By Ms. Avni Kaul
Nutritionist, Wellness Coach & Certified Diabetic Educator, Founder, NutriActivania
Late pregnancy is on the rise in many metropolitan Indian cities. A lot of couples are now delaying their plans of having a baby due to several factors, like marrying late, giving more time to their relationship, prioritizing their career goals over life goals and ensuring financial security to fulfill a child’s needs. However, planning pregnancy at 35 plus increases certain risks like low fertility, premature birth, and birth defects. Hence planning pregnancy at such age requires higher medical attention and good care of nutritional intake.
Delhi’s leading pregnancy dietician and nutritionist Avni Kaul says if a woman is planning for late age pregnancy then she must maintain a balanced daily nutritional intake to improve her fertility and reduce late age pregnancy-related risks like miscarriage, placenta previa, and gestational diabetes.
In this article, Avni Kaul speaks about essential nutrients to eat for the woman who is into her late 30s prior to pregnancy.
If you have avoided fats in the past, this is the time to reconsider. Fats rich in omega fatty acids or monounsaturated fats increases your odds of conceiving. They also play an important part in healthy brain development for babies.
Healthy fats found in oils, nuts, and seeds are rich in anti-aging, fertility boosting anti-oxidants and omega fatty acids. Fat is fertility friendly.
Organic oils, such as olive, sesame and coconut oil. Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, flax seeds, and walnuts. And have butter from grass-fed cows.
Fruits and Vegetables
You all must have heard your mother saying regarding fruits and vegetables “eat your fruits and veggies”. Look for at least 6 to 10 servings every day to boost fertility and ensure a healthier pregnancy.
Vegetables and fruits are filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients that not only improve fertility but overall health. Green vegetables are especially good at regulating hormone levels and therefore putting your body in the best shape to conceive.”
Leafy vegetables and fruits are also a potent source of folic acid. If you take folic acid prior to conception that reduces the risk of neural tube defects in a developing fetus, such as spina bifida. These defects can lead to mental retardation, paralysis or even death. Start taking a vitamin supplement with folic acid prior to pregnancy. You should take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily if you are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant.
Veggies such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, beets, and mushrooms. While in fruits, go for the low-sugared fruits, like the berries, melons, grapefruit, and avocado.
For ages, you have been told to eat less red meat and eggs due to their high levels of saturated fat. Recently, researchers have found that saturated fats are not always the culprits. When taken in reasonable amounts, they’re actually great for you and can boost fertility.
These foods, preferably organic and from grass-fed or pastured animals are rich in hormone-balancing essential nutrients like iron, vitamin B and fertility promoting saturated fats. The saturated fats present in animal protein must not be avoided rather they should be embraced, particularly when one is trying to improve their fertility as these fats are rich in fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K that will help improve egg quality and reproductive health.
Ideally, you should take 75 grams of protein every day. Eat at least 4 servings of protein-rich foods at meals. Include protein into two snacks, as well. Low-sugar yogurt is an ideal snack.
Slash Or Reduce Sugar
Women in their 30s or even 40s, particularly those who are overweight, are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Lower or eliminate soda, energy drinks and fruit punches from your diet. Check out for sugar lurking in processed foods, canned soups, and sauces in the form of cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and maltose.
By removing sugar now, you’ll lower blood sugar levels, which decreases inflammation and boosts fertility. You are also setting the stage for healthy weight gain during pregnancy, which can lower your risk of gestational diabetes.
Things You Should Avoid
Besides adding more vegetables, protein, and nutrients to your diet, there are some components you must avoid while pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Raw milk, meat, shellfish, eggs, and unpasteurized cheeses are strictly prohibited. These products may contain bacteria, such as salmonella or listeria, which are known to cause miscarriages or other health-related complications.
Consumption of caffeine might increase your risk of miscarriage, though it is very much safe in moderate amounts. Reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet before you become pregnant. Once, you become pregnant, stay away from using caffeine for at least the first trimester. Consume not more than 200 milligrams of caffeine later in pregnancy, which is equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee. Caffeine can increase the risk of not an only miscarriage, but low birth weight and premature birth.
Alcohol consumption can create significant impairment for a growing fetus. It’s best to remove it from your diet completely when you are looking to become pregnant and throughout your pregnancy. You should also avoid eating fish as they may be high in mercury. Also avoid fish caught in local lakes and streams, which could be exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls. These contaminants have been associated with brain damage and developmental delays in babies.