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Foods That Can Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant, and The Ones You Should Avoid

When struggling with fertility and IVF treatments, the food going into your body is the last thing on your mind. If you're looking to increase your fertility though, check out some of these foods that can increase your chances of getting pregnant.

By Lorna VausePublished 6 years ago 5 min read
Image courtesy of Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash

Everyone knows that substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine can seriously negatively affect a woman both prior to and during pregnancy, but nobody ever thinks about the food a woman is constantly putting into her body. Fast food dominates every part of the country, and a woman’s pregnancy cravings can be absolutely bizarre. However, with the rise of increased, overarching nutritional awareness across the nation, it is no surprise that researchers have begun to study the effects of different types of foods on a woman’s fertility. Studies have indicated that there is a direct correlation between a woman’s fertility and the food she consumes, particularly in regions of the country in which hormonal infertility runs rampant, such as the Midwest where diets are particularly dairy heavy. As a result, many women have begun to look into diet options that will allow them to have the quickest and healthiest baby possible.

Unfortunately, as with every positive scientific discovery, there comes a plethora of unintended consequences. Although researchers have discovered multiple foods that can increase your chances of getting pregnant, they've also realized that many can actually decrease fertility. While many of these foods are typically viewed as unhealthy regardless, women should take extra precaution to avoid them while trying to have a baby. Although fertility diets are still not a perfect science, here are a few things to consider trying if you're looking to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Do's: Antioxidants

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Research generally shows that a well-rounded diet consisting of fish, poultry, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is best for a woman that's trying to get pregnant. As that is typically the healthiest diet for everyone regardless of fertility, it is no wonder that many also use these guidelines for weight loss.

Antioxidants are key to fertility in both women and men. A diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables is directly linked to increased sperm motility, which consequently helps out the impatient soon-to-be mother. To boost fertility, aim for a diet full of ripe berries and leafy greens, which will also ensure all-around health. For example, chlorella is a superfood that heals inside and out, and may just be the missing component to your fertility needs. It is very telling that women with high levels of antioxidants are 28% less likely to experience ovulatory infertility.

Do's: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

One of the most important elements of this diet is Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for everyone looking to keep their reproductive system working. As a key monounsaturated fat, omega-3 acids promote ovulation and the production of cervical mucus, which ensures both a healthy conception and a healthy pregnancy. For those who cannot stand seafood, there are a wide variety of Omega-3 and folic acid supplements that can be taken as a pill. In addition, olive oil contains many of the same fatty acids, making it a great replacement if you're trying to eat more foods that can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Omega-6s have similar effects, but should be consumed sparingly.

Don'ts: Red Meat

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Animal protein is often considered the demon for pregnant woman, particularly red meat. If you're positive that your meat doesn't have any antibiotics, feel free to partake in your usual steak. However, non-poultry land meats typically experience some sort of environmental contamination, such as hormones, pollutants, or other nasty chemicals simply due to the way they are raised.

Don'ts: Fish

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Particularly for fish, avoid those with traditionally high levels of mercury, such as deep sea swordfish or bigeye tuna. High levels of mercury have been known to cause mental defects in unborn children, so be sure to triple check your meats before diving in, and even then make sure to only enjoy in moderation.

Don'ts: Raw Meat

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If you absolutely have to have your meat, completely avoid consuming anything raw, such as sushi and carpaccios. Raw meats can infect the body with salmonella, coliform bacteria, or toxoplasmas, all of which reduce fertility in women trying to conceive. In addition, these diseases can easily pass through the placenta and infect the fetus, which may lead to a miscarriage or birth defects.

Don'ts: Trans Fats

Another interesting study has recently emerged that shows the negative impacts of trans fat on women attempting to get pregnant, particularly those who frequently consume fast foods. As trans fats are commonly linked to increased diabetes, it is no wonder that babies exposed to the substance in early pregnancy often have disrupted levels of both blood sugar and insulin as adults. In addition, excess junk food in men has been linked to lower sperm counts, meaning that both halves of the happy couple need to partake in the new diet.

Don'ts: Alcohol

Everyone knows that alcohol is a major no-no during pregnancy, but heavy drinking can actually reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant all together. As alcohol depletes the body of Vitamin B, which supports healthy fetus growth, women who drink heavily actually have a much lower rate of fertility. Researchers suggest capping alcohol intake at seven drinks per week in order to optimize a woman's chances of getting pregnant.

Don'ts: Sugary Drinks

Women need to be sure not to consume soda or other sugary drinks, which can increase inflammation and change the natural metabolism to decrease fertility. Once again, insulin is the main culprit, as artificial sweeteners spike blood sugar. This process alters the bacteria in the gut to make it significantly harder for women to get pregnant. Sodas also contain a variety of BPA and other chemicals, which may have unknown negative consequences. If you need help, there are some lifehacks to help you figure out how to quit drinking soda.

Don'ts: White Breads

Similar to soda, any food that has excess sugar is likely to cause the body's blood sugar to spike, leading to overall inflammation, changes in natural hormones, and a lack of ovulation. Instead of chowing down on regular white bread, researchers suggest swapping your carbs for slow-burning whole grains, which slow down the release of blood sugar.

Doesn't Matter: Cheeses

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In addition to a variety of do’s and don'ts, here is an old wives tale about fertility that science has completely disproven. The biggest misconception is that dairy products are highly negative toward the baby’s health, as research shows that dairy is essentially neutral in regards to pregnancy. While eating cheese is not a benefit, it does not actually cause any harm. That being said, it is important to stay away from low-fat products, which may contain androgens and other hormones that can alter a child’s genetic composition. Unpasteurized soft cheeses is another no-no, sometimes containing the disease listeria, which is commonly linked to miscarriages. Instead, opt for full-fat dairy, which is the safest for the fetus.

Getting pregnant can be hard enough as is, particularly for those couples who struggle with fertility. Using these foods that increase your chances of getting pregnant, both women and men can contribute to the impregnating process by transforming their entire bodies into healthier and more nutritious temples. However, for those still unsatisfied with the whole baby-making process, consider checking out Joan M. Twenge’s book The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. This guide is the perfect companion for anyone seriously struggling with fertility, as it delves deep into both the physical and emotional stress of having a baby.

Improving your health is a holistic process, meaning that a positive change in one area will create positive changes throughout the entire body. While changing your bodily nutrition may take a while, bettering your eating habits will not only increase your chances of getting pregnant, but it will also allow for a healthier pregnancy and recovery. A few positive changes now will not only boost your health, but will benefit your child for years to come.


About the Creator

Lorna Vause

Grew up going back and forth between Boston and New York so I have the weirdest accent. Mother of two babies, one of them is furry and meows a lot though

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