Could the foods your mom ate during pregnancy affect your chances of becoming a mother? According to a study from British researchers, access to quality nutrition during prenatal development and the first year of life may play a role in future fertility.
Published December 17, 2010, in the journal Ecology, the study looked at poor families in Finland in the 19th century. Researchers found that when children were born in a year in which both rye and barley crop yields were low (commonly eaten grains in Finland), approximately 50 percent of male and female children would not go on to have children of their own. When grains were in ample supply during a bumper harvest year, however, almost everyone born into a poor family that year would go on to have at least one child over the course of their lifetimes.
A curious fact from history or relevant information for couples today who are trying to conceive? According to study author Dr. Ian Rickard from the UK’s University of Sheffield, "Our results show that the food received by children born into poor families had an influence on their later reproductive success. These results have implications for our understanding of early environmental effects on human and animal health and will help shed light on our current understanding of fertility and whether it is influenced by individual or social factors."
So what exactly should you be eating to make sure you will be able to provide your baby with ample nourishment from the very beginning? A healthy preconception diet should mirror a healthy prenatal diet. This means following a menu that includes healthy fats, lean proteins, good sources of calcium, whole grains, fruits, and plenty of vegetables, including several servings of spinach, collards, kale and other leafy greens, veggies that are rich in folic acid and other important vitamins and trace minerals.