By Laura MacDonald
Anyone who has experienced the “two-week wait” knows the rollercoaster of emotions that it brings with it. In case you are not familiar, this phase refers to the time between ovulation and your expected period. Following the two-week wait, women will be able to determine if they have become pregnant or not. While this can be an incredibly stressful time, eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet consisting of whole foods is a great way to support your body and manage any anxiety you might be feeling. Check out some foods below that can be incorporated into your diet to support fertility during this time:
If the baby dust worked it’s magic, implantation and early embryo development are energy and nutrient-hungry processes, so now is not the time to be skimping on carbohydrates. However, that being said, it’s important to pick the right type of carbohydrates. Whilst refined carbohydrates (highly processed and white carbohydrates) can cause spikes in blood sugar, which are detrimental to fertility, complex carbohydrates such as root vegetables, brown varieties of pasta, rice and bread, or grains like buckwheat and quinoa can help support blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates are also fantastic sources of fiber, which feeds your friendly gut bacteria and helps to eliminate toxins and keeps things regular. Many complex carbohydrates are also packed full of nutrients, like B vitamins and magnesium, which can help to keep you feeling calm in what can be an anxious couple of weeks for many women.
One thing we want to avoid during the two-week wait is inflammation, and some of the most anti-inflammatory foods are fats. Not only is getting healthy fat sources into every meal going to be helpful for conception and implantation, but it’s also beneficial for managing symptoms if your period arrives. Try incorporating foods like nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, and eggs. Since omega-3 is a type of fat that is particularly important for fetal development, including a couple of portions of oily fish or grass-fed meat each week can be helpful too. Not interested in these types of foods? Many women opt to take an omega-3 supplement during preconception and pregnancy.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which I like to think of as little building blocks. If you have a successful implantation, you’re going to need plenty of building blocks to start growing your baby! Whilst a small amount of animal protein can be useful, plant protein is powerful stuff too, so try distracting yourself from the two-week wait by getting inventive in the kitchen with some new vegetarian recipes. Beans and lentils, tofu, tempeh, and nuts and seeds are great sources of plant protein. Protein also helps to slow the release of energy from food into the bloodstream, which supports healthy blood sugar balance. One amino acid in particular, ‘L-tryptophan’, can be changed to serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps to regulate sleep, which we need plenty of during the two week wait, and also helps to boost mood. Time to pack on the protein!
A Rainbow of Vegetables Everyday
Never underestimate the power of vegetables! Different colors provide different antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant chemicals) with a whole host of health benefits, so eating a variety of veggies everyday is a fantastic way to support fertility. Yellow and orange vegetables are particularly good for supporting the hormone progesterone, which is the queen of the luteal phase and a crucial part of the two-week wait. Dark leafy greens are especially good with an evening meal because most are good sources of magnesium, which has been nicknamed ‘nature’s tranquilizer,’ and can help calm some of the anxiety that often accompanies this period of time. If you’re still unsure which veggies to mix into your diet, just try to include as many colors as possible!
About Laura MacDonald
Laura MacDonald specialises in nutrition for fertility and hormonal balance and sees her clients online. For more information or to work with Laura directly, visit her website at www.lmnutrition.co.uk