Your diet is important for your fertility and pregnancy - SellmerDiers
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Your diet can have a big impact on your chances of getting pregnant – and subsequently a big impact on the development of the fetus. Read more in this blog post, where we summarise good dietary advice for fertility and pregnancy and tips for a method that you can use to ensure a good and sensible diet.

Many different factors can influence how easily a woman gets pregnant. You have probably heard that the woman’s age means a lot for her chances of pregnancy, which is primarily due to the fact that successful fertilisation becomes harder and harder over time. But other factors such as overweight, underweight or malnutrition can also have an impact. In general, the message is that stable healthy eating habits increase your chances of pregnancy and of giving birth to a healthy child who stays healthy, through adulthood as well. Researchers have shown that once you become pregnant, it is important for fetal development that you continue to make sure you eat the right diet. Below we have listed 5 good reasons to think about your diet when being pregnant:

  1. Obesity or severe weight gain during pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight as well as metabolic problems and obesity for the baby later in life1.
  2. Underweight is not healthy either. Lack of energy-giving nutrients in the fetal state gives rise to metabolic adaptation to a life with limited nutrition – ie. in the child, the body is prepared to utilise the nutrients optimally (low metabolism). This will most likely mean that the child will have trouble keeping a healthy weight2.
  3. Healthy diet (lots of vegetables, fruits and vegetable oils) reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia compared to more unhealthy diets (lots of meat, sugary drinks and salty snacks)3.
  4. You should also make sure you get enough protein, fat and carbohydrates. Protein is needed by both mother and fetus as an energy source, but also for the formation of e.g. hormones, antibodies and cellular components, especially muscle cells. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which the body itself can form most of, but the so-called essential amino acids we must get through our diet. Fat can also be formed by the body itself, but most polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential. The body needs fat for formation of hormones, nerves, cell membranes and optimal regulation of blood pressure and immune response. Carbohydrates have been much denounced in recent years, and it is also true that one can easily ingest an excess of carbohydrates, which the body thereby converts to and stores as fat. However, a stable moderate intake of complex carbohydrates such as starch and fiber is good for blood sugar levels and body function in general4.
  5. Do not underestimate the importance of minerals and vitamins. The body needs iron to maintain a normal blood percentage. Calcium is necessary for bone formation, the formation of healthy teeth and the entire motor function of the body, and a lack of calcium also increases the risk of pre-eclampsia and rickets (soft skull bones, wheel bone, growth retardation) in the fetus5,6. The uptake of calcium is dependent on vitamin D, which is why the above risks increase with a lack of vitamin D. Lack of folic acid increases the risk of spinal cord herniation in the fetus7.

A way to ensure a good and sensible diet is by using Sense. Here you put together your diet with the right distribution between vegetables, protein, starch / fruit and fat. Practically and more specifically, you measure the amount of food you need to eat with the palms of your hands. Then use the Sense “lunch boxes”, which are both a practical and a mental tool, to help you keep track of your meals. Each lunch box represents a meal. You have three lunch boxes available a day, each filled with your three to four handfuls of food plus one to three tablespoons of fat.

According to author Suzy Wengel, since she launched the concept in 2014, she has received several messages from users who say that they have succeeded in getting pregnant and having “Sense babies” after using her dietary advice.

Watch the video below where Suzy explains the simple and easy-to-use tools in Sense that can help you change your eating habits.

Read more about Sense here, where there is material and guide videos free-of-charge.

References
  1. Poston L (2012): Maternal obesity, gestational weight gain and diet as determinants of offspring long term health. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 26:627–639.
  2. Almond D and Currie J (2011): Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis. J Econ Perspectives 25, 153-172.
  3. Brantsaeter et al. (2009): A dietary pattern characterized by high intake of vegetables, fruits, and vegetable oils is associated with reduced risk of preeclampsia in nulliparous pregnant Norwegian women. J. Nutr. 139, 1162–1168.
  4. Amezcua-Prieto et al. (2019): Types of Carbohydrates Intake During Pregnancy and Frequency of a small for Gestational Age Newborn: A Case-Control Study. Nutrients. 11(3) 523.doi: 10.3390/nu11030523
  5. Hofmeyr et al. (2014): Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 6, CD001059.
  6. Pettifor JM (2014): Calcium and Vitamin D Metabolism in Children in Developing Countries. Ann Nutr Metab. 64 Suppl 2:15-22.
  7. Van Gool et al. (2018): Folic Acid and Primary Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: A Review. Reprod Toxicol. 80:73-84.
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