Hey Pretty Mama(to-be),
As you are planning to conceive the sooner you start eating well and a more balanced diet, and the sooner you incorporate an active lifeystyle, the better your chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Below are a few tips to take into consideration.
– Foods to Emphasize in your Diet:
Focus on quality versus quantity and the types of food you should be consuming. Eating for Two, in this case means doubling up on nutrients not on quantities.
Make sure to get at least 400 micrograms of Folate a day. You are probably getting it through your prenatal vitamins, however since a supplement means in addition you should be getting it also in dietary form. Some examples are: Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fortified breads and cereals.
Focus on nutrient-rich foods like whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals. Your daily requirements should be about 6 ounces a day.
Another nutrient-rich food to include in your diet and of which you should be getting twice as much of is Zinc. A lot of food sources contain both zinc and folate and therefore it is easy for you to get these foods in your daily intake by consuming lean meats, fish poultry, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes.
Calcium is another important nutrient-dense food that we women simply don’t get enough of. Aside from a supplement that your doctor gives you, it is really important that you also get more calcium through your food intake. Rule of thumb: 2 servings daily minimum which can be 2 cups of skim milk, or 1 cup Yogurt, and 1 cup of Skim milk or cheese.
If you are Vegan, or not a dairy lover, you can also get your calcium from 1-2 cups dark green leafy vegetables, dried figs, apricots, fruits, grains and meat.
Stay hydrated primarily with water, pure fruit juices and herbal teas. Rule of thumb: 10 cups a day. Try not to skip meals, instead have 5-6 meals a day, and take your prenatal vitamins daily. If they make you nauseous take them before bedtime.
Remember to pump up on Iron, as once you are pregnant your baby will take the minerals he needs from you. If you are a vegan/vegetarian or don’t eat much red meat, make sure to take a prenatal vitamin with iron. Always check with our doctor before since he is in charge of you during your pregnancy.
-Foods to be aware of:
If your cycle is irregular, stay away from alcohol or stop your alcohol consumption altogether.
Curb caffeine and find another healthy alternative such as herbal teas. Watch out for hidden caffeine in cakes, cocoa and chocolate products. Read food labels!
Be finicky with fish! Women who are trying to conceive can have up to 12 ounces of low mercury fish. Examples are: shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon or catfish. For vegan/vegetarian options add ground flaxseed instead. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Be leery of Listeria! Listeria is a harmful bacterium found in ready-to-eat meats, soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products can make you sick and can cause miscarriage early in the first trimester.
Wash your fruit and vegetables well, and choose organic options when you can but also use your local farmer’s market.
-What about your Fitness Routine?
Cardiovascular activities include: Walking, swimming, running if you are a runner and aerobic classes.
If you are new to exercise, rule of thumb: 5-10 min a day the first week, building up to 30 min of cardio a day in a 2-week time frame.
If you are the seasoned exerciser you may do so 20-45 min a day 3-6 days a week.
Strength training/Toning exercises can be implemented 20-60 min a day 2-3 days a week if you are a seasoned exerciser. If you are a new to exercise 2x a week should be your starting point, building up to 3x a week. Free weights, tubing, a stability ball and your own body weight may be used.
Flexibility exercises are also important and should be part of your exercise routine as well as a warm-up and cool-down.
Hire a Prenatal Fitness Coach to guide you through a program that you can start doing before falling pregnant.
Lastly you should always listen to your body. Walk away from all your devices, take a walk with your partner, meditate, relax, regroup, even take a yoga class.
Leave any stressful environment for at least 20 min at a time and try to leave work at work. I know we live in a very fast paced world and it’s often difficult to find a spare moment for ourselves but in your efforts to conceive these are a few things to take into account.