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5 Nutrition Musts If You Are Trying To Conceive

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photographed by Maria Del Rio

Trying to get pregnant? FertileGirl founder Allison Kasirer has been there. After a long and challenging personal fertility journey (which you can read about here), Kasirer gave birth to twin boys earlier this year and is now dedicated to squashing the stigma around fertility and encouraging women to make healthy choices pre-pregnancy with her new start-up. Together with Tracy Lockwood, a registered dietitian and founder of Tracy Lockwood Nutrition, the two have pulled together 5 nutrition “musts” for women TTC.

1. Iron-Rich Foods
Beans, lentils, spinach, oh my! It’s a good idea to fill up on iron-rich foods during the pre-pregnancy period. According to The Nurses’ Health Study II, which followed 18,500 female nurses trying to get pregnant, a diet that is iron-rich can lower the risk of ovulatory infertility. Next time you are building your plate, make sure to get a healthy serving of iron-rich foods.

2. Plant-Based Proteins, Please!
Plant-based protein may be the way to go for those trying to conceive! According to a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, replacing animal sources of protein, especially chicken and red meat, with vegetable sources of protein may reduce the risk of infertility due to anovulation. Load up your next meal with plant-based proteins such as tempeh, quinoa, or even artichokes!

3. Choose Your Fats Wisely
Unsaturated fats (think walnuts, flaxseeds, avocados) are critical to many bodily functions and important for reproductive health. They can help the body control blood sugar and may even reduce inflammation. The “omega-3s” you’re always hearing about are part of this category. But stay away from the trans fats found in industrialized food products like fast-food french fries and doughnuts. Results from the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study II suggested that a diet high in trans fats correlated to a greater risk of ovulatory infertility.

4. Consider Alcohol Intake
Yes, it is okay to have alcohol in moderation! A study published in the British Medical Journal found that moderate drinking does not harm fertility. However, increasing your drink total to 14+ servings of alcohol per week was associated with an increased risk of infertility. If you are abstaining from alcohol entirely, it may not be completely necessary to increase the odds of conception. So, ladies, enjoy your glass of wine tonight!

5. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Weight can be a critical input to the fertility equation! Aiming for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5-24.9 may help keep your ovulation and menstrual cycle regulated. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), about 12% of infertility cases can be traced to weight issues in women, which can disrupt hormone levels and mess with your cycle. However, the good news is that small steps in the right direction can make a big difference. Overweight women who lose just 5-10% of their body weight and underweight women who gain just a few pounds can dramatically improve chances of conception. So, let’s all stop trying to reach an unattainable “ideal weight” and embrace these attainable goals!

Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for medical care.

For related Mother articles, check out: 10 Women Share Their Miscarriage Stories, To Doula, Or Not To Doula?, and Mother Stories: Sara Brawner.

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