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Obtain Optimal Nutrition from Preconception to Lactation

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by: Megan Rostollan
Tags: lactation, nutrition, health news

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(NewsTarget) So you have decided it`s time to try for a baby. Congratulations! Your head is swimming with thoughts about the future, and whether you are mom or dad this is an exciting time. But let`s pause for a moment and consider: Good nutrition is more vital than ever now that you are trying to conceive. A healthy diet should be a regular part of life, but if it`s not currently, now is the time to start. For both mom and dad it is ideal to start improving your diet at least 3-12 months before conception.

Dads, your diet affects the health of your sperm; sperm contributes 50% of your child`s DNA. Diet and other lifestyle choices are as important for you as they are for mom. For example, excessive alcohol intake has been linked to male infertility by increasing estrogen levels, contributing to motility problems, and deforming the head of sperm, compromising viability (1). Soy can also reduce sperm count and quality (2). Focus on a diet high in organic produce, grass-fed meats, and healthy fats. Avoid tobacco completely and excess alcohol but don`t be afraid to indulge in a glass of wine on occasion as moderate alcohol intake does have health benefits (3).

Moms should avoid alcohol, smoking, and soy entirely (4). Proper nutrition protects your baby from diabetes, stroke, heart disease, memory loss, obesity, cancer and more. Healthy fats, protein, and the right balance of vitamins and minerals are essential.

Fat-soluble vitamins are vital for proper growth and development of your baby. Supplements may be necessary to obtain sufficient quantities of these vitamins, but they can be obtained through diet as well. Fat-soluble vitamins include K, E, A, and D. Vitamin K, E, and A are found in organ meats, eggs, and dark leafy greens. Vitamin E is also found in nuts and flaxseed, while vitamins K and A are also found in pastured butter, whole milk, and cheeses.

Vitamin D does not occur in sufficient quantity in foods. Recommended sources include milk, fish, and pork. However, one would have to consume 3 servings of wild caught salmon daily to obtain around 1000IU of vitamin D. This is far below the optimal dosage during pregnancy for most women. You could drink an entire gallon of milk for nearly 2000IU. But that is not advisable. Drinking 128oz of milk and having 3 servings of fish daily is expensive, impractical, and nearly impossible (especially during those early months of pregnancy when food is rarely appealing). Obtain vitamin D instead from exposure to sunlight. For those who do not spend sufficient time outdoors or who live above the 35 N latitude line, supplementing with a quality vitamin D softgel is prudent (5).

Protein intake is also important for the optimal health of future offspring. One study showed that a lack of protein during pregnancy can result in poor brain development while others have shown that a low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet results in decreased birth-weight and increased blood pressure later in life (6).

Proper nutrition should not stop after the pregnancy! The quality of your milk is dependent on diet; anything that your baby needs that you are not obtaining through diet and supplementation is going to be leached from your own tissues to keep up the quality of your milk supply (lactation increases protein needs by 20% compared to non-pregnant women).

So like dad, a diet focused on organic vegetables and low-sugar fruits, clean protein sources, and healthy fats is ideal before, during, and after pregnancy. These nutrients are all crucial to proper, healthy development of your child`s mind and body.


1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20090219
2. http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/1374-s...
3. http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/ful...
4. http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/699-ba...
5. https://www.naturalnews.com/027345_Vitamin_D_...
6. http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health...

About the author

Megan Rostollan is a Certified Family Herbalist and works with her husband David, a private natural health and nutrition consultant (www.reforminghealth.com). She is also the author of a blog which can be found at NaturalHousewifery.com. Her areas of greatest interest include women's reproductive and prenatal health, as well as organic and green living and dietary and lifestyle changes.

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