We all know the importance of being healthy &vital in pregnancy & making sure we meet the nutritional needs for mum & bub but what does this mean in real terms?? We are inundated with folate needs in pre-conception care and the first trimester of pregnancy, but what about other increased needs? What about dads role? What are his increased needs? Most emphasis is placed on the mumma to be... diet, wellbeing, making sure all these needs are met. Dad's role is just as important!!
Mostly we see advertising aimed at the newly pregnant mum and the importance
of getting enough folate. In fact the appropriate time to start taking folate is 1 month
before conception therefore 1 month before you start trying to conceive.
Other needs include increased Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A&D, Essential fatty
acids and Iodine. Simple measures such as switching to monounsaturated fats,
vegetable rather than animal protein & a low GI fibre rich diet can also be a factor!
Dads diet is just as important!!
In fact dads are encouraged to get on board much earlier. Developing sperm is a 90 day
process therefore what a man eats today will determine the health of his sperm in 90
days from now! So that essentially means dads need to ensure a healthy diet 3 months before conception!
Firstly their diet needs to be rich in Omega 3 for sperm production & to ensure quality and quantity are optimum a dads diet should be rich in Zinc, Folate & Vitamin D. Deficiency in Iron or Copper can also be a factor in the health of sperm. Once formed, protection from free radicals in needed therefore antioxidants are required including Vitamin C, E & Selenium.
So it is equally important that both mum & dad are getting essential nutrients and maintain a well balanced diet & weight to ensure optimum chances of conception.
A big concern for lots on mums is weight. How much should you gain in pregnancy? How fast should you gain it? How many extra calories should you be eating? This differs with every woman depending on pre-pregnancy weight and health. Health issues such as PCOS, Coeliac disease, diabetes or being overweight or underweight can all bring increased needs & a little extra management to keep things in check throughout the pregnancy.
Eating for two?!? Its always a great thing in pregnancy to think.. well I'm eating for 2 so lets go for it!! While there is an increased need for extra nutrients eating the right foods is still very important. We need to think quality not quantity!! The actual extra energy intake required is actually not as much as you would think.
First Trimester - no extra energy required.
Second Trimester - 330 calories/day required.
Third Trimester - 450 calories/day required.
So again the Quality of the food we eat is much more important than the Quantity! For mums & Dads!
I hope you have gained the importance of a healthy diet through pregnancy & more so the importance of pre-conception diet especially for dads to be!