What would you say if I told you that the right diet can have profound effects in increasing your chances of getting pregnant?

Whether you are using ART or trying to conceive naturally, the foods that you eat, digest and assimilate, provide your body with the raw materials necessary to build a healthy baby.
When I work with women undergoing fertility treatment, I am sadly and too often presented with issues pertaining poor egg quality and poor sperm quality. If this is also your case, please know that there is a lot that you can do nutritionally to improve your fertility. Read below!

The right foods are necessary to create good quality follicles (and sperm), as well as contributing to build a healthy uterine lining, necessary for the embryo to implant.

Your fertility diet needs to be high in nutrient dense food, and void of empty calories. Proteins and fats are the building blocks of the endocrine system, and they are also the raw material necessary to produce hormones, eggs, and sperm. And of course they will be the building blocks of your precious bun in the oven. The body also needs vitamins and minerals to act as cofactors in these fascinating endocrine processes.
Since the foods discussed below are the same nutrient dense foods that are necessary to build a healthy fetus, make sure to keep your good eating habits for the rest of your pregnancy, and during breastfeeding, if you choose to do so.

To enhance your chances of success your diet needs to be composed of:

Healthy protein foods. Look for organic, grass-fed, free-range meats; pastured poultry and eggs; high quality, full fat dairy; wild caught fish. Eat low-toxicity fish at least twice a week.

 

Check www.ewg.org for list of safe fish.

Our ancestors all made use of food as medicine. Women who were about to get married were fed a special, fertility diet for at least 6 months prior to the wedding (union to her man). Infertility was unknown prior to our modern age, and I believe that the state of our health and nutrition, as well as stress and exposure to man-made chemicals, play a fundamental role in our modern issues. Liver, fish eggs, fish oil, marrow were all prized fertility foods! These foods are extremely important for our reproductive systems (both male and female) as well as for the development of a healthy baby. Please do not hesitate to email me if you would like to know how to incorporate them into your fertility diet!

Healthy fats with every meal: focus on healthy animal fats and cholesterol rich foods. Choose only organic, pastured, grass-fed animals (cheeses, butter, ghee, but also duck and chicken fat, lard and tallow), as well as extra virgin olive oil and organic tropical oils (coconut and palm). Organic, soaked and sprouted nuts or nut butter, avocados, and olives are great additions to meals and snack.

 

The membrane that surrounds every cell of the body is made out of a lipid bi-layer and protein. The lipid bi-layer is predominantly saturated fats and cholesterol. To learn more about it please refer to the articles “a note on cholesterol” and “shedding some lights on fat”.

As far as carbohydrates are concerned, have plenty of leafy green vegetables and low-glycemic vegetables. Eat the color of the rainbow. Include fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles as much as you can). Eat only organic, to reduce pesticide exposure.

 

If you are on a budget, please refer to the Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen list. If you are using ART and undergoing IVF treatments, you may need to monitor/reduce the amount of fibers consumed during an IVF cycle, as fibers bind with hormones and carries them out of the body through.

Limit the consumption of high-glycemic vegetables and other starches to ¼ to ½ cup a day. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, when it comes to starches your dietary requirements will be different.

Drink plenty of filtered or spring water.

 

Aim for 2 liters per day. Also, please know that once you get pregnant, your body will increase its blood status by a whooping 50%! This will be necessary to shuttle nutrients to your baby.

Occasionally you can have 1 oz of high-quality dark chocolate (70% and higher): Endangered Species, Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate, Dagoba Organic Chocolate. If you would like to satisfy a sweet tooth indulge in berries and homemade whipped cream sweetened with honey or pure maple syrup. Feel free to email me if you would like healthy dessert options.

Best of luck,
Francesca Orlando, NTP, CGP
Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition