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Many of my readers are a teeny bit overwhelmed when they see my list of 79 Things I did to get Happy, Healthy, and Pregnant. They send me emails saying, “Look, I can’t do all of this. Which ones are the most important to do?” I think my readers have a point.
Whether you have just started trying to conceive, or you’ve been struggling with infertility for a while, you may be looking to naturally increase your fertility. But, you aren’t interested in doing 79 Freaking Things.
I get it.
Look- I can be a little intense. Just ask my husband (hah). I tend to go “all in” and totally overboard. And when I do I’m 100% in. My husband says he’s never seen anyone stick to a diet the way I do.
Also- some of those 79 Things were what *I* needed to do- and maybe not you. You are a different person, with a different body, and a different journey. Who knows what that last push is *you* need to make? You have to figure that out- not me.
BUT many of the 79 things are good for EVERYONE trying to conceive, no matter your diagnosis, or your method of conception. And some of them are absolutely crucial for EVERYONE- not just for fertility but for their health in general.
So, here is my attempt to narrow down to the 10 Most Important Things I Did to get Happy, Healthy, and Pregnant. These are the things that I truly believe (and that evidence backs) made a big different in my health, egg quality, and ultimately in me getting pregnant. If you don’t want to do all 79 Things, start here!
- Get a thorough infertility workup (i.e., bloodwork, tests, etc.), and general health assessment and then make your own “action list” based on your diagnoses. You have to research like crazy and figure out what an ideal diet and supplement regime is for YOU and YOUR needs in order to be as healthy as possible. There is no one perfect fertility diet or vitamins- it has to be tailored to YOU. I needed to ditch dairy and gluten, and many women do, but YOU might not have to. Or, you might have to ditch a whole lot more- like all grains, nuts, and legumes, for example. I did CoQ10 as a supplement and a fertility smoothie with wheatgrass and spirulina for my high FSH and egg quality- but you might need a smoothie with maca and vitex as a supplement. I don’t know. I’m not you! YOU have to figure that out. You can read more here on tailoring the diet to your needs and my thoughts on selecting fertility supplements.
- Get a really amazing acupuncturist who will give you Chinese herbs. Acupuncture is evidence-based for fertility, and a really good acupuncturist will help you adjust your diet, supplements, and lifestyle to YOUR particular diagnosis and needs. You can read my blog post on finding a great acupuncturist here.
- If you are trying to conceive the old fashioned way (baby dancing, in other words, having sex with your partner), make sure you are doing the deed before and during ovulation. This means either having sex every day like we did the first time, or effectively tracking ovulation like I did the second time with something like the Ava bracelet (or some combination of cervical mucous, basal body temperature charting, or other). You have to play to win.
- Throw out anything in your house (cleaners, personal care items, etc.) with phthalates, parabens, or triclosan (this is in anything “antibacterial”). These are the worst endocrine disruptors you will find in cleaners and personal care items (perfume, deodorant, shampoo, conditioners, etc.). Replace with non-toxic items free of phthalates, parabens, and triclosan. Check out my post on eliminating phthalates, and when you are ready to take it to the next step check out my post on all toxins to eliminate.
- Drastically reduce eating or drinking anything that comes in plastic or a can. Ditch canned goods, even BPA free ones, or at least use sparingly. Throw away old tupperware, and replace with glass or stainless. Never, ever, put plastic in the dishwasher or microwave (heating it is the worst). Invest in a nice glass water bottle if you haven’t already. Here’s more info on how to make your kitchen a fertility-haven!
- Ditch caffeine, alcohol, and trans-fats completely. These are clearly shown by research to hurt both male and female fertility. If you can’t ditch completely, switch to decaf, swiss-process organic coffee (like this one), the occasional glass of red wine, and absolutely no trans-fat. Read my article here on caffeine and my article here on what cheats are okay, and what aren’t.
- Buy organic. Ideally you are buying all organic food in order to reduce your exposure to fertility-harming pesticides (GMOs might be bad, but there isn’t solid evidence they harm fertility. Pesticides definitely harm fertility). But if you can’t afford or source all organic, concentrate on organic meat, eggs, dairy if you consume it, and the EWG’s Dirty Dozen which is the produce that has the most pesticide residue. In 2018, this is strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, green peppers, and hot peppers.
- Drastically reduce your sugar/simple carbohydrate intake. Ideally, you are keeping your total carbs under 40% of your daily intake. The best way to do this is to eliminate refined sugars, white carbs like rice, bread, and pasta, and sweeteners like maple syrup. I went a little crazy and also eliminated high-sugar fruits and limited healthy carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. If you aren’t ready to go “all-in” with such an intense diet like mine, start by eliminating your refined sugars, sweeteners, and white carbs. Make sure total carbs are under 40% and don’t worry about the rest.
- Spend 15-20 minutes in the “relaxation response” brought on by meditation and do positive visualization during it. Although I did over 20 different things in my daily fertility mind-body practice, the most important and most backed by science is reaching that full body relaxation or “trance” state for 15-20 minutes and incorporating positive visualization. You can read my whole post on meditation and visualization for fertility here. There are many ways to do this, but the number one easiest way to accomplish this, in my opinion, is to use the Circle & Bloom program for how you are trying to conceive. These are tailored guided visualizations/meditations that were created to help get you pregnant! They have multiple series, including a month long program for Natural Cycle, IUI/IVF, Frozen Embryo Transfer, Donor Egg, and PCOS Fertility Healing. They even have a new one for embryo donation! I used the Natural Cycle program every day the month I got successfully pregnant the first and second time.
- Filter your water! It’s incredible how many fertility harming toxins are in your water. You should be drinking plenty of filtered water every day, and you’ll be using it when you decide to do more than these ten things and start making a daily herbal infusion, bone broth, lemon-ginger tonic etc. Here is my full post on the toxins commonly found in tap water and my favorite ways to filter your water safely!
Of course, there are so many there are so many other things I hope you do!! I hope you avoid traditional hair dye and nail salons, eat 3-4 servings of green leafy vegetables a day, replace folic acid with folate, etc., take a whole foods prenatal, pray, develop a gratitude practice, give up dairy and gluten, but the truth is that probably the one other thing you should really do is make a baby journey plan with your partner.
Don’t just do these 10 things open ended without a plan. Decide to do them for 90 days (the length of time it takes to create new eggs), and have a plan for what happens next if you aren’t pregnant.
Will you go even more intense with the diet? Start doing more natural healing options like getting a Mayan Belly Massage, or doing hypnotherapy? Invest in the top quality water filter? Or will you go try an IUI or IVF cycle? And what will you do if that doesn’t work? Will you do donor eggs? Pursue adoption?
My husband and I were planners and the worst part of infertility for us was trying month after month without a plan. Once we had a plan it calmed us, centered us, and gave us something to focus on and work towards. And ultimately, its what allowed me to be happy doing 79 different things instead of crazy.
I had a time limit of 3-4 months. I could do ANYTHING for 3-4 months. ANYTHING. And if I wasn’t pregnant, I knew after that I could have wine, beer, cheeseburgers, whatever. And I knew we would eventually be parents, because we had so many options to pursue (we were open to all paths to parenthood including adoption). So I’m a big fan of making a plan. That way you know you’ll be on your way to baby, no matter what. And, you’ll know when you can have that cheeseburger :-).
What steps are you ready to take? Leave a note in the comments!