What nutrients are important for preconception?

Planning to fall pregnant can be one of the most exciting times in a women’s life. Like any new adventure, if possible its best to plan for the journey ahead prioritising the extra nutritional demands and support your body will need during this period.

Pregnancy is a time filled with physical and emotional challenges. Your body is working hard creating a whole new life from the nutritional building blocks you’re supplying.  Now more than ever, it’s important to try and eat a diet that includes a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to receive good amounts of vitamins and minerals. There are some key nutrients to keep in mind when planning your pregnancy.

Important preconception nutrients for woman

Folic acid is one of the most important minerals in your preconception plans. It is recommended that folic acid be taken daily for one month before conception and during pregnancy as it may reduce the risk of women having a child with birth defects of the brain and spinal cord such as the neural tube defects known as spina bifida and anencephaly. Healthcare professionals recommend supplementation before and during pregnancy to ensure sufficient amounts are being consumed in this period. Folic acid can also be found in vegetables including spinach, asparagus and broccoli, and fruits such as papaya, oranges and strawberries. See Folic Acid Complex

Iodine requirements are increased during pregnancy and lactation. Recently this mineral has received more attention as there has been an increase of people with iodine deficiencies in Australia. During pregnancy, adequate iodine is necessary for healthy brain, skeletal and central nervous system development. Recommended daily intake of iodine increases from 150mcg for a woman of child bearing age to 220mcg during pregnancy.  To meet the extra iodine requirements during pregnancy it is recommended that iodine supplementation be part of your preconception plans and also taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Iodine can also be found in foods including fish, eggs and foods containing seaweed such as sushi. See Folic Acid Complex

Overall, nutritional requirements increase when your pregnant and it’s important to ensure your preconception plans include sourcing foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Multivitamins formulated specifically for pregnancy may assist general well-being if taken prior to conception and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. See Pregnancy Plus 1-2-3 

What preconception nutrients are important for men?

Supporting the health of the father-to-be whilst planning to fall pregnant is important too. Men can also provide their pregnant partners with much needed support and care while you both prepare to welcome a newborn to the family. Male reproductive system care may address maintaining the health and motility (movement) of sperm in healthy individuals.

Selenium may assist in the healthy functioning of the male reproductive system and is required for healthy testosterone production. Selenium is also required for maintaining healthy sperm motility and maturation in healthy individuals. Food sources of selenium include seafood, beef, chicken and turkey and dairy products including milk and yoghurt. See Selenium 150 MAX

Zinc also helps support male reproductive health. It is important for the normal functioning of the prostate gland and is essential for the healthy formation and maturation of sperm in healthy individuals. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for zinc for men aged 19-70 years is 8mg daily. The absorption of zinc in significantly affected by the environment in the gastrointestinal tract and other vitamins and minerals such as iron. Zinc status can be easily and quickly estimated using a zinc tally test under the guidance of a naturopath or other healthcare professional. See Ultra Zinc+ 

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