruit and made with fortified soya milk. 

And that should do it! Nutrition for conception is real and one of the greatest ways to prepare for pregnancy.

Don’t forget, nutrition consultations are part of my service, either individually or as part of my Glow Golden pregnancy package.

Love and light,

Danielle xx

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