Healthy seeds, make healthy babies
Did you know that women are born with ALL the eggs they’ll ever have in their lifetime? Yes, you heard right - your fertility journey starts while you’re still in your Mother’s womb. Men, on the other hand, produce sperm throughout most of their lives and lifestyle choices have a profound impact on sperm health.
As women reach reproductive age, eggs are selectively matured and released each month. In order to ‘reset’ egg and sperm health, it is recommended that women and their partners plan for their pregnancies and optimise their health at least 4 months before first trying to conceive.
Healthy eggs and sperm are critically important for pregnancy success. Just pause for a moment and read that sentence again. It’s the deal maker. Imagine your uterus is the garden bed and your endometrium (the lining of your uterus) is the soil. The eggs we’ve talked about, matched with the healthy sperm you’ve collected, join to become the embryo. This embryo is like the seed. When your soil is dense in nutrients the seed is strong and vital, you have the best chance for your little seed to grow.
We know from nature that a healthy seed, planted in rich, fertile soil, watered perfectly is likely to thrive and live a robust healthy life. Just like your baby can. We also know that when the weather gets a bit rough; these plants are resilient enough to cope and survive the storm. We want this for our little ones too.
Processed foods impair fertility
So here’s something to consider. Obesity rates are rising globally (~1.9 billion people are overweight and ~650 million are obese). The effects of obesity can be devastating for couples trying to conceive. Obese women have poorer fertility than women who are a ‘healthy weight’. Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 27 (the healthy range is 18.5-24.9) find it 3-times harder to conceive; often because they don’t ovulate. For obese women who do ovulate, the quality of their eggs may be reduced, leading to lower chances of pregnancy.
Men's fertility is also negatively impacted by obesity including erectile dysfunction, reduced semen quality and lower pregnancy rates.
So what’s to blame for this epidemic?
Processed foods take the hit for much of the global burden of obesity. Processed foods mostly come wrapped in a package, contain artificial ingredients and will never be straight from Mother Earth. They are typically stripped of their micronutrients but loaded with energy, leaving our bodies malnourished and craving more food. Scientists are breaking down processed foods to identify which components may be the most harmful for reproductive health. Australian research suggests that specific components of highly processed foods, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), may directly impair the health of the uterus, leading to fertility problems.
Bad news all round, really. But the story CAN change if you want it to. Let’s now look at how you can achieve a healthier life for you and your baby.
What you eat in the years before pregnancy influences your pregnancy health
A healthy maternal diet up to three years before pregnancy optimises pregnancy outcomes and the long-term health of babies. Diets characterised by a high intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fish and low intake of red and processed meats are associated with lower risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure in pregnancy and preterm birth. Women whose diet is made up of mostly processed foods have an increased risk of preterm delivery and giving birth to shorter babies.
Whether you are planning for pregnancy/trying to conceive/receiving fertility assistance, what you eat matters. It really does.
Eat for You offers foods that are packed with the nutrients you need to prepare your body for your pregnancy journey.
Mothers are the key to prosperity and health
The World Health Organisation acknowledges that when mothers fail to get access to a variety of safe, healthy foods during pregnancy and lactation, it has long-term social and economic consequences. It’s a big picture problem. By optimising women's health, we in turn shape the health of our children and reduce the chronic disease burden that affects too many Australians today.
You can choose the foods your baby will prefer to eat
Your food choices during pregnancy influence your children’s future food preferences. Did you know that? It’s something we might prefer to avoid knowing if hot chips are the only food you feel you can stomach during pregnancy! But here’s the fact - by the second trimester, your baby has its taste buds and can taste the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid. Imagine being able to avoid dinner table frustrations (eat your vegetables!) before your babies are even born, simply by eating more vegetables yourself. Providing your baby with healthy foods at weaning reinforces this further.
What you eat builds your future family
We are what we eat, it’s a simple fact. The food we eat:
✔️Forms the building blocks of our babies’ bodies
✔️Provides the energy our babies need to grow
✔️Supports our body’s needs throughout pregnancy
✔️Prepares our body for after pregnancy.
Did you know that the choices you make during pregnancy also affect the health of your grandchildren? When you are pregnant with a girl, you are growing the eggs that will give rise to your grandchildren. You can set in motion the health of your grandchildren before your own child is even born. Now if that notion doesn’t blow your mind, we don’t know what will!
There are some foods pregnant women need to avoid
We’d wager a fair bet here at eat for baby that if you’re pregnant, or you’ve been pregnant, these warnings will be something you’ve come across. Because of changes in the immune system during pregnancy, women are at increased risk of serious consequences of infection from food-borne pathogens. There are some foods that are best avoided during pregnancy. The good news is, the list is quite short!
Eat for You offers foods that are packed with the nutrients your body is asking for, to meet the needs of you and your growing baby.
After birth, mothers need more energy and nutrients than at any other time in their life
Imagine (or remember) this. You’ve successfully conceived a baby (which we know is no easy feat), cradled it in your growing womb for the better part of a year and if that wasn’t enough responsibility for one person, you’ve then taken a deep dive to transition it earth side! Just writing that is tiring enough; it’s the most massive job anyone will ever undertake.
Understandably, mothers need increased nutrients to produce milk, replenish their stores and support wellbeing after pregnancy. Sleep deprivation, pain from delivery, the demands of breastfeeding and care of newborns are temporary situations that feel never ending. By their very nature, they are depleting and given most new mothers don’t prioritise their own nutrition or meal preparation, we end up getting ourselves into a bit of a pickle. Sound familiar?
A healthy and varied diet after pregnancy, eating the foods that were just as nutritious for you both before and during your pregnancy, ensures you get enough of the good stuff right when you (and baby) need it most.
Breastfeeding can be difficult, but good food choices can help
Feeding a new baby isn’t easy; whether it’s your first or fifth time. You may experience problems establishing a breastfeeding routine or feel rushed to return to work. If your community doesn’t accept and support breastfeeding it can act as a barrier and sometimes it can just feel downright inconvenient and tiresome.
What we know for a fact is that breastfeeding duration increases when mothers consume more fruit and vegetables. But wait, the story gets better.
Longer breastfeeding is also associated with better brain development in babies.
Now let’s put those two things together.
When mums eat more vegetables AND breastfeed for longer the research suggests that their children eat more vegetables. Boom! Do you need to read that again, just to make sure we weren’t making it up? A pretty motivating fact to increase your veggie intake, if you ask us.
The moral of the story? Let’s work together to help new mums get access to the support they need, including quality food, so they can offer their babies the best start to life.
We must build a village for all new mothers
The statistics for postpartum depression and anxiety are shocking: 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men in Australia experience antenatal depression and or anxiety.
All the women at Eat for You experienced some form of postpartum or ante natal depression. We are all constantly working to maintain our mental health, as we do our physical health. Let’s raise it to the surface in our conversations, so we can all help each other through the journey.
The consequences of postpartum depression and anxiety are dire.
Symptoms such as self-harm, inadequate caregiving and reduced breastfeeding are common. Long-term consequences include chronic maternal depression and cognitive behavioural problems in children. This may not be obvious to everyone but we are here to tell you that good nutrition is critical for the prevention of mental health problems.
After birth, women are more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies due to depletion of their stores during pregnancy and lactation. Low levels of specific nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, selenium and omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to postpartum depression and anxiety.
Eat for You offers foods that are packed with all these nutrients and more. We offer the perfect solution for new mothers to help them recover from pregnancy, support lactation and maintain overall wellbeing.