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    Diet & Nutrition

     How effective is preconception nutrition in preparing your body for pregnancy? 

    Written on 15 February 2019

    Expert Verified

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO

    Preconception nutrition plays a vital role in preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy because most of the pregnancies are unplanned. If your body weight, height, eating habits, workout routine, and lifestyle are not healthy and balanced then these substances can hinder fertility in both men and women. Amid busy life focusing on health can be a neglected topic however if you want to improve your chances of getting pregnant and conceive faster then it’s important to eat healthy foods and follow a healthy lifestyle. Your poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and intake of supplements can lead to hormonal imbalance which hinders the process of conception. All the experts across the globe agree that a woman should be healthier before getting pregnant and for that, you need to focus on preconception nutrition at least 3 months before planning of conception. Do not hum and haw to consult a doctor about preconception health if you are planning to conceive. Do not forget to discuss the below-mentioned points with your physician:

    • Family planning

    • How and when to consume folic acid

    • Vaccines and screenings if required like Pap test and other screenings for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) including HIV

    • Find out how to manage health problems such as asthma, depression, obesity, thyroid, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

    • Never hesitate to discuss issues related to your mental health and other stress factors

    • The medicines or dietary supplements that you use for instance over-the-counter, prescribed drugs, herbal, or any other

    • How to improve your overall health

    • Health problems that are genetic in both families (men and women)

    • How to avoid common illnesses like cold, cough, stomach upset, fever, gastric issues

    Many people don’t eat a balanced diet or invest ample time in exercising therefore they lack proper nutritional status which is much needed before bringing a new life into this world. Here’s a list of suggestions that you must keep in mind before beginning preconception care:

    • Food rich in Folic acid- It improves fertility in both men and women, improves the sperm count and quality, and lowers the risk of neural tube defects in a baby. You can consume cereals (oats, wheat, rice, barley, and cornmeal), legumes (soybean, rajma), green leafy vegetables (beans, spinach, Methi, broccoli, spring onion, cabbage), and citrus fruits like grapes, lemons, and orange).

    • Food rich in protein and calcium- It helps in ovulation and for that, you can consume cheese, tofu, milk, fish, peas, curd, and paneer.

    • Food rich in iron- The deficiency of iron can lead to anemia and miscarriage and to avoid this you must consume sunflower seeds, pumpkin, tofu, fortified cereals, spinach, and soybean.

    • Nuts and seeds- By consuming chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, almonds, dates, and pistachios you can lower the levels of stress because these miraculous nuts and seeds provide immense energy to your body.

    • Fresh fruits and seasonal vegetables- It helps in lowering stress levels and remove free radicals because they are high in antioxidants. It also protects your body from viral and bacterial infections. You can consume strawberry, orange, sweet lime, grapes, apple, capsicum, sprouts whole, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.

    • Things to remove- Alcohol, cigarettes, canned foods, aerated beverages, artificial sweeteners, second-hand smoke, recreational drugs, caffeine, processed foods and drinks, junk foods, oily and sugary foods. Consumption of such things will increase your weight and hinders the fertilization process.

    Before embracing motherhood and preparing your body for pregnancy you can follow these dietary tips:

    • Have a healthy nutritious breakfast.

    • Do not skip meals. Instead of taking 3 large meals, you must consume 5 smaller frequent meals.

    • Maintain your BMI (Body Mass Index) and it should range between 18.5 - 24.9.

    • Prefer more plant-based options to consume iron-rich and protein-rich foods.

    • Invest ample time in physical activities like Yoga, jogging, Zumba, Pilates, aerobics, and brisk walking.

    • Do not let your body get dehydrated or sleep-deprived.

    • Be careful if your job demands you to get exposed to chemicals, toxins, or other hazardous chemicals.

    You can consult a certified nutritionist before you decide to conceive. A healthy lifestyle with a nutritional dietary plan along with physical activities will ensure a happy, healthy, and safe pregnancy.

    Is this helpful?



    Verified Article by

    Kusum Sabharwal

    Obstetrician & Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO
    Written by



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