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7 Nutrients for Preconception Care You Need to Know!

7 Nutrients for Preconception Care You Need to Know!

Planning for a pregnancy is known as preconception care, addressing the health of mums and their partners prior to pregnancy. Poor health and diet of mums before and in early pregnancy can lead to impaired growth, poor birth outcomes and long-term effects on cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Preconception care helps to prevent pregnancy complications and results in the best outcomes for mums and bubs. Preconception care should start with a wholefood fertility diet alongside a tailored supplementation plan for a minimum of three months in order to correct any nutritional deficiencies. There is significant research that the implementation of a fertility diet improves ovulation, conception and the chances of the birth of a healthy child.

Here are 7 nutrients you need to supply your body with on the path of healthy reproduction and pregnancy

Omega 3’s

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required for health reproduction in both men and women. Omega 3s maintain the structural membrane in all cells and are important for regulating immune cells. This makes them vitally important to ensure that the sperm and egg cellular membrane are fluid and flexible, increasing fertility. They have also shown to reduce the risk of miscarriage by improved uterine blood flow. Once pregnant they are important for baby’s brain and eyesight development.

Sources of Omega 3’s:

  1. Oily fish (Wild Salmon, Mackerel, herring and Sardines)
  2. Avocado
  3. Organic pasture raised eggs
  4. Walnuts
  5. Chia and flax seeds

Co enzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is required for mitochondrial (our energy powerhouses) energy production, is an antioxidant in cell membranes and supports the immune and cardiovascular systems. This energy is important for all stages of conception, from ovulation to implantation. Because CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant it protects the health of the sperm and eggs from damage caused by environment, inflammation and age.

Sources of Coenzyme Q10:

  1. Oily fish (Wild Salmon, Mackerel, herring and Sardines)
  2. Oysters
  3. Organ meats (heart, liver, kidney)
  4. Spinach, cauliflower and broccoli
  5. Sesame seeds and pistachio

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is highly important in both male and female reproduction, it is required for collagen production, synthesis of hormones and an antioxidant to reduce oxidative damage. In addition to its protective effects against free radical damage, vitamin C protects against damage of folate and vitamin E, both are important for healthy fertility. Vitamin C plays an important role in ovulation and egg health. Vitamin C improves sperm in all parameters- count, motility and shape. A minor deficiency of Vitamin C has shown to cause damage to sperm reducing chances of conception.

Sources of Vitamin C:

  1. Capsicum (Red and Green)
  2. Spinach, cabbage, turnips greens and other leafy greens
  3. Broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower
  4. Kiwifruit, tomatoes, pineapple
  5. Citrus fruits
  6. Berries

Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is known to play an important role in all human cells and this is why it is crucial for reproduction and fertility. Zinc has antioxidant properties, protects against damage to the sperm and egg quality. Zinc plays a major role in sperm health for development, motility and shape. In women, it’s role is in the development of the egg and maintaining good hormonal health. It is also so important for mum to have optimal levels during the pregnancy.

Sources of Zinc:

  1. Oysters
  2. Lamb, Beef and Pork
  3. Legumes (Chickpeas, lentils)
  4. Seeds (Pumpkin)
  5. Nuts

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Most are probably aware of the importance of folate in preventing neural tube defects and spina bifida. Folate is especially important for preconception care because the neural tube closes in the first few weeks, before woman even know they are pregnant.
Folate is also required for healthy egg and sperm quality. Adequate folate levels improve sperm count, motility, and quality and reduce any chromosomally abnormal sperm.

Sources of Folate:

  1. Leafy greens (Spinach, endive, turnip greens, collard greens, kale)
  2. Brocolli, Brussel sprouts, Avocado
  3. Legumes (mung beans, chickpeas, black eyed beans, kidney)
  4. Seeds (Sunflower)

Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral, which plays a vital role in thyroid function. Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones which can impact conception, Adequate dietary intake of iodine during the preconception period is important. In women deficiency can affect the development of healthy eggs and in men it may result in poor sperm quality. Iodine is also essential during pregnancy for the healthy development of your baby, including brain function so having adequate stores prior to conception is important.

Sources of Iodine:

  1. Seaweed
  2. Saltwater fish
  3. Shellfish
  4. Sea salt

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is required for bone and hormonal health. It enhances fertility in both men and women, it is important in the production and transport of sperm. Supports implantation in women and is important for immunity and supports skeletal health in both the mum and the developing bub. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a risk factor for pre-eclampsia, so increasing your Vitamin D before conception is important.

Sources of Vitamin D:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Oily fish (Wild Salmon, Mackerel, herring and Sardines)
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Egg yolks

If your planning on starting or expanding your family and need help with incorporating a preconception care plan suited to your needs don’t hesitate to contact Diana on 0415513969, available at Health Space Kingsford.

Author: Diana Jovanovic

Diana Jovanovic is a qualified clinical Nutritionist at Health Space Kingsford. She is passionate about fertility, preconception care and pregnancy. Are you trying to conceive or planning a family in the near future?

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