Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Water can create more cervical mucus, which is necessary for egg fertilization.
Avoid mercury-rich fish.
When you're pregnant, mercury can harm a baby's developing brain. Mercury can stay in the body for a long time, so it's best to minimize intake when you're trying to conceive. Avoid ahi tuna, big-eye tuna, swordfish and king mackerel.
Go meatless at least once a week.
Take your Vitamin D.
Vitamin D may increase IVF success rate as well as help regulate blood sugar and ovulation.
Talk to your doctor before starting a supplement. I recommend taking 1,000 to 2,000 IU's daily in addition to a prenatal vitamin. You can't get much from food, but some sources of vitamin D are salmon, sardines, sole, eggs, tofu and fortified whole dairy milk or soy or almond milk.
Include iron-rich foods.
Although prenatal vitamins contain iron, adding some food sources of iron can further help to prevent anemia.
Beans, organic tofu, eggs, salmon, poultry, lean beef, and cereals and grain products, like All-Bran cereal, are all healthy sources.
Be mindful of caffeine.
There's no clear connection between moderate intake (250 mg daily) and fertility, but be conscious not to consume it in order to stave off fatigue when your focus should be on trying to get enough sleep.
Be careful with BPA.
Cleaning supplies and other environmental toxins contain endocrine disruptors and can reduce fertility.
BPA can be found in food and drink packaging, in water bottles (when heated), in the lining of canned foods (especially tomatoes, but also in soups and fruits) and in paper receipts. Don't microwave plastic containers and don't leave water bottles exposed to the sun. Reduce your use of canned foods, unless the cans are BPA free. Instead, use glass or stainless steel containers.
Fill up on omega-3's.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate hormones in the body, increase good quality cervical mucus and promote ovulation. They may also improve embryo quality, reduce inflammation and be especially beneficial for people with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis.
Add one or more of the following serving sizes of omega-3-rich foods to your meals:
—1/4 c. walnuts
—1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
—1 Tbsp. flaxseeds
—1 Tbsp. chia seeds
—2 fortified chicken's eggs
—3 oz. salmon
—1 can sardines
Bonus tip: Get moving.
Thinking of going on a fertility diet, or wondering what to eat while trying to get pregnant? It can all seem overwhelming, but I prefer to keep the strategies simple.
As a mother and dietitian at Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) of New York, a fertility clinic, I specialize in supporting patients' nutritional goals at every stage of infertility treatment and pregnancy, and I know that too many ideas can lead to information overload.
Keep it simple. Here are the 10 best strategies I have found to improve your diet, strengthen your health and boost your fertility.
Switch to full-fat dairy.
If you consume dairy, full-fat dairy products contain more of the female hormones helpful for fertility.
Focus on folate.
Folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid, may aid in embryo survival and helps prevent neural tube defects in a baby. Natural sources of folate include:
- Vegetables, especially asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and collard greens.
- Fruits and fruit juices, especially oranges and orange juice.
- Nuts, beans and peas.
- Grains, including whole grains, rice, fortified cold cereals and enriched flour products such as bread, bagels, cornmeal and pasta.
- Folic acid is added to many grain-based products and corn masa flour, which is used to make corn tortillas and tamales. Check labels to find out whether folic acid has been added.