So you and your partner have been seriously discussing having a baby. Congratulations! But before you start trying to conceive a baby, there are certain foods you should cut back on (and avoid), and some healthy lifestyle changes to start making.
To get the low-down on tweaks to make now to aid fertility, we chatted with Jean Twenge, author of The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant, for her expert advice for women preparing to conceive.
What You Should Avoid:
1. Trim down on high-mercury fish
If you like fish and eat a fair amount, cut back on your consumption of high-mercury fish (tuna halibut, swordfish) three months before starting to get pregnant, suggests Twenge.
According to the American Pregnancy Association website, “FDA guidelines state that no more than 12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly. ‘Highest’ mercury fish should be avoided and ‘high’ mercury fish should be kept to only three 6-oz servings per month.”
See more: 6 low mercury fish
2. Keep the lid on soda and fruit juice
There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about how your diet affects fertility. What people tend to agree on is avoiding soda and fruit juice. They’re both very high in sugar, they raise blood sugar very quickly and that can have a negative impact on fertility. It’s also a good idea to eliminate trans fats from your diet, too, as consuming too much has been linked to infertility. Read labels to find out if you’ve been unknowingly consuming trans fats in processed, packaged foods.
3. Cut back on alcohol and change up when you have a glass.
Alcohol can be linked to fertility problems and miscarriage. “It does affect fertility if you drink a lot, but having a glass or two with dinner on the weekends is unlikely to have much effect on fertility,” says Twenge. Have the wine before you ovulate if you’re going to do it. Encourage his consume less if he’s a heavy drinker, too much alcohol can affect his fertility as well.
4. Ditch the extra pounds.
Having too much or too little body fat can cause irregular or infrequent ovulation. “Women whose body mass index [BMI] is between 24 and 30 are most fertile,” Domar says.
See more: Calculate your BMI