Sunday, June 1, 2008

fertility food

Most people who have been trying to get pregnant(ttc ("c" is for "conceive")) for awhile know there are food no-nos and food maybes and food "did you try this?"

Within two months of our ttc journey I read an article about how wheat can affect fertility.
Guess who stopped buying baguettes? One night, Mr. S was like "Why is there no bread in the house?"

In this world of dos and don'ts it often feels like we who are ttc have a lot of of don'ts!*

No (or little) caffeine
No artificial sweeteners(I thought this was easy, until I looked at my gum packaging)
Not too much sugar
Reduce Wheat
Cut out "white"crabs- white bread, white rice...
Reduce or cut out dairy
No (or little) alcohol
Avoid soy products(hard when you're vegetarian)
Reduce amount of fish you eat- (scary-mercury!)
Don't eat sushi in the two week wait.
Don't exercise too much, but do exercise.(confusing)

Into this world we have some additions:

Take a prenatal or at least folic(my dentist recently told me that is why my teeth got yellower this past year)
"If you take B6 you're luteal phase will lengthen" rumor
Drink half your body weight in water(easiest one for me)
Eat more leafy greens(kale, chard, spinach)
Eat an organic egg every day(I like this one!)
Eat pineapple (rumored to help implantation, but some say it hurts!)
Eat full fat dairy(I make sure it is organic)
Eat more citrus and strawberries(I currently love this one)
Get proper omega fatty acids
Increase whole grains
Do acupuncture

And then there is the third list, for men dealing with Male Factor Infertility:

Do eat more protein
Do take supplements- zinc, l-arginine, l-carnitine, folic acid, vitamin c, omega-3's
Do acupuncture
Don't eat soy
Don't drink alcohol(Mr. S is planning a beer party to announce our pregnancy to his friends)
Limit or cut out caffeine
Don't go in hot-tubs
Don't wear briefs
Don't ride a bike too much
Don't get kicked in the balls(ok that last one isn't on the don't's, but shouldn't it be?)

Then, on ttc sites there are things people write about that they say made them get pregnant(usually herbs like maca, vitex...) "I stood on my head after sex and now we're pregnant!", and a whole bunch of people try, and a few of them(who probably had only tried 2 months anyway) get pregnant. Fun times.

It can be hard to eat and drink like you are pregnant, and then NOT be pregnant. Very aggravating. Making so many choices/changes every day, it becomes hard to relax!(I already wrote about the "relax" advice, and leave it off those lists for a reason.)

Personally, we are mostly vegetarian(I eat some fish, and Mr. S just started a month ago- to help his "swimmers"(yes, I went there) out), mostly organic eating people, so we eat pretty healthily, but the dos and don'ts still get really tiring.

What one thing have you cut out that you really miss?

For me it is beer. I didn't like it until I was 28, and I've been making up for lost time ever since! Until the whole wheat/alcohol double-whammy.

*annoying disclaimer- these are just things I've been told, not medical advice


  1. Hey there! Fun blog entry!

    Well, the one thing I miss the most in the 2ww is my Diet Coke (not caffeine free!).

    Other don'ts:
    1) No lunch meat
    2) No sex (if your are in 2ww of an IVF cycle)
    3) No unpasteurized cheeses or soft cheeses (feta, bleu, goat, etc.)
    4) No changing kitty's litter box (hey this one's not bad!)

  2. i'm right there with you. i gave up alcohol, caffeine [even decaf coffee], artificial sweetners [very tough when i'd normally pop a new piece of gum before each client], not as much soy, pretty much stopped all exercise aside from daily walks.

    just last night i had a break down. we'd gone out with friends for dinner, an improv performance by a friend, then to a bar. the restaurant was hardly vegan friendly, and all three places we went to last night served alcohol. i never thought i'd miss drinking as much as i do, and its only been 4 months. i feel like such a loser for complaining about something i want so badly, but MY GOD!! i want to have my life [or the occasional cocktail] again!

    my acupuncturist also said the last time i was pregnant to not do any housecleaning. wow, that's a nice one!

  3. Oh boy, I really feel you on this one! I find myself confused on a weekly basis when I do the major shopping. I have especially ramped up my do and don't efforts since having Endo confirmed in Jan. The Dr said my insides were HOSTILE, and that really stuck with me.

    My biggest fear going into IVF is having an inhospitable, inflamed reproductive system. So in order to make a calmer, embryo-friendly environment, I've cut out the wheat, really limited the dairy (organic), watch the sugar, small amounts of lean meats w/ more fish, and upped the greens, veggies, and fruits. Oh, and the biggie, NO caffeine instead of the small amount I was doing.

    So to answer your question, I miss hearty, crusty, yummy bread, coffee w/ cream and sugar, and as you said, I really, miss, the BEER! But most importantly I have to feel like I've done everything that I can to do my part - so I'm giving it my best shot!

  4. COFFEE! I miss my morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening jolt of java. So sad...

  5. I'm insulin resistant, so I've had to cut out a lot of whites and sugars. I don't completely eliminate but I have reduced the intake of high-glycemic carbs drastically.

    I definitely miss my Cherry Pepsi and sweet tea.

  6. oh i relate!!!!! the first year and a half of trying i gave up everything and was so miserable. i felt like i was doing everything "right" and still failing and it made me doubly resent my friends who got accidentally pregnant doing all kinds of craziness.

    these last couple rounds i figured cutting out everything hadn't actually improved my fertility and was making me resent ttc, plus i was born in the 70s to a hippie mom! there surely was not a toxin-free start to my life. so i treated the 2ww like any other time of my life - i drank coffee and beer, but i also (unrelated to ttc) had eliminated artificial sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, cow milk, and refined flours.

    it is different obviously because we weren't doing IVF, but i just reached a point where i felt like the only way i was going to come out of this anything but crazy was to let everything be as normal as i possibly could given the circumstances.

    btw - i hope this doesn't sound like the horrid "oh relax" lecture, because i hate that shit. i think that whatever is working for anyone during this process is good to do, and that everything is worth a try - what have we got to lose?

  7. I had to wean myself off coffee, major drag. I'm a big believer in moderation especially foodwise. Life is not worth living without good chocolate.

  8. yeah, when you already have dietary restrictions, the list can be more tiring!

    I like the kitty litter box ban the best!

  9. we're also fish eating vegetarians, so cutting out soy is really not an option. And for every article I've read that says Soy is Bad there is another one that says Soy is Good. And not trying to be mean, but the Brittney Spears among us who eat taco bell and starbucks all the time are getting preggers no problem. I think the key is moderation in all things, and maybe it will help a little, but it may have zero to do with infertility, too. I often wonder about a lack of protein and fertility though....