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Eat and avoid these foods if pregnancy is on your mind

Your diet can impact your fertility and your pregnancy journey, so make sure that you include or exclude the right foods. An expert shares tips.
roasted nuts
Roasting nuts enhances their flavour and make them flavourful! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Ila Gupta Published: 25 Oct 2021, 09:44 am IST
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A woman’s pregnancy journey starts even before she’s pregnant. She has to prepare herself and her body for that little one to grow. A healthy lifestyle and diet full of nutritious foods can help a woman to boost her fertility level and reduce further pregnancy complications.

What a woman eats can affect her reproductive health. Therefore, it is suggested that before planning a family, a woman should focus on eating a healthy and well-balanced diet loaded with nutrients, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins. 

pregnancy and foods
Say no to junk or fried foods! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To help you figure this out, we are sharing the foods that should be eaten and avoided before planning a pregnancy. Taking care of these food items will not only help in the baby’s good health but a mother’s health too before and after pregnancy. 

Foods to eat before pregnancy
  1. Rainbow diet

Eat lots of colourful fruits and veggies. There’s no limit to it. The more you eat, the healthier the environment that a woman develops for the baby to grow.

  • Make sure to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid the canned and frozen ones. Eat at least 3-5 portions of these in a day
  • It is best recommended to eat food rich in antioxidants such as green leafy vegetables and berries
  • Using kale in your diet can help in boosting estrogen metabolism in the body
  • Make fresh juices of these combined if you don’t like eating raw fruits or veggies this will definitely help in improving your fertility rate to a higher extent
2. Use unsaturated oils

Oils are not bad for health but choosing the right oil is important. 

  • Some of the best oils recommended for improving fertility are extra virgin olive oil (the best with all the necessary features), flaxseed oil and canola oil
  • During pregnancy, it is highly recommended to use unsaturated vegetable oils. Bad saturated fats can cause inflammation in the body thus they should be replaced by oils that are rich in antioxidants (protect eggs), high in vitamin E (improves uterine lining) and Omega 3 fats (increase blood flow to the uterus and improves fertility hormones)
pregnancy and foods
Make sure your plate has a lot of colour! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Eat plant-based proteins

Eat more plant-based proteins like beans, nuts and lentils than animal proteins (especially red meat).

  • Plant-based proteins are healthy fats and are low in calories which can also help in weight loss, and improve fertility in women
  • Red meats can be consumed but in fewer portions and frequency. Instead, it is recommended to switch to poultry and fish as they also help in developing brain function in babies
  • Women who cut down on animal-based proteins have been found free from any chronic disease and free from any risk of developing gestational diabetes
4. Full-fat dairy foods

Reduce the intake of low-fat dairy products and start consuming full-fat dairy products such as yogurt, whole milk or have a small cup of ice cream.

  • Women who switch to low-fat dairy products such as cottage cheese or frozen yogurt are found to have trouble getting pregnant as low-fat dairy often raises risk of infertility in women.
5. Folic Acid:

Folic acid is vitamin B which helps the body to form new cells. It helps to form a neural tube in a developing baby.

  • Taking folic acid supplements even before you’re pregnant can prevent birth defects in a baby’s brain
  • It is recommended that every woman at a reproductive age should consume 400 mcg of folic acid every day as it helps to form new cells in the body even if she is not planning to start a family
Foods to avoid before pregnancy
1. Trans fats

We strictly suggest staying away from trans fats which are found in your favorite food items like pizza, fried food, chips, cakes and other commercially prepared foods and fast food items. These artery-clogging fats are bad for both men and women and affect their fertility as they can cause inflammation and spike insulin levels in the body.

2. Cut down high sugar and carbohydrates

High levels of sugar and carbs intake should be avoided before you’re planning to conceive as they lead to high blood sugar levels in the body. They kill all the key nutrients from the body and raise insulin levels which affect the fertility system and reduce the chances of getting pregnant. Instead, these can be traded with fresh fruits or low-processed sweeteners.

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pregnancy and foods
Cut down on sugar, please! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Ditch addictive beverages

Several addictive beverages such as tea, coffee and alcohol should be avoided or consumed frequently when planning to get pregnant. These beverages can lead to dehydration in the body and can also interfere with fertility both in men and women. Switching to herbal tea is a better option to cut down on these temporarily.

Exercise is as important as foods before pregnancy

Other than food, your weight and physical fitness also play an important role in boosting your fertility. If you’re overweight, start losing a little to jump-start your ovulation. If you haven’t been physically active for a long time, start with some light exercises, stretching, or simply brisk walking.

Lastly, keep yourself as much hydrated as you can, drink water and make it your best buddy till the last of your pregnancy days and of course even after. 

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About the Author

Dr Ila Gupta is the Director, Ferticity Fertility Clinics, Delhi ...Read More

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