Nutrition significantly impacts many areas of health and wellbeing, particularly during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum as you nourish yourself and your little one.
The first 1,000 days (which starts three months before conception and continues to their second birthday) is a period of critical development for your little one in almost every area of their life. Your child’s ability to develop, learn, and thrive is significantly impacted by how well or poorly their mother and they are fed and cared for throughout this period. So it’s important to do it right!
In the three months before conception, it is important to focus on nutrients needed for egg and sperm development and ensure nutrient levels are optimal for the demands of pregnancy. This assists in reducing the time to conception and is important to reduce symptoms and complications during pregnancy. Dad’s nutrition also matters as paternal nutrition status at conception has been linked to the future child’s health.
There are many factors involved in conception, and nutrition can assist in improving a significant number of these – regardless of if we’re looking at natural or assisted conception.
Regarding female conception factors, we can’t increase egg quantity but we can increase egg quality. We can also support the endometrial lining and increase embryo receptivity to improve the chances of successful implantation.
When looking at sperm health, we look at the number, shape and movement (motility), along with semen health. These factors can also be influenced by good nutrition.
Meeting your nutritional requirements in pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of miscarriage, reduce symptoms in pregnancy (such as nausea, vomiting and fatigue), reduce the risk of complications including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, improve the management of complications if they do occur, improve recovery from childbirth and reduce the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately prenatal vitamins are not enough to meet the nutritional demands of pregnancy, which are significantly higher than usual. Seeing a clinical nutritionist ensures you’re meeting your nutritional requirements for your and your child’s health, now and into the future.
In the postpartum period, nutrition is vital for replenishing the nutrients lost during pregnancy and childbirth, supporting breastmilk production and reducing the risk of mastitis if you choose to breastfeed, and reducing the risk of postpartum symptoms such as postpartum depression and anxiety. Particular nutrients and supplements can also reduce after-birth pains, abdominal cramping, constipation, fatigue, body aches and night sweats.
It will take a while for your hormones to stabilise after the birth of your little one, and it is common to notice when your cycle comes back that it’s not the same as before. If you’re seeing an increase in hormonal-related symptoms such as period pain, PMS or significant changes to your cycle, there may be a nutritional deficiency contributing to a hormonal imbalance.
If you want more information on nutrition for reproductive health, preconception, pregnancy and postpartum, you can follow Court on Instagram or Facebook or book a consultation. No referral is required, and the fees are claimable on private health insurance.
Court is a clinical nutritionist passionate about creating healthy families. Court works with women to optimise their nutrition for hormonal and reproductive health, fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum care with a practical, scientifically-backed approach.