Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Foods for Fertility (Guest Post)

January 26th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Science of Nutrition, Upgraded Nutrition

photo credit: frankdeleine

This is a guest post from my dear friend Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up, where she dishes out on foods for fertility all the time. (Did you see why we’re talking about babies?)

Eating during pregnancy is a very common topic surrounding pregnant women; either they can’t keep it down, or they can’t get enough! But do you know exactly how important the foods you eat during pregnancy really are?

We’re constantly faced with the realization that on average our children’s health is failing, and problems during pregnancy are all too common. It is my personal belief that some of this may be due to the fact that we’ve veered so far away from the food that God has intended for us to eat. We are to be stewards of our bodies and I can’t think of a time when this would be more important!

Foods for Fertility and Conception

How long did it take you to plan your wedding day? Did you spend hours on the phone talking with florists, caterers, and reception halls? Did you try on dress after dress looking for just the right one at the right price? Where you one of those girls that dreamed about your weeding day from the time you were a little girl?

A wedding day is fleeting, lasting but a moment in our marriages.

How much more important is it then to focus, plan, and prepare your body for nourishing a new little life?

Eating for pregnancy also needs to start in the months before conception to prepare a solid nutritional foundation from which your baby will grow. Both the sperm and the egg have a lifespan of over 3 months, meaning that the genetic material contained within these two pieces of flesh, that God weaves together to create life, need nurturing long before they are joined together.

Eating nutritious foods before conception is not only important for boosting your fertility, but also for the health of your baby and your own health during pregnancy. But, the foods that now stock our super market shelves, while they may feed our bodies, do little to actually nourish it.

So what do we eat before conception?

In the most basic and simple terms, we need to eat whole foods.

  • Unadulterated and unprocessed
  • Free from preservatives, flavor enhancers, and artificial coloring
  • Grown without the use of chemicals
  • From animals that are humanely treated, fed only what their bodies need, and are not injected with hormones or antibiotics
  • Foods prepared in a such a way that we absorb the most nutrients possible

It’s important that we take steps to seek out clean and safe foods, foods that will build nutrient stores for proper fetal development, so that when we see those two little pink lines, we know we’ve done everything that is within our own power to give baby the best start possible.

I’m a big fan of going back to the basics, and eating in a way that our great, great grandparents probably did. It’s not a popular thought, for sure, as most modern advice is based around the standard American diet; one that is full of processed foods and “enriched” foods that we’ve been duped into thinking are healthy. But there are some key elements to a diet that many of us are sorely missing.

photo credit: Minimalist Photography

Nutrients for Preconception

Dairy and seafoods seemed to be prominent fertility foods just a century ago, yet today we eat them very differently. Unfortunately most of us eating a modern American diet are severely lacking in the following essential nutrients due to the common thought that many of the foods that contain large amounts of them should be avoided.

Vitamin A: fat soluble vitamin that promotes better cervical fluid and helps make sure follicles develop correctly

Vitamin D: fat soluble vitamin that supports the production of estrogen in both men and women¹ , is needed for insulin production, and is key in regulating cell growth and deciding how those cells grow.

Vitamin E: plays an important role in sperm production, may help normalize hormone production, and is needed for proper absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

Vitamin K2: (referred to as activator X by Weston Price) is important in helping the body utilize proteins by working in combination with Vitamins A&D.

Iodine: a mineral needed for thyroid function and the production of sex hormones² and the utilization of iodine requires vitamin A.

Omega-3 fats: helps regulate hormones, increases cervical fluid, promotes ovulation, and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs.³

All of these nutrients can be readily found in eggs, whole milk and other whole dairy products, butter, organ meats, and seafood. And along with these foods of course are the multitude of water-soluble (the above mentioned are fat soluble vitamins) vitamins and minerals from a variety of fresh produce and properly prepared grains and legumes.

Just as important as getting good foods into our bodies is avoiding foods that essentially rob our body of nutrients, as seen in the fertility diet foods to avoid. Sugar and refined flours as well as soy, caffeine, alcohol, and the many preservatives found in common foods cause our bodies to use its vitamin reserves to digest and eliminate them from the body.

Now, what if you’re already pregnant and haven’t eaten a diet full of whole foods?

Is the health of your baby been tossed out with the bath water?

Tomorrow we’ll cover the basics of how a woman should eat during pregnancy and what she can do to nourish her baby no matter her diet when life was formed within her, but I also want to end with one last thought today. Eating well before conception is important, but we must not make an idol of it.

“Show me a transcript of the words you’ve spoken, typed, or texted (or thought) in the course of a day, an account of your doings, and a record of your transactions, and I’ll show you your religion.” David Dark

My strongest belief is that God, the one true Author of Life, has a hand in the health of our babies. Before, during, and after pregnancy. Sometimes, even when we feel we’ve done everything right, things don’t go as we planned. Maybe a health issue comes up for mom or baby, maybe the pregnancy isn’t carried to term.

God’s will trumps all and we must not forget to focus on Him first and nutrition for our little ones will fall into place.

Thank you, Donielle, for your always excellent info on natural fertility – do visit her over at Naturally Knocked Up for the Sugar Detox Challenge, great recipes, and the Natural Fertility Workshop. Donielle is a Master Herbalist student, and natural momma to two littles after struggling with infertility. She has a passion for spreading the word on how food truly affects our fertility.


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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Katie @ Wellness Mama

    Great article. I work with a lot of women on improving fertility and these changes really do make a big difference. Sad to say, there are so many dietary and environmental factors working against us women these days, that a healthy foundation through nutrition really does help a lot! Treating the body as a whole and giving it the nutrients it needs to heal itself and balance hormones is a process that has many other benefits for women and gives a baby the best nutrition from conception on.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Joyce

    If anyone is having true infertility problems, I suggest you get yourself to a really good Chinese Herbalist ASAP. If anyone really wants to know all the details of my “secondary” infertility, I would be glad to share them, but the long and the short of it is that I had a healthy baby girl at the age of 44 without using any fertility drugs, just Chinese Herbs. Plus, I had an absolute, unshakable belief that God wanted me to have another baby and it happened for me!

    Joyce

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Weekend Wanderings

    [...] Foods for Fertility and Superfoods for Pregnancy – Yes, what you eat does matter! [...]

  • Julie

    Katie – could you link to “tomorrow’s” post within this post? I forwarded a link to this post to a few friends and I think they would read “tomorrow’s post” if you made it easy. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Julie, You bet! It’s done now. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • danijel

    great article, you can read some more at our new website

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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