Tips for Getting Your Body Ready for Pregnancy

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Quite a few friends have recently asked for nutrition tips surrounding getting their bodies ready for conception/pregnancy, so I have decided to compile a list of some of the most important changes I began to make prior to pregnancy.

Anything you can do to reduce your body’s toxin load as well as build up your body’s nutrient stores to correct nutrient deficiencies will help prepare your body to support a tiny human inside you for 40 weeks.

Although the below is not a comprehensive list, and would change depending on the current status of your body, nutrient deficiencies, and the what your current diet looks like, it is a great place to start.

  1. Vitamins: Start on prenatal vitamins now. It’s good to give your body time to build up nutrients because the baby may take what it needs, but it will leave you depleted. And of course, you want the baby to be able to get plenty of what it needs! I definitely recommend a whole food based vitamin, I found the Garden of Life Prenatal to be affordable, but also a really good quality. Plus, it also has probiotics, so that is a bonus. The recommendation is 3 pills per day for this particular vitamin. I took 1 with every meal, but if another schedule is easier for you, you could always take two in the morning with breakfast and one at night with dinner (or vice versa).
  2. Fats: Make sure you’re putting really high quality fats into your body and avoiding vegetable oils/canola oil/soybean oil as much as possible. I use coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or grass-fed butter (Kerry Gold, Organic Valley or Vital Farms). Grass-fed butter actually has a lot of other great nutrients (like vitamin A & K that are important and harder to get enough of in a standard American diet). It’s also important to eat your veggies with some source of quality fat to help absorb the nutrients. It’s better to cook with coconut oil, butter or avocado oil. Olive oil is better for salads/not cooking with it unless you are cooking at a low heat.
  3. Chicken/Meat/Eggs: Buy really high quality meat/chicken- 100% grass-fed beef/bison/lamb, Organic pasture raised chickens (“pastured” is different than just free range, which can be misleading). I purchase most of my meat through US Wellness Meats. The quality is amazing, and it gets shipped straight to your home. For chicken if I purchase it in a store, I usually buy Mary’s Organic chicken. Unfortunately, it still contains some soy, but soy-free chicken is fairly difficult to find/quite a bit more expensive. For eggs, I stick to Vital Farms. The more orange the egg yolk, the more nutrient dense the egg is. Stay away from light yellow egg yolks.
  4. Fish: Eat plenty of it – especially cold water fatty fish like salmon, halibut, etc. Also, sardines (if you can handle them) because they have an amazing nutrient profile and are inexpensive. Make fish is wild caught! Farmed fish has a different nutrient profile and does not have as many omega-3’s as wild caught fish. I would stay away from larger fish like swordfish, tuna and yellowtail because of the mercury content. I didn’t eat any for about 6 months prior to conceiving and didn’t eat any during pregnancy; continuing to not eat them now while breastfeeding. I would also recommend supplementing cod liver oil in moderate quantities (not going to lie, it does not taste good at all, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do) or you can also take Krill Oil as a great alternative.
  5. Produce: As much as possible, eat organic produce, and wash it well before eating (I used Grapefruit Seed Extract to wash my veggies/fruits even if they were organic while pregnant). At the very least, eat organic for the dirty dozen and conventional produce for the clean fifteen.
  6. Bone broth: Include in your diet as much as possible. Drink it warm with lemon, or just cook rice or quinoa in it instead of just water – so many good vitamins and minerals, but the quality of bones matters! My go-to recipe is: http://dontmesswithmama.com/how-to-make-homemade-stock-or-bonebroth/. The most cost-effective way to have broth on hand is to buy a whole chicken, roast it, clear off the meat and throw the bones in the slow cooker.  Then you have dinner, leftovers & broth! I make it, strain it, and then freeze it in mason jars until I’m ready to use it.
  7. Organ Meats: This is a tough one, even still for me, but finding ways to add them in to dishes (i.e. grating it into Bolognese sauce, meatballs, meatloaf, etc) is a good way to add it in. Also US Wellness Meats carries great options like Liverwurst, which is actually edible! (and great for the kids when they come)
  8. Other Supplements: 
    1. I also supplemented collagen (Vital Proteins or Great Lakes) in my smoothies as a protein source and to get a lot of the amino acid benefits bone broth provides (it’s pretty tasteless – I always throw it into smoothies).
    2. Desiccated Liver Pills – If you can’t stomach or figure out how to get organ meats in your diet, this is at least a good option for you.
  9. Skin Care: Being mindful of what you put on your skin/moving toward non-toxic beauty and cleaning supplies would be a top recommendation too. Our skin absorbs all of those chemicals so quickly and there is no barrier to protect from those toxins (especially products you use daily like deodorant, sunscreen, makeup, lotions, soaps etc.). If you’d like more specific recommendations, please contact me!
  10. Exercise/Sleep/Stress: Prioritize exercise and sleep!! Sleep is super important for hormones – which you want to be balanced to conceive! Exercise for health is important, but be mindful of focusing on exercise for weight loss. Stay active, and do activities your thoroughly enjoy (preferably outside). But most of all, continue to relax and have fun and include any activities that reduce stress for you – your mental state matters as well! 🙂
  11. Finally, it is important for your spouses to watch what they eat in terms of potentially toxic/harmful substances because those toxins can affect the amount and quality of his mini friends (;)).

Summary: Eat real, whole food that doesn’t come out of a box, and is as minimally processed as possible!

Resources: 

  1. Meg “the midwife” is a fantastic source of info on nutrients needed during pregnancy, is applicable prior to pregnancy: https://cavegirlplusone.com/blog/2013/9/16/how-to-eat-paleo-during-pregnancy-a-guide-to-every-trimester
  2. Real Food Liz – another amazing resource for everything baby related.
  3. Balanced Bites Podcasts (many great episodes on pregnancy, fertility, general nutrition, and entertainment).
  4. Healthy Moms Podcast – Information for moms and moms-to-be
  5. Mommypotamus

If you would like more information or would like to work with me to tailor a diet to best fit your needs, please contact me!

~Rachel

 

Any recommendations made above are for general use, and not meant for the purposes of medical diagnosis, treatment or prescribing of medicine for any disease. Please consult your doctor prior to starting or changing your diet.

Disclosure: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services listed above.

 

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