Healthy diet for mums-to-be

couple cooking for healthy mum diet

Eating the right foods plays a huge role in your fertility and conception. A balanced diet helps to regulate your hormones and nourishes your reproductive system. A good diet also helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is essential for making sure you ovulate regularly each month.

Fruit and Vegetables Ideally you should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but don’t forget you can eat them tinned, frozen, fresh or dried. And one portion is counted as fruit juice. Vary the colours of what you eat. Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach contain vitamin A, vitamin B and calcium, tomatoes contain good amounts of potassium, iron and vitamins A and B and yellow peppers are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and have antioxidant qualities.

Carbohydrates should make up the bulk of your diet, but stick to whole wheat bread and pasta, rice, potatoes and cereal.

Protein Include at least three daily servings of protein foods, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and pulses.

Dairy To keep up your calcium levels try to eat cheese, milk and yogurt regularly.

Fish Try to eat at least two portions of fish a week, but don’t have more than two portions of oily fish a week. (Oily fish includes, fresh tuna, trout, sardines and mackerel)

Eat small quantities of fat and food containing sugar. (No more than 0-3 portions a day)

Eat a wide variety of foods that come in lots of colours as these will provide you with ample minerals and vitamins.

Don't stress yourself out (and your bank balance) by buying everything organic, just make sure you eat foods that are in season and are as fresh as possible. This might mean doing a few shops in the week rather than one big one where the food and vegetables lose their freshness.

Don't forget breakfast, it is the most important meal in the day. Eat food like porridge in the winter as porridge is filled with oats that contain slow-release carbohydrates which should keep you full until lunchtime.

If you need to snack between meals - do! But stick to healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, seeds or crackers.

Keep hydrated: Adults should aim to drink around 2 litres (just over four pints) a day and that doesn't include endless cups of tea!

Try not to diet. Ideally you shoud reach your ideal weight before conceiving - if you measure your BMI and it falls between 20-25 you've nothing to worry about. However if your MBI is higher than 25 or lower then 20 this may have an inpact on you getting pregnant. To find your BMI, divide your weight in kilos by the square of your height in metres.

Alcohol, cigarettes and other recreational drugs can have harmful affects on your fertility so you should stop taking these at least four months before you plan to conceive. Smoking can hinder ovarian function, and can reduce the success of what is safe and what isn't safe during pregnancy.

Fertility foods to get into your diet:

Food for your brain

When you are trying to conceive it's important for your brain to create the chemicals serotonin and dopamine which are essential in the production of hormones needed when trying for a baby. Eating foods that contain trytophan and tyrosine will help to improve your levels of serotonin and dopemine. Foods with trytophan in them include:
Bananas, parsley, dates, celery, sweet potatoes, dried apricots, carrots and almonds Foods with tyrosine in them include: cod, sea bass, sardines, oats and turkey

Foods to help your sex life!

Foods that are supposed to help your libido and work as aphrodisiacs have been used for centuries when people needed to boost their sex lives and fertility. Whether they really work or not, it's worth a try! Try foods such as, asparagus, oysters, garlic, figs, dates, avocados, bananas, and pomegranates.

See also our article on baby-making positions if you need help in the bedroom.

Look at Healthy diets for dads-to be and our Recipe section for tips and ideas on healthy eating.

The information in this feature is intended for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health, the health of your child or the health of someone you know, please consult with a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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