Fertility Diet: What To Eat When Trying To Get Pregnant
This article covers a basic fertility diet when trying to get pregnant. Are you starting to think about having a baby? Congratulations! We understand that even though it is an exciting time, it can bring about so many questions and concerns. You may be reading this to be pro-active, maybe you’ve experienced a miscarriage or maybe you have a high-risk of infertility. Some of the things that may be crossing your mind:
- What should I eat?
- What nutrients should I be getting?
- How can I try to avoid a miscarriage?
- How can I plan for the healthiest pregnancy for myself and baby?
- I’ve had a miscarriage, how can I prevent this from happening again?
- I have endometriosis, I heard chances of infertility are high. Is this true?
- I have PCOS, will it be possible to get pregnant (easily)?
- I have irregular periods, what does this mean for me?
As a nutritionist and mom who had a pre-term labor with my first (8 weeks early), I understand the concerns around pregnancy. Also, the importance of acting early to try your absolute best to prevent these things from happening. Let me preface by saying that sometimes the unforeseen can happen. The best move you can make today is take action with your diet, exercise and personal health needs to be in your best shape when the time to conceive comes.
What Should I Eat?
Everyone’s nutritional needs can vary depending on the chronic health issues or symptoms that are present, potential nutrient deficiencies and digestive irregularities that may cause poor nutrient absorption. We recommend for a full comprehensive overview, to book a free phone consultation with one of our licensed practitioners who can further help you. But where can you at least start?
- Are you coming off of oral contraceptives (The Pill)? If so, there are nutrient deficiencies that are typically common, especially with extended usage (more than a couple years). A high-quality prenatal multi vitamin would be beneficial to help replenish those nutrient stores. Focusing on foods high in b-vitamins, including folic acid, is important when coming off the Pill as these are common nutrients depleted.
- Fiber. To ensure an optimal hormonal profile and balancing the female sex hormones (excess estrogen is common or low levels of progesterone which can increase chances of miscarriage), eat adequate amounts of dietary fiber. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in variety should be included in your daily diet.
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed. These are excellent sources of Omega’s. Research also shows links with helping balance the female sex hormones and pregnancy.
- Important nutrients before and during pregnancy that should be met via diet and a prenatal supplement are: folic acid (or folate), iodine, selenium, zinc and vitamin D.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants. This can help with the quality of sperm and a women’s eggs and combat free radicals circulating in your body.
How Can I Try To Avoid A Miscarriage
There are multiple causes of miscarriages that are specific to the individual and some causes are even left unknown. Some causes include:
- female sex hormone imbalance
- health and family history
- thyroid levels
- high intensity training (for some)
- stress/ cortisol levels
- oral contraceptives (severe nutrient deficiencies)
All these factors can play a role (although not limited to just these things). Cleaning up your diet by removing processed food, eliminating or minimizing refined sugar, consuming only healthy fats and no trans fats; and practicing better stress management techniques are all important. If you are already at risk of having a miscarriage, your doctor will check and monitor your thyroid, cortisol and progesterone as a general starting point.
How Can I Plan For The Healthiest Pregnancy
- Manage stress. This part is critical. An optimal progesterone level is an important marker for avoiding miscarriage and preventing preterm labor and delivery. Progesterone levels can be compensated with high stress lifestyles.
- Clean up your diet. Do what works for you in a sustainable and realistic way. We like to follow the “good, better, best” model for creating a realistic diet that works for you. Pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post-partum are especially important times for establishing and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Cleaning up your diet means: avoiding processed food, eliminating or minimizing refined sugar, increasing dietary fiber and whole foods; and including more complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and complete proteins.
There can be multiple root causes when it comes to infertility. We recommend scheduling your free consultation to talk with one of our licensed practitioners. We will then best be able to assess what may be causing this issue and how to move forward most optimally. Some causes or notable factors of infertility can include:
- Loss of menstrual cycle
- Imbalance of estrogen and progesterone
- Irregular periods
- Family history
There are multiple root causes of irregular periods. It can be related to family history, PCOS, weight, and also diet vs. intensity of exercise (often notable in female athletes). We do have a fertility protocol that is specific to each individual that we see at our clinic, depending the cause of their irregular periods. We recommend booking a free phone consultation to further discuss your needs.