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Today’s blog post is for a smaller niche group of people, however, this topic is so very important! If you one who is trying to conceive, there are very specific vitamins and minerals you will need even before pregnancy as adequate intake of these micro-nutrients will help to ensure a healthy pregnancy, and can even help with fertility. The following list contains vitamins and minerals that have extremely high importance during preconception due to documented deficiencies that tend to be common in pregnant women. Some are also noted for their ability to increase fertility chances while greatly reducing the incidence of certain birth defects in very early stages of pregnancy. By the way, even if you're not planning on becoming pregnant, these nutrients and their food sources are extremely effective for overall well-being.
All B vitamins are critical during preconception but vitamin B6 stands out as it is known to increase progesterone—a hormone needed to sustain your pregnancy after conception.
Superior Sources: spinach, cauliflower, sweet potato, garlic, chicken, turkey, wild salmon
Your body will be working overtime in the early stages of conception so building a strong immune system (with support from vitamin C) before conception and maintaining it throughout pregnancy is vital. Be sure to keep up with your vitamin C consumption as your immune system may naturally weaken once you are pregnant. Also, pairing foods that contain vitamin with iron sources will maximize iron absorption!
Superior Sources: bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, citrus fruits
Like most nutrients, the fetus draws calcium from you, so building your calcium stores before pregnancy is essential. Insufficient calcium intake can result in the breakdown of the maternal bones in order to transfer needed calcium to the fetus.
Superior Sources: kale, collard greens, oranges, sardines, canned salmon, almonds
Not as popular as folate, choline actually provides the same benefits (and sometimes is able to even take the place of folate) with regard to the prevention of neural tube defects. Research has shown that proper choline intake dramatically reduces the occurrence of brain, spine and spinal cord defects.
Superior Sources: eggs, shrimp, scallops, liver, wild salmon, cod, chicken, turkey, kale
Be sure to optimize your vitamin D levels if you are struggling with infertility (getting your levels checked is easy to do at your doctor’s office). Vitamin D helps to increase levels of estrogen and progesterone in women, which assists with menstrual cycle regulation. In addition, for men, vitamin D supports sperm count, quality semen, and testosterone levels. Sufficient vitamin D levels have also been associated with favorable conception outcomes in women who undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as in women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Once you have conceived, vitamin D deficiency among pregnant women is common and this deficiency has been linked to premature birth, as well as the occurrence of ailments such as asthma, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease in children who were born to mothers with insufficient levels so it is imperative to keep your levels optimal throughout your pregnancy.
Superior Sources: wild salmon, sardines, eggs, sunlight
According to some studies, lack of iron is associated with irregular and/or limited ovulation as well as the overall health of the egg which can create a rate of infertility that is considerably higher than women who consume adequate amounts of iron. Building your iron stores before conception is also important as your baby will use your iron which could lead to a deficiency.
Superior Sources: spinach, beans, lentils, quinoa, wild salmon, clams, oysters, beef, liver
Studies now suggest that adequate folate intake may improve progesterone levels which may help to regulate ovulation, making it easier to conceive. Possibly the most well-known pre-conception nutrient, significant research has also proven that adequate intake of folate greatly reduces neural tube defects. Neural tube defects occur within three to four weeks of conception (before many may even realize they are pregnant) so folate consumption is critical during the months before you conceive.
Superior Sources: Lentils, beans, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
Zinc plays a key role in conception as it helps to keep your hormones balanced throughout your menstrual cycle which is key for ovulation. Zinc also aids in the production of sperm and mature eggs that are prime for fertilization.
Superior Sources: sesame and pumpkin seeds, lentils, quinoa, oysters, shrimp, beef, lamb
In addition to proper vitamin and mineral intake, reaching a healthy weight before getting pregnant is essential as well. Now, if you’re one who has already had your baby and you’re trying to lose your post-pregnancy weight, check out our products that are just for you by clicking here!