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What To Eat When You’re Trying To Get Pregnant

These foods can keep you healthy — and prep you for pregnancy, too.

When you think about it, we eat for so many more reasons other than hunger. We snack when we’re feeling celebratory (or sad), or because we’re stressed and want some soothing (or both). But you can also potentially eat your way towards becoming pregnant, too, simply by modifying your diet. Wondering what the best fertility foods for men and women when trying to get pregnant are? Well, get your shopping list ready and be sure to put some of these items in your shopping cart — along with a pregnancy test… just in case.

You’ve probably heard the antiquated expression, You are what you eat. Well, it’s kind of true, especially in how it affects your fertility. “There are some foods that have been demonstrated to naturally boost fertility while others can lead to medical issues (like obesity and diabetes) that can impair fertility,” Dr. Barry Witt, MD, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and Medical Director with WINFertility tells Romper. So the benefit of eating well and prioritizing natural foods is twofold: for your health and also to increase sperm and egg health.

If you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test result in your near future, it can’t hurt to add these fertility-boosting foods to your diet.

1

Tomatoes

Sure, a slice of tomato on your sandwich can help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, but it can also help you get pregnant, too, according to Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “Tomatoes are high in lycopene which is an antioxidant, but it’s also good for semen health,” says Dr. Gaither.

2

Walnuts

Known for helping to lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation, walnuts are also an excellent addition to your pre-pregnancy diet. “Walnuts are rich in Omega fatty acids,” says Dr. Gaither. “They’re good for sperm because they enhance sperm vitality, movement, and shape.” So make sure that your sweetie has a handful of walnuts so that they help, you know, his.

3

Beans and Lentils

“Beans and lentils are high in folate and protein,” says Dr. Gaither. But the benefits don’t end there. “Lentils contain a polygamist Spermidine which are beneficial to sperm.” Spermidine is an important part of maintaining cellular homeostasis, which keeps your body (including your egg and your partner’s sperm production) functioning at its best, a study found.

4

Citrus Fruits

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Forget about an apple a day. Opting for oranges and other citrusy fruits are one way to prep your body for pregnancy. Says Dr. Gaither: “Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and putrescine-a polyamine – both of which improve egg and semen health.”

5

Dairy

Milk does a body good, especially if you’re hoping that said body will be carrying a baby soon. “Dairy is rich in saturated fats, Vitamins A, D ,E, and K,” says Dr. Witt. “It’s good for fertility and egg health.” That’s why you can have the whole milk or yogurt — even a small bowl of ice cream. Full fat dairy is your friend when you’re trying to conceive.

6

Foods High In Folic Acid

You know how you should take a prenatal vitamin when you’re expecting? Well, those all-important 400 micrograms of folic acid found in your prenatals can help prevent neural tube defects in your baby. But while you could always pop a prenatal pill daily as you’re trying to conceive, you can also find some folic acid naturally in foods like asparagus, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, or beets, Dr. Witt recommends.

7

Healthy Fats

“Women trying to get pregnant should always include healthy fats in their diet to support immune function,” Brittany Lubeck, MS, RD, a registered dietitian tells Romper. “Fat is also essential to neurological pathways and messaging systems that control hormones.” Healthy fats include foods like avocados, cheese, whole eggs, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.

8

Whole Grains

If you’re looking to get pregnant soon, be sure to have whole grains in your diet, Dr. Witt recommends. “A diet with a high consumption of whole grains has been associated with improved fertility in women and higher semen quality in men,” he says. “It improves insulin sensitivity, pregnancy and live birth rates, too.” You can look for whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, and quinoa for good sources of whole grain. “Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates take time to digest which helps prevent large spikes and dips in blood sugar, which can disrupt hormones,” says Lubeck. “Whole grains should always be part of a healthy diet as they are great sources of fiber and important B vitamins.”

9

Iron

It is important for a woman who is trying to get pregnant to make sure she is not iron deficient. “Iron is needed for regular ovulation, which is obviously essential to fertility,” says Lubeck. There are tons of iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, spinach, tofu, beans — even breakfast cereals may be fortified with 100% of your daily value for iron, the National Institutes of Health reported.

But if you plan to get your iron intake from meat, make sure it’s safe, Dr. Cindy Duke, PhD, FACOG, a fertility expert and the Medical Director of Nevada Fertility Institute tells Romper. “If you're a meat eater it’s important to make sure the meat is hormonal-free and antibiotic-free,” Dr. Duke advises. “The hormones and the antibiotics we use in animals are known as Endocrine Disruptors, which really do disrupt our own human hormonal messaging.”

The truth is that there isn’t one food that is guaranteed to help you conceive. Instead, you should view a well-balanced diet and optimum nutrition as a step towards better health for you and your future baby. And when you do get pregnant, you’ll have already (hopefully) adopted good habits that can counterbalance all those extreme pregnancy cravings you might have. So nourish your body now, and you can definitely improve your chances of seeing two pink lines on a pregnancy test.

Experts:

Dr. Barry Witt, MD, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and Medical Director with WINFertility

Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln

Brittany Lubeck, MS, RD, a registered dietitian

Dr. Cindy Duke, PhD, FACOG, a fertility expert and the Medical Director of Nevada Fertility Institute