Food and Fertility - A Connection?

May 31, 2010

The time when you are trying to conceive a baby is a very exciting one - but it can also be a stressful and depressing one.  Especially if you've been trying for quite awhile, you may find yourself getting frustrated and anxious.  You've probably been told, as well, by many well-meaning people about all of the things you should be doing and shouldn't be doing on this journey.

One important way that you can help yourself to feel better physically while trying to conceive, and perhaps to even help yourself to conceive, is to change your diet and vitamin intake.  Here are some helpful foods to consider for pregnancy.  These ideas are not intended to make you completely change your diet and transform your life - they are items to consider including or excluding on your path to potential motherhood.


A baby's organs begin to form as early as 17 days after conception.  Most people still don't know they are pregnant this early - and it's certainly helpful to change your diet while you are trying to conceive.  Don't wait until you know you are pregnant - you will already have influenced the growing baby.  Here are some healthy suggestions for you and your baby. 

Foods to Keep You Healthy and Fertile

Start taking a vitamin supplement containing 0.4 mg of folic acid a few months before you try to conceive.  This vitamin is very important to lower the chance that your baby will have neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  In addition, eat leafy green vegetables, nuts and whole grains that are full of Vitamin B6.  This is a reproductive hormone regulator and can help your body to prepare for a baby.  Eat foods high in calcium - this will ensure that your bones are strong and that you have energy for the fun ahead!  Similarly, eat foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits.  These are said to enhance fertility and they will boost your immune system and help to keep you healthy for conception.  Both green tea and orange pekoe tea are said to enhance fertility.  The benefits of green tea specifically are wonderful. Tea contains antioxidants which aid in creating a healthy immune system.  Be careful to avoid the caffeine in many teas, however.  Finally, make sure to fill up on a lot of water.  You'll need at least eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and hydrated.

Foods to Avoid for Fertility

Once you've started taking your vitamins and eating healthy foods, you should also know about foods and medicines to avoid while trying to conceive.   Avoid raw foods such as undercooked meats, eggs, and sushi.  Stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and caffeine while trying to conceive (and while pregnant and breast feeding).  Avoid eating too much seafood.  Albacore tuna, for example, contains high levels of mercury, which has been linked to birth defects and other problems in babies.  Also, avoid processed foods with too much sugar and refined flour whenever possible.  Avoiding these foods can prevent you from developing gestational diabetes and the complications that it can create during pregnancy and delivery.  Finally, be sure to ask your doctor about any prescriptions or over the counter medicines that you take.  Some medicines should be avoided during pregnancy - and so they should be discontinued while trying to conceive.   

Enjoy this time as much as you can and prepare your body to receive this miracle.  The more that you take care of yourself physically, the better you'll feel and the more prepared you'll be to nurture and care for a growing baby!

For more information on diet and pregnancy check out our pregnancy videos.

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