TOP10

The most important thing a woman can do when she finds out she is pregnant is eat nutrient dense foods. Pregnancy is not an excuse to eat whatever you want, it’s a time to nourish yourself and your baby. Ideally, it’s best to start preparing your body (and your partner’s body!) about 6-12 months prior to conception, but obviously, this is not realistic for everyone. So whether you are planning on getting pregnant or already are, here are my top 10 foods to eat to ensure a healthy mama, healthy baby and healthy birth.

To preface the top ten foods for pregnancy, it is important to recognize that these are the exact foods to heal and boost fertility. Women experiencing infertility often turn to doctors, hormonal treatments and IVF, when the first place women and men should start are their diets. Our bodies are designed to reproduce. If they are incapable, this is often, though not always, indicative of nutrient deficiencies. The following are the exact foods, in no particular order, that will both heal and boost pregnancy.

Egg Yolks

First, let me say that throwing out the yolks and eating the egg whites is not only disgusting, but entirely counter productive. The bulk of the vitamins and minerals in an egg are contained in the yolk! That’s liquid gold, baby! Eggs are high EPA and DHA, vitamins A, E, D, and K, as well as choline. Choline is essential for proper liver, brain and nervous function. I suggest eating the egg yolks raw. Make sure they are from a trusted, pastured source. They go great in smoothies and soups. I add eggs yolks to Scott’s (a self-proclaimed egg hater) morning protein shake everyday and he has no idea.

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

FCLO is also high in vitamins A, E, D and K. Vitamin A encourages proper development of the kidneys, lungs and face. It also promotes a full-term labor. FCLO is extremely high in D, which helps develop bones. I eat FCLO everyday, and plan to continue it during pregnancy, to up my chances of having a baby with a face and bones. I recommend Green Pastured Butter/Cod Liver Oil Blend.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is wonderful in so many different ways. I love it. It’s rich in collagen too, which helps prevent and reverse cellulite and stretch marks! It’s rich in calcium, phosphorous and several other vitamins and minerals. It also helps seal the lining of the gut.

Bone broth is super easy to make, just throw chicken or beef bones, onions, carrots, salt and apple cider vinegar in a crock pot, cover with water and simmer for 24 hours.

Fermented Foods

You can make your own fermented foods or easily buy them at the store. While it’s been on my to-do list for years, I haven’t actually made my own fermented foods. I know, I’m terrible. But I just find it so much more convenient to buy them. Fermented foods can be easily obtained at the grocery store. I buy Bubbies sauerkraut and pickles, as well as kimchi. I also drink raw milk kefir from my farmer. I suggest eating fermented foods with every meal to assist with digestion. They also provide the good bacteria, or “probiotics” that are so essential to our GI tract. This is crucially important for baby. Babies need this good bacteria, and it will reduce the risk of autism. The creator of the GAPS diet, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains,

What I see in the families of autistic children is that 100 percent of mom’s of autistic children have abnormal gut flora and health problems related to that. But then I look at grandmothers on the mother’s side, and I find that the grandmothers also have abnormal gut flora, but much milder.”

Probiotic supplements are also a great addition, THIS is my favorite brand.

Liver

Gram for gram, liver is the most nutritious food on earth. I can’t sing its praises enough. Liver is a high quality protein and is nature’s most concentrated form of vitamin A. It is high in iron, copper and zinc. It is a great source of folic acid. It contains all of the B vitamins, particularly B12. Liver is amazing. Eat it!

And if you can’t stomach eating liver, take THIS grass-fed and organic liver supplement.

Seafood

In traditional cultures, seafood was highly prized. Tribes would often travel long distances to obtain these delicious, nutritious sea creatures. Seafoods, particularly fatty fishes like salmon and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This is great for mama and baby. Omega-3 fatty acids will reduce inflammation. I love all seafood, but oysters are at the top of my list. I plan on eating a lot of raw oysters when I’m knocked up, not only because I love them, but they are extremely high in zinc. And I am not at all worried about eating them raw because I’ve never seen any accurate evidence to discourage me from doing so, and I doubt you have either. If you are concerned about the mercury in fish, please read this post by Chris Kresser, and throw that notion out of the window.

Coconut Oil and Butter

I grouped these two together because they’re sort of similar in the sense that they’re both amazingly nutritious and also two fats I regularly cook with. And also because top 11 foods for pregnancy just does not have the same ring to it. Coconut oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.  It is rich in lauric acid, which boosts mama and baby’s immune system. Butter is also rich in vitamins A, E, D and K. It is high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has strong anti-carcinogenic effects. Also, butter is tasty as hell.

I like this brand of coconut oil. You can also rub it on your tummy to help prevent stretch marks!

Grass-fed Beef

Like butter, grass-fed beef if high in vitamins A, E, D and K as well is CLA. It has a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than grain-fed cows. It is a great form of easily absorbable iron and is also easily digested.

Fish Eggs

In traditional cultures, fish eggs were reserved for women and men preparing for conception, pregnant women and small children. Like liver, it is a sacred food. They are extremely high in vitamin D, as well as A, E and K. A great source of zinc, iodine and DHA. Fish eggs make healthy babies.

Veggies

Obviously, eat your veggies. Veggies are great for mama and growing baby. Particularly the leafy greens. Eat your kale, eat your spinach, eat whatever you like. Make sure to douse it all in butter or another traditional fat for the added health boost and to be able to digest all those fat soluble vitamins.

Remember that baby is only as healthy as the mother.  I fully understand that pregnant women get cravings, but that is no excuse to go out and eat Taco Bell. I guarantee that whatever a pregnant woman craves can be made healthier. Want a burger? Make it yourself! Craving cheese? Go to your local farmers market or Whole Foods and grab some grass-fed and raw dairy!

While I did not specifically include dairy in this list, grass-fed and raw dairy is an excellent source of vitamins. We often think of superfoods as fruits and vegetables, and while I agree that fruits and vegetables are extremely nutritious, they are not exactly super nutrient dense foods. We often mistakenly consider them superfoods because they have been marketed to us as such. In reality, liver, egg yolks, bone broth, these are superfoods. They are considerably higher in vitamins and minerals and should be eaten liberally throughout pregnancy.

To read more about the role of these vitamins and mineral in pregnancy, read this post.

The-Top-10-Foods-For-Pregnancy-And-Fertility

14 responses on “Top 10 Foods for Pregnancy and Fertility

  1. Sveta

    “I eat FCLO everyday, and plan to continue it during pregnancy, to up my chances of having a baby with a face and bones” – something is missing in this sentence? 🙂

      1. Billie

        Don’t forget that in addition to properly formed skeletal structure the fats in FCLO also will promote healthy brain function. Love this article!

  2. Kathleen

    I get the feeling after reading this that you haven’t been pregnant yet? I am in the middle of my second pregnancy and almost everything on your list would make me run for the nearest toilet (with the exception of coconut oil/ butter, beef and certain veggies). I’ve had a huge aversion to eggs during both pregnancies, unfortunately since I normally love them! And just curious, are you suggesting to eat raw eggs just when you’re trying to get pregnant? Or during pregnancy? I thought even under-cooked eggs were a ‘no-no’.

    You’ve presented lots of different options for a healthy diet during pregnancy other than the obvious “eat your vegetables” so thanks for that! Going to go see if I can stomach some fermented food!

    1. dani stout Post author

      Haha not yet. Raw eggs are great because they contain choline, the eggs have to be from a trusted, organic, pastured source though. Also it’s easy to hide liver in things like meatballs, meat sauce, etc.

    2. Natasha

      I’m having serious food aversion, which is completely new this time around, and frustrating because I don’t want any fats. (Well, logically I want fats, but my upchuck reflex does not.) What I’m doing is taking lemon water or other citrus/acidic drinks beforehand so I can stomach the food I need to eat. So far the only thing I still have not been able to choke down is anything with olive oil or olives, but there are lots of alternatives.

      Raw egg yolks I can’t do, but then I normally don’t do well with eggs (mild allergy). Fried or hard boiled I can handle occasionally.

      I also think a good addition to this list would be sea vegetables. I make sure to eat seaweed especially during pregnancy.

  3. Carly

    I literally eat at least 7 of these foods everyday. The list above is my basic diet, and I excercise moderately, and am a healthy weight, but…. Have been trying to get pregnant for 9 months with my second child for 9 months. Actively trying! Diet isn’t everything obviously. Any other suggestions? Thank you!

    1. dani stout Post author

      A lot of women have success with acupuncture. How is your stress/sleep cycle? Are your periods normal? It could be a hormonal imbalance.

  4. Hika

    Hi, just wanted to mention that high intake of vitamin A is not recommended for pregnant woman and so is liver consumption.

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