The decision to try for a baby is a really exciting time. To increase your chances of conceiving there are a few diet and lifestyle choices that you and your partner can make. Following this advice will also help ensure a healthy pregnancy and the best start to life for your unborn child.
A healthy diet and lifestyle is important throughout life but particularly so when you are trying for a baby and during pregnancy. Your diet and lifestyle not only influences your health and fertility but can also affect your growing baby. And men are not exempt – diet and lifestyle affects their fertility too.
Importance of being a healthy weight
Being a healthy weight can help to increase your chances of conceiving – being both over and underweight are not ideal when you are trying for a baby. A healthy weight means a Body Mass Index (BMI) score of 18.5 - 25. To work out your BMI go here. If you are a healthy weight then you are less likely to have complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and it is best for the health of your baby too.
If your BMI is higher than 25 then it is recommended that you lose weight before you try for a baby. Weight loss during pregnancy is not recommended as it may harm the fetus – so you need to achieve a healthy weight before you become pregnant.
Pre-pregnancy weight loss tips include:
- Set goals for small steps – this is not a time for fad diets or quick fixes. Aiming to lose 1-2 pounds a week (0.5-1kg) is a healthy rate of weight loss. Write down your goals and weigh yourself at the same time once a week to check your progress.
- Eat a healthy, varied diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, low-fat dairy products, legumes and lean meat.
- Decrease the amount of energy dense foods that you are eating, particularly foods high in fat and/or sugar (e.g. fried foods, biscuits, confectionery and soft drinks). Protein foods such as lean meat, chicken and fish are a good source of nutrients and will help to keep you feeling full for longer.
- Boost your fitness – physical activity can help you to burn off extra calories. It’s also been shown to help support a healthy pregnancy.
For more information about losing weight and keeping it off see here.
- © British Nutrition Foundation 2011