Congratulations on your decision to become parents and to optimise your health for both you and your baby. Conception involves both female and male partners equally. That’s why it’s essential to support the health of both partners in the time leading up to conception, in order to give your new baby the very best start in life. Preconception care is the ultimate in preventative medicine. Ideally both partners have the opportunity to assess and address any issues that may compromise fertility, as well as take the time to reduce any toxic exposure, achieve a healthy body composition and build nutritional credit to provide every opportunity for fertility, an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy baby. Stress and nutrition are major environmental signals that influence both fertility and the developing foetus, making these important areas of focus to educate prospective parents in the preconception phase of growing their family.

Healthy parents make healthy babies

Preconception care should ideally begin at least 4 months before conception attempts. This preparation time is necessary as the ova (eggs) take 3 months to mature and 2-4 months for sperm to develop. Ensuring the health of the sperm and ova by managing oxidative stress, reducing toxicity and providing nutritional support reduces the risk of miscarriage and supports a full-term uncomplicated pregnancy.

Men are often overlooked in the preconception stages, but their contribution of half the genetic material is extremely important. Sperm production requires adequate nutritional levels and an absence of chemicals – since sperm are susceptible to oxidative damage from temperature, environmental and dietary toxins, toxins and radiation, so including both partners in a preconception care
program is vital. 

Take our Health Appraisal Questionnaire to check your overall levels of health and address any concerns. 

By taking action before pregnancy, you can help prevent many future complications for yourself, improve your ability to conceive, support your growing baby and influence the health of your child.

Nutritional care during pregnancy

As with preconception, pregnancy requires specific nutritional and lifestyle support. Consider two main factors: 

  • You are now creating the physical structure of your child. From conception to the end of the first trimester the foetus increases two and a half million times in mass. This growth process takes a vast amount of energy and nutrition, therefore it is important to eat a nutrient dense diet.
  • As your baby continues to develop and grow, it’s important to ensure that both you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need through the second and third trimesters to support growth, development and recovery following birth. Our experienced Adelaide naturopath will assess your nutritional status and provide healthy food plans for you to follow during pregnancy and beyond.

What about dad?

Pregnancy is a really important not just for mum, but also for dad. Diet, exercise, stress management and sleep are the building blocks for dads to also remain fit and energised for the exciting and busy times ahead. 

Food guidelines for optimal health

Do you want your child to love their vegetables? If so, you need to start early. What a woman eats during pregnancy not only nourishes her baby in the womb, but may also shape the food preferences of her child later in life. At 21 weeks, your growing baby begins to gulp down several millilitres of amniotic fluid daily. That fluid surrounding your baby is actually flavoured by the foods and beverages you have eaten in the previous few hours. Consequently, eating a variety of foods throughout the day will help you get the nutrients you require, as well as influence the palate of your child. The diet should include:.

  • Good quality animal protein (25-30%) derived from a variety of sources including meat, fish, legumes, organic chicken, nuts and seeds and some dairy. This is important to provide the appropriate levels of essential amino acids..
  • Include fibre in every meal, such as vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts.
  • Include small amounts of good fats at each meal, such as olives, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, fish, nut butters..
  • Eat organic foods wherever possible.
  • Deficiencies in essential fatty acids, in particular the omega-3 class derived from fish and flaxseed, are relatively common in Australia and should be addressed..
  • Avoid or greatly reduce ultra-processed foods such as biscuits, cereal, bread, pasta, pastries, refined flour, sweeteners, fruit juices and soft drinks..
  • Drink filtered water.

Make safe food choices

During pregnancy, hormonal changes suppress a woman’s immune system and can make her more susceptible to infection. Pregnant women are routinely warned about Listeriosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria occurs naturally in the environment; however, some foods carry a greater risk of contamination. While infection is uncommon, if it occurs during pregnancy, there is a high risk that it will be transmitted to your unborn child, which can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, still birth or premature birth.

Diet and lifestyle tips for a healthy pregnancy

Ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night.

  • Aim to drink plenty water throughout the day – even if it means more trips to the bathroom.
  • Incorporate regular relaxation practices, such as pregnancy yoga and meditation. Not all postures are appropriate in pregnancy, so follow the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher.
  •  Maintain a reasonable work-life balance. Allow adequate down time and rest breaks when you need them. Take time to become aware of your body and stop when you need to.
  •  Maintain an appropriate level of daily physical activity. Not only will this boost your energy levels, but it will help you maintain an appropriate pregnancy weight during each trimester.
  •  Manage any stressful circumstances as best you can. Ask family, friends or your practitioner for support as needed.
  •  Minimise your toxin load by reducing your exposure to environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, cosmetic and chemical cleaning products.
  •  Avoidance of alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and other drugs is strongly recommended. Infertility, increased miscarriage, birth defects, and low birth weight have been documented in women and men exposed to these common recreational drugs.
  •  Avoid exposure to toxins – household cleaners, petrol fumes, paints, glues and solvents, chlorine, insecticides, etc.
  •  Should testing show the presence of toxic metals, then heavy metal clearance procedures (detox), should be undertaken as part of this process (in males and females).
  •  Exercise more than 2 hours a week to support healthy blood sugar. Exercise also reduces stress, normalises weight and increases pelvic circulation, providing sperm and eggs with nourishment.

Treating symptoms experienced during pregnancy

Suffering from morning sickness

Up to 70-80% of women experience mild to moderate nausea and 50% experience vomiting. Symptoms can occur at any time of day and generally involve changes in appetite and strong aversions to food. 

For many women, these symptoms resolve after the first trimester.

  • Eat foods higher in vitamin B6, such as animal protein, eggs, nuts, potatoes and bananas.
  • Consume protein with each meal and snack to help maintain stable blood glucose levels. 
  • Avoid getting too hungry as this tends to increase nausea.
  • Maintain fluid intake – healthy smoothies will add some interest to your water intake through the day.
  • Increase rest and avoid excessive fatigue.

Bad reflux

  •  Avoid eating and drinking large volumes – consume smaller meal sizes with increased frequency.
  • Minimise or avoid chocolate, coffee, citrus, tomato juice and soft drinks as these tend to contribute to reflux.
  • Ensure that you sit up after meals, and avoid lying down for at least an hour after meals.

Constant fatigue

  • Make sure you are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Allow for adequate rest time after busier periods.
  • Maintain an optimal diet – sufficient nutrition is required for adequate energy production.
  • Magnesium, B vitamins and iron levels can impact your energy.

Manage any emotional stress that is draining your energy – gentle exercise, meditation and massage can all be beneficial.

Hands of female chiropractor massaging shoulders of young woman lying on massage table. Concept of physical therapy treatment ,neck pressure point.

Aching muscles and cramping

  • Consuming a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs and parsnips can help increase magnesium intake.
  • Supplementation of a highly absorbable form of magnesium can help provide relief.

Colds and flu

Make sure you are eating a variety of red, yellow and orange fruit and vegetables which are all high in vitamin C and other antioxidants.

  • Ensure you are having sufficient rest – a lack of sleep can deplete your immune system.
  • Stay away from people who are unwell if possible.
  • Take a specific pregnancy probiotic, which will help boost your natural immunity.


  • Include fibre in every meal in the form of fruit, vegetables and ground seeds such as flaxseed and hemp. Also, remember to sip water throughout the day.
  • Once again, there is a specific probiotic available that is suitable for pregnancy which will assist with bowels movements. Speak to our experienced Adelaide naturopath for something suitable

Tips for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding helps give your babies the best start in life, providing key nutrients for health, development and protection against disease.

  • Try to use the first few days after birth to get your position and attachment in a way that is comfortable for you and baby.
  • Be patient and kind to yourself. Breastfeeding is a skill you and baby are learning together and this takes time and practice. If you are feeling frustrated, stop and try again. If baby is distressed, ask someone to keep them distracted until you feel more relaxed.
  • Try to feed on demand or based on need. You will start to understand your baby’s needs. Frequent and effective feeding can help you produce enough milk for your baby.