Eating Right Whilst Trying to Conceive: Preconception Diet

When trying to conceive it is important to know which foods to eat that can maximise fertility, as well as what to stay away from. Choosing a preconception diet and creating a balanced diet involves meal planning. Nutrition plays a big role when it comes to improving and achieving maximum fertility.

The theory behind the preconception diet is that what you eat prior to trying to conceive has a direct effect on the gender of your baby. All women and couples thinking of ways to determine gender of baby, often change their diets to allow for more chance of the desired gender baby they want.

By following preconception diets one can change the body’s chemistry and alter the pH level within your body, which of course has a direct impact on the polarity of the egg.

According to the Prince or Princess Guide, changing your diet prior to conception is extremely effective and has been researched and tested under clinical conditions and was proven to be 96% – 98% effective.

Not only can eating the right foods – and avoiding the wrong ones – help you to have a healthy baby, it can actually make pregnancy possible.

Nutrients – What You Should be Getting from Your Preconception Diet…

Zinc: According to world renowned nutritionist Dr Patrick Holford, in his book, “Optimum Nutrition Before, After and During Pregnancy (Piatkus; 2004)”, the mineral zinc is absolutely vital for reproductive health, where infertility, low sex drive and period problems have all been linked to inadequate levels. Lamb, oysters, nuts, egg yolks rye and oats are all rich in zinc.

Protein: Protein-rich-foods, such as fish, meat and soya, should account for 12 percent to 20 percent of your daily calories. Make sure to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, with a minimum of 40 grams of protein a day. For example, if you weigh 55kg, you should eat roughly 44 grams of protein a day.

Carbohydrate: The amount of carbohydrates you should eat varies from person to person and should be based on an individualised nutritional assessment. That said, for most people, carbohydrates, e.g. breads, cereals, pasta and potatoes, account for approximately 50 percent to 60 percent of their daily calories.

Fat: For most people, less than 10 percent of their daily calories should come from saturated fat and up to 10 percent from polyunsaturated fat, although eating monounsaturated fat is preferred. Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salon are rich sources of one kind of essential fat called Omega 3. Nuts and seeds are rich in the other kind, referred to as Omega 6. Like zinc, Omega 3 and 6 fats are needed for healthy hormone functioning, so a deficiency is likely to affect your menstrual cycle and therefore your fertility.

Fibre: Both before and during pregnancy it is important to eat between 20 and 35 grams of fibre each day. Some good sources of fibre are unrefined grains, such as whole wheat, beans, fruits and vegetables.

Folic Acid: It is very important to get enough folic acid, or folate, before you become pregnant. By adding 400 micrograms a day prior to conception you can reduce risks of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

Folate-rich foods include:
– Lentils and black beans
– Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
– Broccoli
– Asparagus
– Peanuts
– Orange juice

Iron: You should get 18 milligrams of iron a day. Good sources of iron are green leafy vegetables, beans, red meat and fortified cereals.

Calcium: The calcium requirement for women is 1000 milligrams per day. This is very important to prevent the development of a deficiency so that your bones are kept healthy during pregnancy. To maximise your calcium intake you should have three servings of dairy, e.g. cheese, milk, or yoghurt a day, in addition to that which is provided in a multivitamin supplement.

Good nutrition and a balanced preconception diet isn’t just about what you eat; it’s also about what you don’t eat, drink or breathe.

Anti-nutrients, according to Dr. Patrick Holford, are substances that deplete your body of vital resources while contributing nothing nutritionally themselves.

Refined sugar can be classed as such because it contains no nutrients of its own yet uses up stores of vitamins and minerals as your body processes it. But anti-nutrients that have a greater impact on your fertility are those that actually damage your body, which include alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and environmental toxins.

Alcohol: When trying to conceive, drinking any alcohol can reduce your fertility by half – and the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive.

Tobacco: It has been found that smoking damages the quality of eggs in the ovaries, reducing the number capable of producing a baby.

Coffee: Research has shown that caffeine – also found in tea, chocolate and fizzy drinks – decreases fertility, where just once cup of coffee a day can halve your chances of conceiving.

Toxins: The increased number of chemicals and pollutants in the environment is also a factor affecting fertility. It is therefore preferable to eat organically grown products and to stay clear of toxic metals such as lead and mercury in food.

preconception diet

Foods to Avoid In Your Preconception Diet Whilst Trying to Conceive…

There are also certain foods you should avoid while trying to conceive and when pregnant, as they contain micro organisms that can make one ill.

These include:
– Raw or undercooked fish (including sushi), shellfish, eggs, meat or poultry.
– Swordfish, shark, tilefish or king mackerel – however, other fish may be consumed in moderation
– Unpasteurised milk and any foods made with it
– Soft cheeses like Brie, feta, Camembert and Roquefort
– Raw egg – including that in homemade cookie dough and batters

As an additional precaution, cook ready-to-eat meats (like hot dogs) and leftovers until steaming hot. Also be sure to wash raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly.

Creating a balanced preconception diet
To establish a well-balanced preconception diet, try to eat a variety of what you like and try out one different food a week. This will help make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients that you need.

It is also important to maintain your sugar levels at a constant level and keep your energy levels high, as this will reduce stress and get your body stronger.

Here are two sample menus of eating plans that are recommended for pregnancy – but it’s useful to get into such a pattern where you eat more regularly through out the day before you conceive, so that when it happens, you’re well on your way to a healthy pregnancy.

preconception diet


Menu  A

This menu consists of items that are easy to take along or pick-up on the way for a busy day.

– 1/2 a bagel
– 1 cup of yoghurt
– 1/2 cup orange juice

– Apple with peanut butter

– Chef salad (with egg and ham)
– Glass of milk

– Popcorn

– Cup of pasta
– Baked fish
– Dinner salad with egg and cheese
– Pudding

– Cheese and crackers


Menu B

This menu consists of items that require very little cooking.

– Bowl of fibre cereal
– 1 glass of milk
– 1 cup of fresh fruit

– Cottage cheese
– Whole-wheat crackers

– Egg salad on 1 slice whole-wheat toast
– Glass of milk

– Peanuts

– Meat and vegetables or
– Two minute noodles
– Dinner salad with cheese
– Instant pudding

– Fruit and yoghurt


healthy pregnancy diet

In Conclusion
The old phrase: “You are what you eat”, has its place when it comes to trying for a baby.

A healthy body – i.e. one that is fuelled daily with the right nutrients, provides a friendly environment for conception and growing a baby.

By eating correctly and avoiding all the bad stuff, you’re sure to help your body to function at its best, which will then hopefully also improve your chances of fertility.

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