We are continuing the conversation about creating healthy babies (especially in your 30s and 40s). And today we're going through what to eat and what supplements to take during pre-conception and pregnancy.
If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is of key importance that both you and your partner start preparing your bodies for conception 60-90 days in advance.
Here are some of my best tips that will guide you to do just that.
1) Greens and Alkalizing Vegetables
Last week, we talked about the importance of balancing your pH (the acid-alkaline balance of your blood) as a way of improving whole-body health and therefore decreasing inflammation. This creates an ideal environment for conception and makes pregnancy a much more enjoyable experience. It will decrease mineral deficiencies in mom during both pregnancy and post-partum, leading to more energy, better sleep, and more balanced moods (hormone surges not withstanding).
Here’s a short list of my favorite alkaline-forming foods and veggies:
Kale, collard greens, ginger, apple cider vinegar, daikon radish, sweet potatoes, sea vegetables, burdock root, pumpkin seeds, avocados, and raspberries.
2) Bee Pollen
This is a super food for your immune system; using bee pollen (both male and female) in your pre-conception phase will contribute to more virility. I recommend sprinkling it on salads, on top of smoothies, cereal, or on yogurt. Try to find it locally, as this is your healthiest option. And of course if you have a bee allergy, you will NOT take this advice.
3) Foods High in Folate (and folate in your pre-natal vitamins, ladies)
Know the difference between folic acid and folate and always choose folate. This is a key nutrient to prevent birth defects and to make sure the baby's neural tube (which forms the brain and spinal cord) forms correctly and to the best of its ability.
Natural folates are absorbed through your small intestine and are easily utilized.
Folic acid (the artificial form of folate) must be processed by the liver, which doesn’t contain a lot of enzymes to actually use it so a lot goes unmetabolized, which can be dangerous. You’ll see my recommendations for pre-natal vitamins below – all should contain folate and not folic acid.
High-folate foods to incorporate on the daily are lentils, asparagus, oranges, and avocados.
4) Raw Milk
This is controversial during pregnancy because of the bacteria, so you must trust the source. The reason I like using whole raw milk (if you are not sensitive to dairy) is because it will give you the perfect blend of 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat. This ratio is exactly what the thyroid needs to get fed and function well, especially if it is underactive. The thyroid plays a key role in ovulation. Plus, raw milk is full of good bacteria that can support your health and baby’s health in the womb.
You can read our blogs about raw milk to get all the details:
5 & 6) Water and Salt
Salt water is the lifeblood of the amniotic fluid. When you are told to avoid salt during pregnancy, you are being told to avoid sodium chloride (iodized salt), or table salt. Himalayan Pink Salt or Celtic Sea Salt contains all 84 essential trace minerals needed for so many addition functions in the body. Staying hydrated (34 ounces per 50 lbs of body weight) during pregnancy is one of the healthiest things you can do.
If you have questions about water quality, I have a detailed video about that here.
7 & 8) Bone Broth and Collagen
These are two must-have rock star foods for both mom and dad during preconception and are essential for baby during pregnancy. I give all the details about why bone broth is your magic elixir here.
8 & 9) Protein and Fat
If you only have a small window to eat because you are nauseous or not feeling well, make sure you get these two macronutrients in first. They are crucial to your health and hormonal balance, and to baby’s health.
10) Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C will keep you stress in check and your adrenals balanced. It will also contribute to the formation of baby’s skin, hair, and nails. My favorites are cauliflower, red bell peppers, camu camu powder, and papaya.
Now on to Supplements!
2) Fish Oil
Fish oil provides usable omega-3 fatty acids for baby’s brain development (and eventually their IQ), decreased inflammation, and proper immunity. Pure Encapsulations' Cod Liver Oil is our fav in this category.
3) Greens Complex
Greens complex is loaded with greens that are exceptionally high in chlorophyll, which oxygenate the blood and increase energy production. If you get a greens complex that has a bit of chlorella in it too, you will get a jump start on creating “clean and filtered” breast milk.
4) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the #1 nutrient deficiency I see in pre-conception and post-partum. Even being slightly deficient in Vitamin D has a huge impact so shoot for anywhere from 1000-3000iu per day based upon your blood work. We like this one because it has Vitamin K in it for better absorption and bone health.
5) Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly (for preconception in both female and male) is the Queen bee’s sole source of nutrition and the primary factor, many believe, in her incredible longevity and fertility. Queen bees live fifty times longer than regular bees. Can you imagine meeting a human who procreated every day AND lived 50 times longer than anyone else? I would definitely want to know what they were eating. 😉
Royal Jelly contains:
- Twenty-nine amino acids, eight of which are essential to humans
- Vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, and E
- Trace minerals, calcium, and iron
- Natural hormones
- Acetylcholine (needed to transmit nerve messages from cell to cell)
- Nucleic acids RNA and DNA
- Ecanoic acid (which possesses natural antibiotic abilities)
- Gamma globulin and adenylic nucleotides (for fighting infections and stimulating the immune system)
- Lipids and fatty acids
Maca (for preconception only) adaptogens are optional in the pre-conception phase but they can certainly help a lot. They are a family of herbs that help us adapt to stress. They are designed to calm, strengthen, and balance our stress and sex hormones. Maca is one of my favorites from the Andes for millennia. It’s appropriate to use this in preconception if you’ve been feeling depleted, imbalanced, or your periods are not regular. We love using maca to safely achieve hormonal balance.
Maca is a nourishing food for the entire hormonal system because it builds and strengthens both the pituitary and the thyroid gland, affecting the entire endocrine cascade thereafter.
Something many people don’t know about maca is that it has 13 different colors or phenotypes; yellow maca has been the only one implicated in female fertility and black maca is the hero for men’s fertility because of how well it supports sperm production and motility.
Probiotics (I could talk about good bacteria all day long) are ESSENTIAL to every aspect of our health. And now we’ve come across new research that says babies get their good bacteria from the amniotic fluid in the womb. This means you are actively building your baby’s immune system, digestive health, and potential for colic while baby is in the womb.
Our comprehensive book and plan on these “Five Trimesters” of pregnancy is available now. It’s called How to Conceive Naturally and Have a Healthy Pregnancy after 30. We could not be more excited about it!
Relevant Recipes We Love: