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What to Eat When You're Trying to Conceive

What to Eat When You're Trying to Conceive

What to Eat When You're Trying to Conceive

There's advice out there on almost every aspect of getting pregnant, or "TTC" (tring to conceive), as it's called in Circle of Moms communities, from how to calculate your most fertile days, to which alternative therapies to seek. One topic that intrigues many Circle of Moms members is whether or not you can imrprove your fertility by changing your diet. Is there such a thing as a "best diet" for conception, and if so, what is it?

Circle of Moms member Amber E. raises the point that some kinds of infertility problems, especially those that include an erratic menstrual cycle, might be helped by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Knowing when you're going to get your period helps you to better predict when you'll ovulate, so eating for menstrual regularity is a smart first step. 

It can also be helpful to look into how your current body mass index (BMI) and eating patterns might be impacting your fertility. The Fertility Diet, a book based on research from a Harvard Nurses' Health Study, recommends a diet high in iron and folic acid, as well as full-fat dairy products, and argues that foods containing trans fats and red meat can reduce fertility. Why? Red meat and trans fats can pack on the pounds, and women who are obese or underweight have greater difficulty getting pregnant. (A BMI of 20-24 in women correlates with greatest fertility.)




Does Losing Weight Help?

Circle of Moms member T.K. wonders if reducing or eliminating her sugar intake will help her get pregnant. There are no published studies directly linking reduction in sugar consumption to higher chances of conception, but if you're obese and trying to conceive it's more likely to be a factor. Being overweight reduces your likelihood of conceiving, according to a Reuters report on research at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. And reducing sugar intake, of course can help you lose weight.

When we were trying to conceive our son, my doctor told me not to worry too much about my diet, but to keep my stress level down and get a lot of sleep. Still, I naturally gravitated toward healthy foods, especially during the latter half of each cycle when I knew I could possibly be pregnant. I stopped drinking wine, stopped eating sugar, and reduced my caffeine intake by half (eliminating it altogether when I became pregnant on the seventh try). 

Before I became pregnant I was about seven or so pounds overweight, and I'd wondered whether dropping those pounds would help. But my doctor said that the extra padding was actually beneficial; that it would help transport the necessary hormones throughout my body. I also gained weight on the progesterone supplement I had to take monthly after each attempt, so when I finally got pregnant after seven months of trying, I was about 10 pounds above my ideal weight. But that worked out just fine, as I only gained 15 pounds during the rest of my pregnancy, despite eating constantly! 



So what about those food cravings? They're not supposed to start until you're pregnant, but I always laugh when people ask me what I craved when I was carrying my son because I've always had food cravings. I found that indulging certain cravings while I was TTC helped me keep my stress level down. A little chocolate now and then, or whatever strikes your fancy, isn't harmful, and might give you just the mental boost you need for enduring the often stressful process of trying to have a baby.

Image Source: jturn via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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