Nutrition works: Five things you must know if you want to get pregnant

Nutrition and Pregnancy

One

Being overweight or underweight reduces your chances of conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term. Check your Body Mass Index before you stop using contraception and if you have a BMI under 18.5 or over 24.9 then you should take action to reach a healthy weight before you start trying to conceive. Check your BMI at the link below and take a look at my post on losing weight.

Check your BMI

How to lose weight

Two

I do not normally recommend supplements as generally we can get all we need from a good healthy diet. See my previous post about how to eat a healthy diet here.

How to eat a balanced diet

However this situation is a bit different and you need a little extra help. Take 400-ug folic acid. This is necessary even if your diet includes lots of folic acid rich foods such as fortified bread and cereals, beans and green vegetables. Start taking a supplement as soon as you stop contraception and continue until week 12 of your pregnancy. If you are not already doing so start taking 10 ug of vitamin D. Hardly any of us get enough from our diet and even in summer it’s hard in our gloomy climate to make enough from the effect of the sun on our skin. This is important for your baby’s teeth and bones and yours. DO NOT take any supplements containing vitamin A as the amounts they contain are too high for a developing baby and you don’t know when you will fall pregnant. You should also avoid foods that contain very large amounts of vitamin A but thankfully that’s just liver and liver products.

Three

Do not drink alcohol at all whilst you are trying for a baby or whilst pregnant. I know the jury is out on when it might be safe to drink and how much but we don’t know for sure that it’s safe to drink anything at all so it’s best to play it safe.

Four

Beware food bugs. Avoid raw and undercooked egg and shellfish and make sure all meat, fish and poultry are cooked thoroughly. Don’t have unpasteurised milk, avoid blue veined cheese, soft ripened cheeses like Brie and Camembert and some goats cheeses, all types of pate including vegetable and soft serve ice creams from kiosks and vans.

Five

Steer clear of fishy toxins. Limit canned tuna to four medium cans per week and have oily fish like fresh tuna, salmon and mackerel not more than twice a week. If you have more exotic fishy tastes avoid swordfish, marlin and shark. But tuck into other fish, as it’s a great source of protein.

Nutrition can neither guarantee that you will fall pregnant nor ensure a healthy baby but these tips will help you and reduce the risk of harm to your developing baby. Good luck!

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