By Allison Duck
Nutrition and fitness are important aspects for conception, pregnancyWhen families having trouble conceiving need help, many of them turn to Dr. Bruce Shapiro and Dr. Said Daneshmand of The Fertility Center of Las Vegas. Along with the team of doctors, the Fertility Center also offers nutrition and fitness advice from registered dietician, medical nutritionist and certified personal trainer, Lory Hayon.
“As we age, we are less efficient at absorbing nutrients. A balanced prenatal supplement containing 800mcg of folic acid is recommended.” Women of childbearing age who are attempting to conceive should begin these supplements and women undergoing fertility treatment should begin them three months prior to the transfer of an embryo.
With the current popularity of organic and gluten-free diets, Hayon weighs in on these options.
“Gluten-free is a current buzz word for sure, but maintaining a gluten-free diet has not been scientifically proven to increase fertility or play any role in improving pregnancy outcomes. Moreover, it is the amount and quality of grain products consumed that may play a factor, especially for women who are pre-diabetic or insulin resistant. As far as organic, research indicates that organic is not necessarily any more nutritious than conventional and it is certainly not pesticide- or chemical-free. There are certain acceptable insecticide products used to treat organic crops. Many women opt to go organic to limit exposure to chemical pesticides, but if it becomes cost-prohibitive, most registered dietitians would agree, it would be better to consume conventional produce than none at all.”
For women on a vegetarian or vegan diet, Hayon recommends they meet with a registered dietician early on during pregnancy or before pregnancy to allow the establishment of a well-balanced diet that will meet most of the needs of the vegetarian during pregnancy. “The vegan will need additional supplementation of B12, which is a vitamin found predominately in animal products or fortified foods such as breakfast cereal,” Hayon said.
As far as morning sickness goes, Hayon explains that it is important to keep meals and snacks evenly spaced to cut down on the nausea. “Also, foods easy to digest and relatively low in fat will be better tolerated. This is why saltine crackers are generally recommended during bouts of morning sickness.”
Lactose-intolerant mothers want to be sure to get enough calcium during pregnancy. Hayon generally suggests supplements as a last resort because food products contain more vitamins, minerals and protein than a supplement.
She says, “There are plenty of lactose-free options such as soy milk, almond milk, or lactose-free milk products to choose from. When using the alternatives though, you always want to shake the container prior to pouring, as the calcium and vitamin D is added during manufacturing and tends to sink to the bottom of the carton. Calcium can also be found in cheese and yogurt, almonds, and certain green vegetables.”
In addition to diet, maintaining an exercise regimen is very important to a fit pregnancy.
According to Hayon, “Women can generally continue their current activity well into the first two trimesters, although every woman is different as far as risk factors and should seek the advice of their medical professional. Things generally to be avoided include Bikram yoga, or hot Pilates. All pregnant women should avoid any exercises that require her to be laying flat on back after the first trimester, because this position may reduce the oxygen to the baby.”
To obtain more information about maintaining fitness and proper nutrition during pregnancy, visit fertilitycenterlv.com.