In September 2014, we decided that we wanted to start trying to get pregnant that December. Through God’s grace, we were able to conceive our son, Noah, on the first try, and now, we have a thriving, strong dude. In the three months between September and December, I used that preconception time to “clean up my diet” and get my body ready for pregnancy. Looking back almost two years ago, I see what I would do again, what I wouldn’t do again, and how I have cleaned up my nutrition even further since then. I will also talk about any modifications I made to my fitness regime and our strategies as a couple to conceive.
First, I will talk about the things that I would definitely do again. I started incorporating brazil nuts and royal jelly. I also reduced my intake of sugar and increased my intake of whole foods like vegetables, yogurt, fruit, and protein. I started to eat half an avocado with my eggs at breakfast because a study showed that eating 3 avocados a week increased IVF success rates by 3.5 times. I ate eggs for breakfast most days. I also read Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode. I occasionally threw in pumpkin seeds for Brendon and added lemon to my water to cleanse my system, but many of my efforts assumed that doing something once or twice would create systemic change. I don’t agree with this now having done more health research, but sometimes, people get irrational when trying to conceive.
As far as lifestyle, I cut back on my running slightly. I still ran a few times a week, but I was not doing the marathon training that I had been in the months prior. I also cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Prior to September, we both were probably having one drink an evening, and I was consuming several cups of coffee a day. So, I slowly started having at least a several nights a week without alcohol, and I limited myself to two cups of coffee a day. I started incorporating relaxation techniques like fertility hypnosis and relaxation music while at work.
There are also things I would do differently, and many relate to focusing on unnecessary supplements or foods. I over-complicated it in many ways that were not productive. I think at the time taking supplements like maca and vitex were not needed since I am a young, healthy individual, and I had not shown infertility symptoms previously. I also drank grapefruit juice. I had read that dairy was good for fertility so I increased my consumption of yogurt, milk, and cheese. I don’t necessarily think this is wrong, but many of the articles did not distinguish conventional dairy from high quality, full fat dairy. S, I started with low fat, conventional yogurt and high sodium conventional cheese. There were many times I would purchase a “fertility food” for us to eat once or twice. I think doing all these random efforts, thinking these would make the difference, instead of just focusing on a real food diet caused more stress than necessary.
Finally, I will discussing our tracking and timing method (sorry if this is TMI). After I removed my Mirena, I had one period, and we made the assumption that I would have a 28 day cycle though I don’t know if this was actually the case. Once we got into the suspected fertile period, we TTC’d several days in a row and used Pre-seed. I stayed lying down with my hips propped up. As far as tracking, I was only looking at cervical mucus, and honestly, I was kind of guessing about whether it was fertile or not.
Overall, I think we were a couple in good health, and I made some small changes that probably increased our chances of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Some changes are better than none, and I found that once I was pregnant making more changes was easier as I had a forming baby that I was thinking about. In my next post, I will talk about our current preconception plan for baby #2. Our current plan is much more intentional with strong nutrition for both of us this time and has a big focus on all the nutrients I need for hormonal health and baby, while at the same time not stressing about incorporating extraneous elements. To put it simply, we plan to eat healthy and have fun!