Dietitians for Women Cambridge MA
Foods Women Must Eat
| Did you know that eating certain foods can improve your chances of conceiving? While there's no magic formula for getting pregnant, eating a diet rich in nutrients can boost your fertility, and prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. |
Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients a woman needs before conception. Folic acid can prevent genetic defects such as spina bifida, which occurs when the neural tube doesn't fuse properly. Neural tube defects occur very early in pregnancy (within the first few weeks of development), so it's imperative that any woman of childbearing age takes at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. If you're hoping to conceive, you should be taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, as well as eating folate-rich foods like leafy greens, fortified pasta and cereals.
A well-balanced diet can ensure that your body is in prime shape for pregnancy. You need at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Drinking a glass of orange juice with meals adds an extra serving of folic acid and helps with iron absorption.
You'll need to round out your diet with 2-3 servings of lean meat and fish each day, 6 servings of whole grains, and 2-3 servings of dairy products. Oily fish like sardines and salmon are especially rich in omega-3, so try to include at least two servings per week. However, avoid fish high in mercury such as swordfish or marlin, and don't eat raw shellfish.
Your body needs increased calcium for conception, and as the fetus begins to grow and develop. Try to stick to low-fat dairy products like skim milk and cheese. Avoid fatty or sugary snacks, and stay away from coffee or tea at meal times. Tea and coffee hinder your body's absorption of iron, which is needed for blood production.
While you do need a good prenatal vitamin 3 months before you plan on conceiving, don't assume that all of your nutritional needs are covered because you are taking a supplement. You will still need to balance your...