Healthy Eating Tips If Youre Trying To Get Pregnant
Overwhelmed? Dont be. You dont have to eat a perfect diet just tell yourself what youll tell your child some day: Do the best you can. And by starting to prioritize healthy eating habits now, itll be easier to stick to a healthy diet once you get pregnant.
When in doubt, keep these strategies in mind:
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect Before Youre Expecting, 2nd Edition, Heidi Murkoff.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Nutrition During Pregnancy, June 2020.
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Iodine, September 2020.
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Iron, February 2020.
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Calcium, March 2020.
Avoid: Caffeinated Tea And Coffee
For some, it can be hard to picture going nine months without a cup of coffee or strong, black tea. Though, you don’t actually have to give up caffeine in its entirety. According to the American Pregnancy Association , moderate levels of caffeine anywhere from 150 to 300 milligrams per day have not been linked to any negative effects on pregnancy. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not just coffee and tea that contain caffeine. Chocolate, soda, and even some types of medicine contain the stimulant. It can be easy to go well over 300 milligrams without even realizing.
Of course, you may choose to play it safe and do without caffeine altogether. In fact, the APA says that “avoiding caffeine as much as possible is your safest course of action.” This is partly because an unborn baby is incapable of metabolizing caffeine the way an adult can. “Even a small amount of caffeine can cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy,” the APA cautioned.
Why Each Ingredient Is Good For You
Lemon Lemon is chock-full of Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant for fertility, and is thought to prevent age-related decline in ovarian function. Vitamin C is also associated with a shorter time until pregnancy. The lemon peel has pectin which helps emulsify the fats you add in and the lemon oils. Lemon peel also has additional antioxidants which are crucial for developing healthy eggs . Supposedly some of the substances in the lemon peel also help remove harmful forms of estrogen from your body .
Ginger Ginger is an incredible food that reduces inflammatory responses in the body and encourages healthy, gentle, detoxification . It also helps in overall digestion, which increases your ability to nourish yourself. Further, it is believed to stimulate circulation of blood in the body- making sure plenty gets to your uterus and eggs!
Walnut Oil or other Fat- Getting enough essential fatty acids is absolutely crucial to fertility. Body fat cells produce estrogen which is essential for getting pregnant. Low body fat can lead to infertility problems such as anovulation. Ladies, babies are made from protein and fat! You need to consume healthy fats! I use Walnut Oil because it is good for endometriosis and provides me with Omega-3s. You can sub in whatever is most appropriate for you and your condition- flax oil, coconut butter , fish oil, or other healthy fat. Coconut butter tastes the best! :-). This is the kind of coconut butter I use!
You May Like: Does Donating Plasma Affect Fertility
Early Pregnancy And Drinking
What if alcohol was consumed before you knew you were pregnant? Remember that once you get a positive pregnancy test result back, youre already considered four weeks pregnant. The embryo, which will hopefully develop into a healthy baby, has already existed for two or more weeks.
If you drank alcohol during preconception or are currently trying to conceive and have not yet stopped drinking, you may have the following questions:
- Could drinking while trying to conceive cause harm to a fetus?
- Does drinking lower fertility and make it harder to get pregnant?
- Will drinking in early pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage?
The short answer is that the research is mixedand some of the evidence conflicts with the position that top health organizations have taken on the matter.
The Muddled Picture Of Alcohol And Getting Pregnant
Keep in line with the recommendations of the CDC In other words, women actively trying to conceive should abstain from alcohol. This is also true for those undergoing fertility treatments as well.
Yes, the occasional alcoholic beverage outside of your treatment time may not be detrimental. However, those who prefer to err on the side of caution should eliminate alcohol altogether. This is certainly our recommendation despite the mixed findings in the scientific literature.
But what if you just experienced an unsuccessful cycle?
Or you lost a pregnancy?
Then, by all means, do what feels right to you.
Consider a glass of red wine instead of a sugar-laden cocktail or beer filled with extra carbohydrates.
Either way, dont guilt yourself.
And if youre at a social function and you dont want to feel awkward with an empty hand , then opt for a club soda with lime OR discreetly ask the bartender to make you a mocktail no one will be any wiser.
Don’t Miss: Vagisil During Pregnancy
Try These Foods To Eat To Help With Fertility
The best diet for you is one thats made up of delicious and nutritious foods that you enjoy eating but fertility and nutrition experts agree that these nine foods are real power players in terms of the nutrients they offer, so if you dont have them on the menu regularly now, you may want to add them to the mix.
Fertility Glow Green Smoothie
Every woman struggling with her fertility needs to eat foods that are as close to nature as possible whole food, real food. With busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to get all the servings of whole foods that you need. Thats why the first thing I always recommend to help increase fertility is to drink a fertility smoothie every day.
A smoothie is my idea of fast food, but with whole foods. It is an easy, fast and delicious way to power up your diet. You can pack a lot of nutrition into a smoothie and just blend and go. With a smoothie, you may be able to pack in more fruits, veggies and healthy fats than you would normally get from meals alone.
So, what makes this smoothie a fertility smoothie? Quality foods nourish your body and provide the building blocks for ovulation. An added bonus of eating whole foods is you get a big dose of fiber, too. Fiber is a foundational nutrient that helps regulate blood sugar. Getting your blood sugar under control is crucial when it comes to addressing fertility issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and hormonal imbalances. When making your smoothie, try to use the absolute best ingredients. You will never find dairy products in my fertility smoothies because of the mucous and acidifying effect it has on the body. You also wont find any soy products because of the negative effect they have on hormones.
Read Also: Can You Donate Plasma When Pregnant
Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks
Also known as switchel, these drinks contain a mixture of water, lemon or lime, fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar and a little sweetener like honey, maple syrup or black strap molasses. Fruit can be added for an additional twist. This drink is refreshing and can help restore electrolytes making it a great option for what to drink in the first trimester to stay hydrated through morning sickness.
It can also help with pregnancy indigestion, inflammation and balancing blood sugar. Read more about the benefits of drinking switchel here.
This homemade drink is a great substitute for sugary sports drinks.
A post shared by Lisa on Feb 8, 2019 at 10:09am PST
Don’t Worry About The Best Positions For Getting Pregnant
Myths abound about the best positions for getting pregnant, but they are just that — myths. There is really no scientific evidence saying that the missionary position is better than the woman being on top when it comes to maximizing your chances of making a baby.
“Very rarely, a woman’s cervix is in an unusual position where certain positions can make a difference,” Goldfarb tells WebMD.
Certain gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing during intercourse, however, may discourage sperm from traveling upstream. “It’s a matter of gravity you don’t want all the semen to run out — and semen are quick little critters,” Hillard says.
You May Like: Is It Safe To Use Vagisil During Pregnancy
Fruit And Veggie Smoothies
Sure, they might straddle the line between drink and food. But blended fruits and veggies are a delicious way to meet your daily produce needs and sneak in some extra hydration at the same time. Just be sure to factor the calories into your other meals and snacks for the day.
While the flavor combinations are practically endless, keep the added sugar in check by sticking with liquids like water, milk or plain yogurt instead of juice and limiting or skipping added sweeteners. Keep an eye out for added sodium in veggie drinks, too. To make your smoothie more satisfying so you stay fuller longer, add a source of healthy fat like peanut or almond butter.
How Do I Find One
How to find a coach and what they charge can vary as much as the type of coach you hire.
Since theres no governing body that certifies fertility coaches, theres no online registry to locate one. Youll have to do your own searching online or get recommendations from others who have used them.
Almost all fertility coaches work over the phone or by text or email, so finding a coach in your geographic location isnt necessary unless you were interested in in-person support. Many of them will let you schedule an initial discovery call at no cost.
You could expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping your insurance would help with the cost, youll be left disappointed, as most mainstream insurance companies dont provide benefits for fertility coaching.
The number of available fertility options has increased dramatically in recent years, but the reality is that insurance is not keeping up, says Tomkins. In most U.S. states, fertility care itself is considered nonessential and therefore not covered by mandated insurance programs. Only a handful of states, like Illinois and Massachusetts, have mandates for IVF coverage.
However, only by starting the conversation with your employer and insurance company can you send the message they should start covering it. The more people who ask, the more likely the response will be positive.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Braces While Pregnant
Check Those Iron Levels
Its time to start pumping iron. The supplement kind, that is. Consuming iron supplements and non-heme iron, which comes from plant-based foods, may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.
A recent 2019 study concluded that heme iron had no effect on fertility and non-heme only had some benefit for women who already had iron deficiency.
More evidence is needed to confirm whether iron supplements should be recommended to all women, especially if iron levels are already healthy. But making sure your iron levels are solid with your doctor is a good step.
Non-heme iron sources are more difficult for your body to absorb, so try taking them with foods or drinks high in vitamin C to increase absorption.
Alcohol consumption can negatively affect fertility. However, its unclear how much alcohol is needed to cause this effect.
One 2016 study found that having more than
involving 7,393 women found that a high alcohol intake was associated with more infertility examinations.
However, the evidence on moderate alcohol consumption is mixed. One older study found no link between moderate consumption and infertility, while other studies report that moderate intake can affect fertility.
Ultimately, avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol is recommended. Talk to you doctor about your own intake to ensure the best outcome for you.
What Other Experts Say
Other experts say Chavarro and Willetts diet may be helpful to improve fertility for women with ovulatory disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, often called PCOS. It is an overall healthy way of eating and can help women improve their intake of key nutrients for conception and pregnancy, said Vandana Sheth, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dr. Marie Menke, assistant professor and director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, agreed: If you are going to be searching for a fertility diet, this is a good place to start. Research shows an association between this dietary pattern and a reduced risk of infertility in some women.
Experts agree that the diet has positive attributes, but some question whether the real benefit comes from losing weight rather than the quality of ones diet.
Carrying excess pounds can affect egg quality, explained Dr. Amanda Kallen, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale Fertility Center. Also, women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have imbalances in insulin levels, in testosterone levels and in levels of FSH and LSH, and these hormones drive the growth of follicles and ovulation, Kallen explained.
Also Check: Accidentally Donated Blood While Pregnant
Benefits Of Using Herbal Fertility Teas
Here are some benefits of choosing safe herbal teas to get pregnant:
- These teas reduce the costs associated with infertility treatments.
- Herbal teas contain essential nutrients that could reduce the risk of reproductive diseases.
- Some herbs are known to have antioxidative properties that improve fertility.
- Herbal teas are also helpful in boosting your immune system against infections.
- When taken alongside ART, herbal fertility teas can enhance the efficacy of advanced fertility methods.
Start Taking Folate Supplements
Also known as vitamin B9, folic acid is incredibly important if you are trying to conceive. Folic acid supports the neural tube formation of your baby, ensuring proper brain development.
Doctors recommend taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day leading up to conception and for the following 12 weeks after conception.
Why should you start taking folic acid before youre pregnant? The neural tube begins to develop quite soon after conception and is usually complete just four weeks into your pregnancy. Therefore, it might start to develop before you know youre pregnant.
Start taking a prenatal vitamin with folate as soon as you start trying for a baby. You can also get folate from eating beans, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice.
You May Like: Donate Plasma While Pregnant
Get Cnn Health’s Weekly Newsletter
every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.
Chavarro and Willett say the diet recommendations are specific to women with ovulation-related infertility and not infertility related to blocked fallopian tubes or low sperm production. Their book offers a week-long meal plan with recipes that are consistent with the above strategies and delivers approximately 2,000 calories per day.
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
Lets Begin With Your Physical Health
The first thing you can do to get pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy is to be physically healthy. It is important to not be over or underweight, both of which have negative effects on fertility and healthy pregnancies.
Make sure you are exercising 3 to 4 times a week. Aerobic exercise is essential because it helps blood circulation and improves lung capacity. Incorporating weight-bearing exercises helps you gain muscle strength and lose weight easier, while yoga exercises help you work on posture and balance. This all contributes to a healthier you, which increase your chances of conception and healthy pregnancy.
Physical health starts with how you treat your body. While exercising during pregnancy is an essential step towards a healthy you, it is more important you are not doing anything counter-productive for fertility and healthy pregnancy. It is imperative you remove any unhealthy habits or practices that limit or decrease your physical health.
For maximum health you should eliminate or reduce the following:
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about any prescription medication you are taking. Some medications are harmful to take during pregnancy. It is possible that your provider may want to forego or alter the medications you are taking to help increase your chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy.
Read Also: Is It Ok To Use Vagisil While Pregnant
What Is Fertility Coaching
While your physicians are there to give medical advice, fertility coaches are there for everything else. They look at the whole person not just the infertility diagnosis.
Theyll help with diet, stress management, and how you perceive and think about the diagnosis. They can also act as a sounding board when you need to make a treatment decision or need someone to explain exactly how an egg retrieval works.
Herbs And Spices To Help You Get Pregnant Fast
Make these changes to your diet to boost your fertility.
Check out what to eat to conceive. To add flavour to your diet, add these spices and herbs to satisfy your cravings and enhance your fertility level.
Cinnamon can help with proper ovarian functioning and thus be effective in fighting infertility. It even helps in the treatment of PCOS, one of the main causes of infertility.
How to Use:
Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water.
Drink it once daily for a few months.
Include cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling cinnamon powder on your cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt.
READ ALSO: 3 simple cucumber face mask recipes to nourish your skin
The pungent smell of garlic should prevent you from being a parent. You can simply incorporate garlic into all your diet for some weeks and wait for the good news. You can also chew 2 or more garlic cloves followed by a glass of milk every morning.
- Nutmeg and Sugar
This is another well known and tested a home remedy for treating female infertility. It is one of the best home remedies for female sterility.
How to Use:
Take 3gm nutmeg powder and 3gm sugar.
Mix both powders well and store in an airtight container
Mix with one cup of cows milk and drink every day during your menstruation cycles.
Start drinking from the first day and continue till your period ends.
- Chilli powder
Also Check: Is It Okay To Use Vagisil While Pregnant