Saturday, 4 January 2014

Foods for fertility

I would consider myself fairly healthy but going through infertility makes you second guess everything you do and strive to do everything "better" in the hope that it will bring you closer to a pregnancy. I have followed a gluten-free and dairy-free diet for a number of years due to persistent gastrointestinal issues. It was one of the best decisions I ever made as it not only relieved my tummy problems but also cleared my skin and significantly reduced my neck pain and headaches. When researching the best diets for infertility it was interesting for me to note that some people believe that gluten and dairy can inflame the body and may exacerbate symptoms of endometriosis- so I was glad I had already eliminated those foods. Apart from that I didn't really think too much about specific foods being good or bad for conception and just tried to eat healthier and reduce my alcohol intake. As I have moved further along the IVF journey I have started to research more and have to say that maybe ignorance is bliss. Two theories that I read a lot about were the 'low carb-high protein' diet and the 'alkaline' diet. The high protein diet recommends more meat, fish and eggs while the 'alkaline' focused diet believes these types of foods are acidic to the body and encourages people trying to conceive to eat a mostly plant-based diet with an emphasis on green foods. For the first few days of this year I nearly went crazy trying to work out which approach I should follow. I would feel guilty about every mouthful I ate as I felt it went against at least one of the two eating philosophies. It became so stressful that I decided it had to stop. I feel like no matter what you do with infertility it contradicts the recommendations of someone. This makes decisions stressful and I kick myself for all the googling I do in an effort to unlock the 'magical get pregnant' solution. So today I have decided to eat as healthy as I can without making myself miserable; to reduce sugar and processed foods and drink lots of water but have a few chips or a lemonade if I feel like it. After much angst I figure that common sense would suggest that less junk, alcohol and caffeine and more fruit and vegetables is the best approach. Rather than make another list of things I should and shouldn't do I have written some key words randomly on my bathroom mirror to motivate me to make healthy overall lifestyle choices without getting too bogged down in the specifics. For those that are interested my key words are:
"Breathe"               "Stretch"                      "Relax"                      "Laugh"               "Eat clean"                                        "Hydrate"                "Exercise"            "Stay warm"               "Stay positive" 
I hope others on this infertility journey will also cut themselves some slack and just do the best they can without agonising over every choice. There are millions of pregnancies that occur each year for women who have less than optimal diets and lifestyle choices and I think that we can all afford to relax a bit more and reduce the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect. So I think I'll go and enjoy my yummy homemade asian chicken noodle soup and maybe even have a piece of chocolate afterwards :)


  1. I completely relate to this and completely agree. I fell pregnant after two years of trying, about 6 months beforehand i started to slow down from a very rushed life, eat breakfast, yoga, drink enough water, nothing major. It made me feel better about myself and who knows what made the difference in the end, healthier living, the lap I had the month before conceiving, or just the luck of the draw .. we'll never know.

  2. Thanks for your comment :) I definitely believe it is better for me to have a goal to just be healthier in general rather than try and fit within the specific rules of a diet (especially if it contradicts the recommendations of another!). Slowing down and doing less is difficult for me but I am definitely trying my best :)