It’s important for women who are trying for a baby to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet in combination with a pre-pregnancy supplement, like Elevit, every day. Doing so will help provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to help with a healthy pregnancy.
Getting sufficient nutrients through food alone can be hard
Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to meet the increased nutritional needs of pregnancy through diet alone. For example, you’d need to eat the following amount of foods every day to reach the recommended requirements of the following 3 essential nutrients for pregnancy*:
- Folic acid: around 700g of cooked spinach or 15 slices of bread
- Iodine: around 200g of oysters or 6 eggs
- Iron: around 900g of red meat or 250g of chicken livers.
*Estimates based on Food Standards Australia New Zealand, NUTTAB 2010.
That’s why pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplements like Elevit have been developed to help meet the increased nutritional needs throughout pre-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Eating for fertility
Despite this, a healthy and well-balanced eating plan for both you and your partner, can support your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy.
Fertility menu for her
- Eat plenty of fibre-rich carbohydrates like fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
- Choose whole milk over skim milk or eat a serve of low-fat yoghurt every day.
- Reduce the amount of coffee you drink, and avoid alcohol and sugary soft drinks. Drink lots of water instead.
- Cut down the amount of sugar you take. Use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey or agave nectar instead of white table sugar.
Fertility menu for him
- Men should increase their zinc and vitamin E intake. A supplement like Menevit is specifically designed for male fertility.
- Include fenugreek in his diet as it has high levels of vitamins A and D, which can help with sexual desire and impotence. It can also increase the body’s metabolism, giving him more energy for sex.
- Eat organic foods as much as possible. Pesticides can affect delicate hormone balances and male sperm production.
You may even like to try aphrodisiacs like ginger, oysters and dark chocolate, to help get you both in the mood!
The basis of a healthy diet
A healthy eating plan contains a balance of different kinds of nutritious foods. The Australian Dietary guidelines recommend a daily diet that includes 5 serves of vegetables, 2 serves of fruit, 6 serves of grains like rice or pasta, 2.5 serves of meats or fish, and 2.5 serves of low fat dairy.
Also, some foods like saturated fats, salt and sugar are not good for us if eaten too much. To help reduce the amount of these in your diet, it’s recommended to switch to unsaturated fats like oils and spreads instead of butter, and cut down the amount of processed or fast food you eat.
Your water intake is also very important to your health. Aim to drink at least 2 litres a day.
It’s also recommended to follow this simple advice when it comes to planning a pregnancy:
- Avoid alcohol. The safest option is to stop drinking whilst trying to conceive, pregnant and breastfeeding.
- Avoid foods that may contain listeria. These include deli favourites like soft cheeses, paté, cold meats, pre-prepared salads, raw or smoked seafood and raw eggs. Make sure any eggs, meat and fish you eat is cooked right through.
- Be choosy with your fish. Some fish may contain more mercury than others, so Food Standards Australia New Zealand offer guidelines on their consumption. They suggest when trying to conceive you may eat 2–3 serves (1 serve is about 150 g) per week of most types of fish with the following exceptions:
- if you choose orange roughy or catfish, have only 1 serve a week, and no other fish during that week.
- if you choose shark (flake), broadbill, marlin and swordfish, have only 1 serve a fortnight, and no other fish during that fortnight.
- Cut back on caffeine. Try to keep your caffeine consumption to a maximum of 200 mg per day, which is equivalent to about 2 espressos. Don’t forget caffeine’s in chocolate, tea, some soft and energy drinks too.
Pregnancy increases your need for certain vitamins and minerals that are essential to support the development of a healthy baby
Nutritional needs increase when pregnant
There are 3 main reasons why it’s important to take a pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplement like Elevit while planning to conceive:
- Pregnancy is one of the most nutritionally demanding periods you can go through. In fact, whilst pregnant, the recommended dietary intake of nutrients increases by up to 150%3. Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to guarantee you’ll get sufficient quantities through diet alone.
- The first few weeks of pregnancy are a critical time in baby’s development. This is when the neural tube that forms baby’s brain and spinal cord develops. Often by the time you find out that you’re pregnant, a little person is already coming to life. To ensure that your baby has the essential nutrients during the first few weeks of critical development, start taking Elevit when you start trying to conceive.
- It can take time for your body to build up the essential nutrients it needs to prepare for the increased requirements of pregnancy. Elevit is formulated to meet the increased needs of mother-to-be and help provide her growing baby with the best possible nutritional support throughout its whole development. So, start taking Elevit when you start trying for a baby.
Key vitamins and minerals that are essential to baby’s healthy development include folic acid, iron and iodine:
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, before most women find out that they’re pregnant, the neural tube has already developed, or closed. The neural tube forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, which is essential to the central nervous system. A woman’s nutritional folate status can play an important role in the formation of the neural tube. Folic acid, the supplemental form of folate, is clinically proven7 to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Therefore it’s important to take a pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplement with folic acid while you’re planning to conceive like Elevit. Elevit contains 800 mcg of folic acid.
Iodine helps with development of the brain and nervous system of babies and young children. Pregnancy increases your need for iodine, and your developing baby is solely dependent on you for an adequate supply. Elevit contains 220 mcg of iodine to assist in baby’s brain development.
A diet low in iron can contribute to ovulation problems, making it harder for you to conceive. Your iron requirements also increase significantly with pregnancy as you make more blood for yourself and your baby. Iron is important to help prevent dietary iron deficiency and has benefits for baby’s development too. Elevit contains 60 mg of elemental iron.
Elevit contains the highest level of folic acid and iron of any pregnancy multivitamin in Australia**
Elevit supports you through planning for pregnancy
Elevit is specifically formulated for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant and breastfeeding. Folic acid is clinically proven7 to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida, iron helps prevent dietary iron deficiency and iodine is an important nutrient for your baby’s brain development. In fact, Elevit contains more folic acid and iron than any other pregnancy multivitamin in Australia** and a high level of iodine to support the healthy development of your baby.
Elevit is a once daily tablet that can be taken any time
of the day. Ideally start taking Elevit at least one month prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding.
You may need to make other lifestyle changes
As well as adopting a healthy pre-pregnancy diet and getting sufficient nutrients, you should take a look at your lifestyle choices. You may need to make changes there too, to increase your chances of a happy, healthy pregnancy.
**As at September 2014.
If you have any pre-existing thyroid condition, you should seek medical advice before taking supplements containing iodine.
If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect / spina bifida, seek specific medical advice.