festyle changes can be extremely helpful when trying to conceive. Nutrition is one of the changes that can lead to healthy habits and support fertility. As a mama to two beautiful healthy boys after 2 fully vegan pregnancies. Diving into nutrition and how to best have a healthful pregnancy while eating this way. Is hugely important and has been a real journey for me.
Many people want to know how they can best prepare for conception or what changes they can make to their diet to improve their chances of success. While there is no one size fits all approach to diet, it can be helpful to know what foods can lower inflammation and support proper micro and macronutrients in the body. Always pay attention to how your body feels after eating and make note of any signs such as bloating, rash gas, or digestive issues. This can be a sign of food sensitivity or allergy.
nuts and seeds
salmon and other fatty fish
Try to pair fruits and veggies with a protein or healthy fat. Some examples include:
fruit and nuts
carrot and hummus
celery and nut butter
whole grain toast with avocado
Non organic produce can be heavily sprayed with pesticides and chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system (hormones). Buy organic produce when possible especially if you will be eating the skin such as apples, strawberries, grapes, lettuce, etc... Fruits like pineapples or oranges are less important to be organic.
Healthy Habits for Fertility
Daily movement of some kind is great for your physical and mental health. Walking, biking, swimming, yoga, and dancing are all great forms of exercise that can improve your chances of pregnancy success by regulating ovulation and optimizing egg and sperm quality.
If losing weight is your goal, you can try apps like Noom or general meal assessment app, working with a nutritionist, or joining a community based fitness program. Ask a friend or your partner to join you!
Start small - choose one healthy habit or change you would like to incorporate into your daily routine.
Add in more colour and variety into your meals. Think rainbow eating! Nutrition isn't always about what you take out, but what you add in. Balanced eating leaves room for your favorite foods and treats.
Take time each day for self care
Get a good night sleep
Prioritize play and pleasure. What brings you joy?
Should I take a prenatal vitamin?
Vitamins and minerals play important roles in all of your body functions. Eating healthy foods and taking a prenatal vitamin every day should supply a lot of the vitamins and minerals you need to prepare for pregnancy. It's recommended to start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 3 months before you try to conceive, especially if you have been taking hormonal birth control.
Taking a prenatal vitamin one with methyl folate instead of folic acid eliminates any MTHFR complications. MTHFR is a gene variation which changes the way you metabolize and convert nutrients from your diet into active vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body can use. Since 20% of the population has the variation and it keeps you from being able to process straight folic acid, methyl folate is the way to go.
Here are some prenatal vitamin brands we recommend:
Ritual Essential Prenatal Vitamin - Ask me about getting 20% off!
Nature Made Prenatal Multi
An important option for those who prefer not to or cannot take pills. - Needed
Those who want to use insurance to pay for their prenatal vitamin can ask their provider for a prescription
WHAT ABOUT FERTILITY SUPPLEMENTS?
There is great research on the benefits of certain supplements for improving fertility parameters in both eggs and sperm. Always speak with your medical provider before taking new supplements to make sure they are right for you.
Brands we love:
Binto. You can work with a fertility nurse to craft your cycle's supplement pack, including additions like NAC and CoQ10 to a standard prenatal, when appropriate. https://mybinto.com/binto-101/
Theralogix - https://theralogix.com/
Optimizing Vegan and Vegetarian Diets for Fertility and Pregnancy
According to Lily Nichols's book, Real Food for Pregnancy, vegan and vegetarian diets can fall short on several vital nutrients. Even with a healthy diet, it still may be recommended you supplement to obtain the recommended daily values. In addition to a balanced whole foods diet, taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin can help you reach many of your daily nutrient needs.
Common nutrient deficiencies
Tips to optimize vegan/vegetarian diet
Eat a minimum of 3 eggs/day
Eat full-fat grass-fed dairy regularly and try to eat separately from iron-rich foods like beans and spinach
Combine vitamin C with iron to help iron absorption
Take an algae-based DHA supplement: https://www.nordicnaturals.com/consumers/algae-omega
Regularly add seaweed to your diet or spirulina algae supplement: https://nestednaturals.com/products/super-algae-organic-spirulina-and-chlorella
Consider eating oysters several times a week
Sources of B-12: Nutritional yeasts, Eggs, Dairy
Sources of Choline: Tofu and other soy-based products, Broccoli cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts, Peanut Butter, Beans, Mushrooms, Quinoa
Sources of Glycine: Watercress, Sesame seeds, Seaweed, Pumpkin seeds, Pistachio, Soy, Spinach
Sources of DHA: Seaweed, Nori, Spirulina, Chlorella
Sources of Vitamin K2: Full fat dairy, Eggs, Natto
Sources of Vitamin A: Full fat dairy, Eggs
If vegan, discuss recommended supplementation with your provider
Sources of Iron and Zinc: Nuts, seeds, Legumes, Whole grains