Today on the podcast:

Ali Cunningham is a nutritionist and registered dietician that specializes in subfertility and pre-pregnancy preparation.

She has extensive experience working with people with PCOS and subfertility and contributed to the National Clinical Guidelines for Nutrition in Pregnancy and she has also completed training in Behavior Change, the low FODMAP diet and PCOS.

Today’s podcast is for anybody interested in preparing their body for pregnancy in the next 6-12 months.

Although the plan was to focus on female fertility, we talked a lot about how men can prepare too (if a couple is struggling).

Please feel free to pass this podcast on to any friends or family members who would benefit from listening.

Episode Outline

  • 06:38 What got Ali interested in subfertility and pre-pregnancy preparation
  • 10:31 The foods to avoid and what to include
  • 11:22 The pro-fertility diet (for women and adjustments needed for men)
  • 18:55 The main emotional, physical, and physiological barriers to planned pregnancy
  • 20:48 Alcohol and caffeine – can you have them or not?
  • 23:43 The importance of sleep and the best way to track ovulation
  • 25:48 Exercise and pregnancy prep
  • 28:08 Ensuring food safety once you are pregnant
  • 31:18 The role of supplementation in pregnancy prep
  • 34:57 Looking at the quality of your eggs
  • 36:34 Stress management
  • 38:51 Common misconceptions around getting pregnant
  • 40:10 The importance of communications between both partners and having a support network
  • 44:10 What blood tests can tell you about your ability to conceive

Key Points

  • Genes are programmed in the womb. When a mother dedicates herself to a high-quality diet, their baby’s risk of chronic disease and obesity is reduced. Note that it’s not only psychological stress that impacts fertility, but diet as well—both overnutrition and undernutrition. Ensure that you have a colourful plate of food for each meal, a fourth of which is filled with low-GI carbohydrate, and the rest split between vegetables and high-quality protein (lean towards seafood and plant-based proteins).
  • While preparing for pregnancy, get your fluids in order: Drink a lot of water and (preferably) abstain from alcohol. With regards to caffeine, a high intake has been linked to longer time to conception as well as higher risk of miscarriage. The guideline in pregnancy or pre-conception is less than 200mg of caffeine per day—approximately one cup of coffee or up to four cups of tea.
  • Bad sleep can negatively impact ovarian reserves. Commit to a bedtime routine: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time most days. Get light exposure in the morning and limit your caffeine. Consider supplementation such as magnesium and avoid blue light when you’re winding down for bed.

Powerful Quotes by Ali

  • What a woman eats through pregnancy not only impacts the growth and impact of a baby, but it actually impacts their lifelong health.
  • It only takes one egg to become pregnant so we all need to be looking at the quality of our eggs.

Guest Info

Ali Cunningham

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