Many people aren’t aware that eating for fertility can differ from how a person would eat for general health and wellbeing. I was lucky enough to have a chat with the very sweet Milli Fox, A Nutritional Therapist who specializes in fertility and conception. She has generously written this blog post to outline the ins and outs of eating for conception.

ladybitsline

Pregnancy is a starting point. The time of conception is arguably the moment a new life begins.  But what you might not have considered is that it’s also the end of an important time for preparation.  Once pregnancy is underway there is not much you can do to change the environment that’s already established in the body. Pregnancy is rather a time of maintenance and has a larger focus on what you can’t do than what you can do.

 After conception, there is no more cleansing, no more correcting nutritional deficiencies and no more getting rid of toxins from the body.  The stage is set, and the show must go on.  As Dr. Roy Dittman says:

 “We must begin to think of pregnancy as the final performance, not the time to start practicing and preparing. By the time you become pregnant, the work must be done, the vessel prepared and everything in place for the miraculous to occur” 

 This is not to say you can’t do a tremendous amount of good for your baby by eating well and taking care of yourself during pregnancy. However, we know that it’s better to fertilize and tend the soil in your garden before you plant your crop rather than only while it’s growing and the same applies to growing a baby. This is where eating for fertility comes in.

 The sad truth is that infertility rates in Canada are skyrocketing, with one in six couples currently considered infertile and a prediction for this rate to continue to rise.  To clarify, the classification of infertility means a couple has tried to conceive for 12 consecutive months with no success.  Although there are many factors that contribute to this heartbreaking trend, nutrition and lifestyle play a key role.

 Studies show that babies born to well nourished mothers have significantly lower risk for nearly every modern degenerative disease.  A healthy body is ready to make babies, and if we can achieve a good state of health before trying to conceive we can have a much better chance of an easy conception and a healthy pregnancy- not to mention a healthy baby!

 There are two steps involved in preparing for an easy conception and a healthy baby.  The first is to nourish our bodies with foods that promote fertility and support mom and baby throughout pregnancy.  The second is to avoid toxins that are known to cause infertility and health problems.

 For thousands of years, traditional cultures have had sacred fertility and pregnancy foods and a reserved time of preparation and eating for fertility (sometimes up to 3 years) before would-be mothers and fathers were even allowed to start trying for baby.  These sacred foods were foods like: fish eggs, liver, bone barrow, egg yolks, raw dairy and other animal fats.

 There are two things that traditional diets across many cultures had in common: 

1. They had no refined or processed foods.

2. Every diet had at least some nutrient dense animal products like fish, shellfish, red meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. *Even predominantly vegetarian people went to great lengths to obtain some animal foods during preconception and pregnancy.

REFINED FOODS – Refined and processed foods are something that we all know aren’t the best for us, but in this ultra-busy day and age it’s really easy to turn to them in a pinch.  The problem begins when they start to make up the majority of what we eat.  Avoiding food toxins like refined flour, refined sugar, industrial seed oils (canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil), trans fats and chemical additives will go a long way towards creating a healthy environment in your body.  A good suggestion is to turn to foods like frozen vegetables if you’re in a pinch for time rather than an entirely prepackaged meal.  Also, avoid fried foods like the plague and cut back on breads and pastas as much as possible.

 VEGGIES – You might be a little surprised that the focus here isn’t on eating a ton of vegetables, but it is definitely implied! A diet rich in fresh, nutrient dense whole foods like fruit and veggies, prepared properly is what is going to set your body up as the perfect baby-making environment.

 FATS – Its important to note that fat is not your enemy.  We’ve been told that fat can raise our cholesterol and gives us heart disease- but it’s truly misunderstood.  The truth is, saturated fat is particularly beneficial for fertility.  A Harvard study found that women who ate two or more servings of low-fat dairy per day, especially skim milk and yogurt, increased their risk of infertility by over 85%! The authors of the study advised women wanting to conceive to consume high-fat dairy products like whole milk and full-fat yogurt.

 ANIMAL PRODUCTS – Animal products have the ability to offer us nutrients that are much harder to get from plant sources alone, and for some people even impossible.  It’s true that there are sources of iron, calcium, b vitamins, especially B12 and omega 3s in plant foods. However, they come in much smaller doses and sometimes in forms that require conversion by our bodies before they are actually in a usable form.  Unfortunately, not all of us are as good at conversion as we might hope.  You might need to eat 10x more of a plant food than a small amount of (high quality) animal product to get the same amount of that nutrient.

 As long as we know where our animal products are coming from, and choosing organic, farm-raised, pastured, grass-fed and free range options- we can feel REALLY good about the nutrition they are offering us and our future babies.

 There are many individual nutrients that are very important for pregnancy that we won’t be able to cover individually, but if you eat a diet with a wide variety of different foods daily- you will definitely be well on your way to getting all of them.

 PRENATAL VITAMINS – As a good insurance policy, not as something to rely on, you can also make sure to take a high quality prenatal vitamin.  Not all are made equal!

 Make sure your prenatal vitamin contains a good source of folate.  Folic acid and folate are not the same thing.  Folic acid is a chemical not normally found in foods of the human body.  It happens to be another nutrient that requires conversion before use and that conversion ability is limited. Folic acid does not cross the placenta like natural folate. Methyl Folate is the best form you can choose in a prenatal vitamin, but there are also great food sources too.

 Folate is found in foods like chicken liver, lentils, legumes (beans and peas) and dark leafy greens.  Make sure to add foods like these into your preconception diet to ensure healthy neural tube formation in your baby to be!

ABOUT MILLI

dsc_6882-1

Milli Fox is a Toronto based Nutritional Therapist specializing in preconception nutrition and Doula work. She is incredibly passionate about helping women conceive, carry and deliver healthy babies. With a background in psychology and personal training, Milli understands the amount work that goes into the habit changes required to form a healthy lifestyle.  She is committed to helping women create lifestyles that work for them by meeting them exactly where they are in their journey and working to create realistic and sustainable goals.  Milli offers one-on-one coaching as well as birth and postpartum Doula services.  Milli is currently expecting her first child, and is very excited to share all the insights she gains along the way!

If you’re interested in learning more about preparing your body through healthy diet and lifestyle you can find Milli on her website or check out her YouTube channel 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts

Leave a Comment