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Eating for Fertility

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

I had an ectopic pregnancy (actually my fourth ectopic) in October which left me with only one fallopian tube. My husband and I experienced two miscarriages right after that (one in November and one in January). We decided to take a few months "off" of trying and are now getting to the end of our little break. During our break my youngest weaned (he will turn two on Easter) and I started becoming a little lax in my diet (I've been drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day, not taking my vitamins, etc.)  We still haven't decided if we want to start trying again or not but I at least want to be healthy and see if any diet/lifestyle changes may help. I have seen several books on "fertility food" and was looking to make some changes. Right now I am mostly wanting to focus on eating better in general and getting ready for changes I would have to make while pregnant (less caffeine, more whole grains, folic acid, etc.)  Anyone here with any experience with eating for fertility or diet changes? TIA!

post #2 of 24

When I was trying to conceive my son, I read the book The Fertility Diet. It focuses on things like eating less trans fats, less red meat, more fruits and veggies and plant proteins, healthy whole food grains, whole-fat dairy in small amounts, exercising, etc. The book is based on research from the Nurse's Health Study. I just loosely followed the plan. I did end up getting pregnant, but obviously that had to do with a lot of things beyond just reading the book. The book has mixed reviews, but it obviously did me no harm.

 

Good luck :)

post #3 of 24

It sounds like The Fertility Diet is pretty controversial. The top reviews on Amazon are very informative. Just about every other source I have encountered recommends against dairy.

 

I have not read this book yet, but The Fertile Kitchen Cookbook looks good. The author also has a blog with useful information.

 

The only other book on the subject I know of is Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon, but I have not read that one either. You should be aware that this book has a Catholic perspective.

 

Based on the books I have actually read (Making Babies and The Infertility Cure), I have made the following changes to my diet:

  • No coffee. One cup of green tea a day.
  • No alcohol.
  • No medications.
  • No processed or junk foods.
  • No dairy.
  • Buying all organic meats and vegetables.
  • Avoiding all sugar, except in whole fruits.
  • Reducing wheat and avoiding all products made from refined white flour.

 

Something I really like that I read in Making Babies: "Eighty percent is perfection." So despite my supposed "no diary" rule, I did have a slice of cheese today. As long as I am making improvements, I am not going to feel bad about myself for slip-ups.

 

In addition to a good multivitamin, Making Babies lists these supplements as ones potentially beneficial for fertility: essential fatty acids (omega 3), coenzyme Q10, L-arginine, N-acetyl cysteine, glutathione, royal jelly, and chlorophyll. Personally, I am taking just a simple multivitamin for now and have an appointment with a Chinese herbalist.

post #4 of 24

I'd add Real Foods for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck to the list of ideas.

post #5 of 24

I haven't read any books, but I'm TTC and also trying to make some diet changes. I'm trying to cut caffeine out of my diet entirely. I already do well on lots of fruits and vegetables, but I wanted a better way to get leafy greens into my diet because of the folic acid. Cooking them kills some of the nutrients. I started drinking a green smoothie every morning for breakfast. It's basically just fruit, leafy greens, and water. If you do the right consistency, you won't even notice the greens and it will be nice and thick as if you added dairy. Here's a link. I'm also working on less sweets, but that's a hard one for me. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. :-P

post #6 of 24

So I know that your question is about foods, but I thought I'd mention a great way for you to get exercise - and maybe heal and have an easier time getting pregnant.  I've been taking Bikram's yoga since February and it's been fabulous.  It's cleansing, you burn a lot of calories, and old running injuries (I'm a marathoner) are fading.  I've heard that a lot of women trying to have children try out Bikram.  It works out every muscle and organ in your body.  Plus, it's a great way to meditate.  Check out their website - it's definitely not for everyone but you might find that you love it.

post #7 of 24

Thank you.  subbing...

post #8 of 24

Since I posted, I discovered that green tea contains something that interferes with absorption of folic acid, so I have cut that out. Man, this stuff is complicated.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your replies... Still looking into everything but I am happy to report that I've had no more than one cup of coffee a day ( and some days none) the past 8 days. I am pretty proud of this especially considering I was at a birth from 12:45am-4:50pm on Wednesday smile.gif
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurucha View Post

Since I posted, I discovered that green tea contains something that interferes with absorption of folic acid, so I have cut that out. Man, this stuff is complicated.



Could you give me your source on that?  I'm interested in learning more.

post #11 of 24

I got the information about green tea from my acupuncturist. Here is a source that explains:

 

Quote:

ECGC, a catechin present in green tea in amounts about 5 times higher than in black tea, inhibits the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which cancer cells need to be able to grow, and which is a well recognized target of anti-cancer drugs.

 

Scientists decided to look at ECGC after they realized the green tea catechin looks a lot like the cancer drug methotrexate, which prevents cancer cells from making DNA by inhibiting the DHFR enzyme. They discovered that ECGC kills cancer cells in the same way as the drug.

 

Although ECGC binds strongly to DHFR, which is essential in both healthy and cancerous cells, it does not bind as tightly as methotrexate, so its side effects on healthy cells are less severe than those of the drug.

 

ECGC's binding to DHFR may also explain why women who drink large amounts of green tea around the time they conceive and early in their pregnancy may have an increased risk of having a child with spina bifida or other neural tube disorders.

 

Women are advised to take supplements of folic acid when trying to conceive and during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy because it is during this time period that the baby's neural tube is developing. Folic acid helps ensure normal development and protects against spina bifida by enabling the production of the enzyme DHFR.

 

While a cup or two of green tea is unlikely to pose a problem, drinking large amounts of green tea could decrease the activity of DHFR, increasing risk of neural tube defects.

 

post #12 of 24



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

I'd add Real Foods for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck to the list of ideas.



I like this one and another good one is Healing Our Children: Because Your New Baby Matters! Sacred Wisdom for Preconception, Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting (ages 0-6) by Ramiel Nagel

 

post #13 of 24

I love this thread! I am trying to focus on diet and health to prepare for pregnancy. Let me begin by saying that I love coffee with a deep and abiding passion, but knowing that I'd like to be pregnant more, I will start cutting back today. I sometimes have coffee in the afternoon in addition to with breakfast. I'll skip the p.m. cup today and drop from 2+ am cups to 1.  I will also spend time this week planning meals that involve more fruits and veggies and less meat and dairy. I don't eat much junk food but I do like a glass of wine when I go out. I'll cut back on that too. So, I think I'll make this my transition week and then really get my changes going May 1. 

 

Good suggestions!!

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralChrissy View Post

I love this thread! I am trying to focus on diet and health to prepare for pregnancy. Let me begin by saying that I love coffee with a deep and abiding passion, but knowing that I'd like to be pregnant more, I will start cutting back today. I sometimes have coffee in the afternoon in addition to with breakfast. I'll skip the p.m. cup today and drop from 2+ am cups to 1.  I will also spend time this week planning meals that involve more fruits and veggies and less meat and dairy. I don't eat much junk food but I do like a glass of wine when I go out. I'll cut back on that too. So, I think I'll make this my transition week and then really get my changes going May 1. 

 

Good suggestions!!

Fruits and vegetables are great, but I wouldn't say meat and dairy are a problem if they're good quality.  I'd be more concerned about sugar.
 

 

post #15 of 24

Have you ever tried Dandy Blend (coffee flavored type alternative)? I have friends who were devoted coffee drinkers and have switched easily to using Dandy Blend only.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralChrissy View Post

I love this thread! I am trying to focus on diet and health to prepare for pregnancy. Let me begin by saying that I love coffee with a deep and abiding passion, but knowing that I'd like to be pregnant more, I will start cutting back today. I sometimes have coffee in the afternoon in addition to with breakfast. I'll skip the p.m. cup today and drop from 2+ am cups to 1.  I will also spend time this week planning meals that involve more fruits and veggies and less meat and dairy. I don't eat much junk food but I do like a glass of wine when I go out. I'll cut back on that too. So, I think I'll make this my transition week and then really get my changes going May 1. 

 

Good suggestions!!



 

post #16 of 24

Good point mamas! I do try to eat quality meats and cheeses that are minimally processed. I spend lots of time at the farmer's markets. I will keep this in mind as a go thru my shopping. I did stock up on good, healthy fruits and veggies for the week. I am eating better so far. I know it's only Wednesday but I'm counting it as progress!  I will try to find Dandy Blend, thanks Treehuggihippie! I cut back to 1 big mug in the morning, now I just have to whittle that down to a tea cup sometime soon. I'm off to the library to get some of the recommended books today. 

 

Just wanted to say a big thanks to this community. It's so nice to go thru all of this with a tribe of women working toward the same goals!

 

SpiralChrissy

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

 

Have you ever tried Teecino?  I really like it.  It doesn't taste exactly like coffee but I think it is a great alternative :)

post #18 of 24

I thought this was an interesting podcast about healthy fertility and pregnancy eating. http://thehealthyskeptic.org/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-7

post #19 of 24

I forgot all about Teecino! I used to drink that ages ago. I'll have to get over to Whole Foods this weekend!

post #20 of 24

For the time being, I think I'll stick with my two morning cups of coffee...  I don't have any caffeine other than that, I stick to sparkling water with lime or just plain water for the rest of the day.  I get organic, fair-trade coffee so it's pretty clean.

 

Are any of you trying to go mostly to strictly organic?  I'm trying to move in that direction, but it's harder with some products than it is with others. 

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