Mar 212009
 

Here’s a list of what foods not to eat when you’re trying to get pregnant. Avoiding eating peas, for instance, because it contains a natural chemical that affects fertility.

Foods to Avoid When Youre Trying to Get Pregnant

Getting Pregnant

“[Some foods] may delay or in some cases even prevent you from conceiving,” writes Niels Lauersen, MD, PhD & Colette Bouchez in Getting Pregnant: What You Need To Know Right Now. “One of these foods is peas, and its history as an anti-fertility food goes back at least as far as 1949.”

A natural chemical in peas (m-xylohydroquinone) can prevent pregnancy – and peas are being studied as a possible natural contraceptive. I didn’t find research to support the idea that green peas are a food to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant, but I did find a study that says reproductive success for both men and women is influenced by the food they ate early in life. This research by the University of Sheffield shows that in men and women born into poor families, food in very early life (prenatally, and early in infanthood and childhood) was related to the probability of reproducing.

The foods you eat today have an effect on your reproductive success – but so do the foods you ate as a baby! You can’t control what you ate in the past, but here are several foods not to eat when you’re trying to conceive right now….

Foods to Avoid When You Want to Get Pregnant

Soybeans and soy foods. The plant form of estrogen (phytoestrogens) in soybeans won’t help when you’re trying to get pregnant – and it’s especially important to avoid high soy consumption if you’re coping with infertility. “For those trying to conceive, the excess estrogen activity is enough to induce a hormone imbalance that may affect egg production and ovulation,” write the authors of Getting Pregnant.





Decrease your soy intake six months before you start trying to get pregnant, and remember that soy is “hidden” in foods such as tempeh, oils, flour, milk, and texturized vegetable protein (TVP). But, make sure you get enough protein! Learn how protein increases female fertility.

Peanut butter and spinach. Peanut butter and spinach are foods to avoid when you’re trying to get pregnant because of they deplete calcium – which is a mineral that is essential for your baby to develop and grow. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium if you’re trying to get pregnant.

Soda pop, high-sugar fruit drinks, and candy. Excessive sugar can lead to low blood sugar, which can upset levels of reproductive hormones. You want your hormones to be as balanced and stable as possible when you’re trying to get pregnant. Avoid sugary foods if you’re trying to get pregnant – and learn how sugar and processed foods are common causes of fertility problems.

avoid food trying to conceive

“Foods to Avoid When You’re Trying Get Pregnant” image by Archbob via Pixabay, CC License

Coffee, tea, chocolate, cola and some medications. Excessive caffeine can not only reduce your chances of getting pregnant, it can increase the risk of miscarriage. When you’re trying to get pregnant, drink tea in moderation – and stick to decaffeinated tea. In Getting Pregnant Lauersen and Bouchez write, “Cut out caffeine when you can, and when you can’t, minimize consumption by taking into account your total daily intake from all sources.” Single does or short-term use of caffeine-rich products won’t cause infertility, but they are good things to avoid when you’re trying to conceive.

Wieners and lunch meats (even if you’re not trying to get pregnant! gross). The nitrates and nitrites in frankfurters, bologna, salami, and lunch meats make them foods that aren’t good to eat if you want to get pregnant or are coping with infertility. The preservatives (nitrates and nitrites) in these meats aren’t as potent as once believed – they were once thought to have reproductive cancer-causing effects! These foods may not cause cancer, but they are good to avoid when you’re trying to conceive a baby.

Watch the painkillers/stimulants/diet pills and caffeine. These aren’t exactly “foods not to eat when you’re trying to get pregnant”, but things like Extra Strength Excedrin, Maximum-Strength Midol, Vanquish, Anacin, and Amaphen are pain relievers that may contain significant amounts of caffeine. No-Doz is a stimulant that has caffeine, and many diet pills also contain caffeine…these aren’t foods to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant, but they’re definitely factors that can affect your fertility levels!

Foods to Avoid When You're Trying to Get PregnantIf you’re not taking a prenatal vitamin supplement, consider the Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamins. Make sure your body has the folic acid, iron, and calcium it needs to get pregnant and support a healthy pregnancy.If you have any thoughts on these foods to avoid when you’re trying to get pregnant, please comment below. I can’t offer medical advice, though. Please talk to your health practitioner if you’ve been trying to conceive for over a year without success. It may not be a fertility diet you need!

One More Thing About Food and Getting Pregnant

Dietitians at Loyola University Health System say women who watch their weight and closely follow a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetables, vegetable oils, fish and beans may increase their chance of becoming pregnant.

“Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive,” said Brooke Schantz, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, LUHS. “Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.”

Thirty percent of infertility is due to either being overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association. Both of these extremes in weight cause shifts in hormones, which can affect ovulation. Reducing weight by even 5 percent can enhance fertility.

Schantz recommends the following additional nutrition tips for women who are looking to conceive:

  • Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil
  • Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet
  • Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables and fruit
  • Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy
  • Take a regular women’s multivitamin

If you want to get pregnant, you need to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet.

For more tips on getting pregnant, read Before You Take Fertility Supplements to Get Pregnant.

Summary
Article Name
Foods to Avoid When You Want to Get Pregnant
Author
Description
Here's a list of foods not to eat when you're trying to get pregnant. Whether you've been trying to conceive for two months or two years, you need to eat as healthy as possible.
laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen - Christian, bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer, blogger, warrior princess. :-) My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

What's happening in your life? I welcome your big and little comments below! I can't give you advice, but writing might bring you clarity and insight.

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13

In peace and passion...Laurie

  36 Responses to “Foods to Avoid When You’re Trying to Get Pregnant”

  1. Thanks for your thoughts on these foods to avoid when you’re trying to conceive. I updated the article, to include the information about how prenatal and early childhood nutrition affects reproduction. Interesting!

  2. In endometriosis, heavy and scanty bleeding are caused by over-production of certain hormones in the
    prostaglandins hormonal family that controls the aggregation or
    disaggregation of platelets. Also taking fluid between meals
    is very good, and try to avoid soda, caffeine, more coffee, odours
    and smells of foods that triggers you to vomit.
    Behave Like You’re Already Pregnant – If you’re
    trying to get pregnant or suspect that you may already be pregnant, start
    conditioning your body and changing any unhealthy lifestyle habits.

  3. Regarding soy, if that were the case, how would you explain the existence of Japanese people? Tofu = soy!

  4. Eating the right foods can increase your chances of getting pregnant, but you really need to consult your gynecologist if you’re having problems conceiving. Eating healthy is so important to your overall health, but it can’t work a miracle!

  5. so doctor does all of hot sufff like hot chips mostly effect u by not getting pregant

  6. i thank all of you concerning pregnancy. My prayers to all of us who needs children is that God in HIS Infinite Mercy will give us our own children in no time now. Amen. Good luck to all of us.

    Regards.

    Nneoma

  7. hi i hope some one reads this and can let me know, i have had an iud copper 7 for 11 years, when it was taken out doctor said every thing looks good,i also take the off brand of excedrin for years now, its the only thing i can take,any way i got iud out about 4 months ago,my husband and i have been trying to get pregnant, no luck so far im scared some how ive messed my body up,i have 2 kids already and he has kids from previous relationship, but we want 1 together,what can i do to help me get pregnant? what can i take besides excedrin? someone please help!

  8. Ho Dr. ,
    I didn’t get any reply from you. I am still waiting.
    Take care,

  9. Hi

    is ot ok to have decaf coffe?? i have been trying to get pregnant for 1 yr. but have one cup light coffee at times two ! every day ! its nescafe..more cocoa than caffein..is that ok ? or to be avoided

  10. hi ,
    i am trying to get pregnent since last yr.my husband did his sperm test and they found that he has a sperm head defect which was 98% when he did his first test in september 2011,he started taking vitamin E and we tried again but couldn’t succceed.he went back and did the sperm test again the head defect was reduced to 93% do you have any suggestions for us.

  11. Hi,
    Thank you for you article, I have been trying to get pregnant and I just bought soybeans powder to be using for some of my food. But reading your article i notice that Soybeans is one of the food you mentioned.

    Please kindly help me how will I go about this. what else can I do to increase my changes of getting pregnant.

    Thank You
    Faith

  12. So… are snow peas and snap peas foods to avoid too? I was under the impression that ALL veggies were good to maintain a balanced diet. Are snow peas ok in small amounts? For instance a cup and a half of peas tossed into a large salad which I eat out of throughout the week? That’s like 3 or 4 snow peas per day.

    I also don’t get the thing about peanut butter and spinach… I get that it could be bad in LARGE amounts but if you’re taking in 3 or so cups of dairy (cheese, milk or yogurt) per day then I would think it would be ok… Worst come to worst take a couple tums on top of your vitamins…

  13. Dear Ali,

    I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage and your ectopic pregnancy. It’s a roller coaster of emotion, isn’t it? Highs and lows, which are so emotionally and physically draining.

    Have you tried tracking your ovulation? Here’s an article that may help:

    Should You Use an Ovulation Predictor Kit If You’re Trying to Conceive?

    Staying as emotionally and physically healthy as possible is important. Try to eat a varied diet, complete with all the vitamins and minerals – including folic acid, of course!

    What books have you read about getting pregnant? Here are some of the best books I’ve read:

    Fertility Books – The Best “How to Get Pregnant” Books

    And, why don’t you try visualization? After all, our thoughts become things. So, the more you think about being pregnant, getting pregnant, having a baby, etc, the more likely you may be to get pregnant. It really is true that our thoughts become things — in most cases. Of course, visualization is no guarantee you’ll get pregnant…it just helps set the stage :-)

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  14. Hi,
    I just read the article and I have been trying to conceive since Winter 2009, we had an ectopic in the spring of 2010, a miscarriage right after then a chemical pregnancy in January of 2011… I have been diagnosed with a Bicornuate uterus, they said it’s the “best” worse case, meaning my case is not as bad as they’ve seen, very mild but still not fixable… And honestly I don’t think is a reason, I just try to think that they were all just flukes and next time it will happen.

    Any suggestions? Tips? I eat right and basically follow your diet, started not having caffeine last year after getting pregnant the 1st time… But Peas?!can prevent pregnancy!! That I am finding hard to believe!

    Thank you,
    Ali

  15. Thanks for reading this article, Dan…I hope you avoid those foods if you’re trying to get pregnant!

  16. Thanks for this article on foods not to eat when you want to get pregnant. My wife and I are trying to conceive, and she asked me to read this article. This is my proof I read it :-)

  17. Hi Katie,

    Congrats on the IUI — I hope you get pregnant!

    Regarding pomegranate and pregnancy, I’ve read research that says it’s good because it’s so full of antioxidants and other vitamins. However, I encourage you to get direct medical advice from your fertility doctor or nurse.

    Same with soy; I encourage you to talk to your doctor. If it were me, I’d take prenatal vitamins even if they had some soy in them, because I’d assume that the amount is small. But, if it’s a concern for you, I think you should either talk to your doctor or get vitamins without soy.

    I wish you all the best with your pregnancy….and please don’t hestitate to call a local or national health line to get medical advice! Don’t rely on what you read on the internet. Different things — including healthy foods — affect different women in different ways. The best thing to do is get advice that’s specific to you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  18. QUESTION ON POMEGRANATE:
    What is the verdict on getting pregnant and pomegranate? I just had an IUI and picked up some pomegranate. While I read there has been a study where it reduces brain issues in newborns, I also read it works as a CONTRACEPTIVE.

    CLARIFICATION ON SOY:
    My prenantal and other vitamins have soy as an ingredient – should I be looking for vitamins without soy or is the ingredient minimal?

  19. Bobby,

    That’s great to hear that your friends avoided coffee and caffeine, and got pregnant! Coffee is one of the foods to avoid if you’re trying to conceive a baby — though I have read that a cup a day isn’t bad for you. I guess it depends on your body and ability to get pregnant easily and quickly.

  20. Sucks to have to go without the caffeine from coffee. Some friends of mine though were having some trouble conceiving. They followed pretty much the guidelines above, including cutting out coffee, and not too long afterwards they were able to get pregnant.

  21. Hi Adriana,

    How very exciting — planning to get pregnant is so much fun :-)

    Here are two articles on low blood sugar, from WebMD and the Mayo Clinic (two of my favorite sources of medical info on the internet).

    What is Low Blood Sugar – Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia

    There are also several books written on low blood sugar. I haven’t read any myself so I can’t recommend them, but I suggest going to Amazon.com and seeing what’s been written.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  22. Me and My Boyfriend Of 2 Years are planning to have our first child.But a couple of years ago my doctor told me my blood sugar was low and im scared for my health and the babies health!Any Good Advice on how to keep my blood sugar on check? diets/anything?

  23. The Paleolithic diet refers to the diet taken by human beings before the arrival of agriculture, technology and civilization. This Stone Age diet, in short, consisted of mainly lean red meat and vegetables. In this type of diet animal meat is consumed in large quantities and 45 to 65% of the energy needed by the body is derived from it.

    Until people shifted to our modern diets, amazingly, they experienced extremely low rates of cancer, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart diseases. Thus, many scientists and nutritionists feel that Paleolithic diet is a very good tool for fighting against obesity, cancer and many other modern ailments.

    The foods included in this diet are generally lean red meat, eggs, fish, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Items like breads, pasta, milk, refined sugars were excluded from this diet. This diet used to vary region and culture wise in different countries.

    The specialty of this diet is it is rich in protein, fiber, minerals, iron, vitamins, mono unsaturated fat, omega3 fats, antioxidants and phyto-chemicals. On the other hand the diet contains lower quantity of saturated fats, salts, and enzyme inhibitors.

    Experts feel that the Paleolithic diet have many health benefits and since foods taken are mostly natural they have no side effects. Since milk and dairy products are excluded in this diet it is safe to have some calcium to protect from rickets, osteoporosis, etc.

  24. Thanks, Zoe. I’ve read that beans and meat are better sources of iron. And indeed, at some times of the month I crave hamburgers that are still bloody….not spinach! :-)

  25. Spinach is not a great food for iron absorption…because although it contains iron, it also contains high amounts of oxalic acid which prevents it’s absorption. It is still a brilliant vegetable for other key nutrients like B5, Vit K, etc, but you should get your iron and (calcium) elsewhere!! I had been eating bags of spinach a week and had a low ferritin level on a blood check!!

  26. hi this is ravi .i got married on august-08 from that time we are tring to make us parents ,but my wife have problem of irregularity periods once three months she is getting now she is taking medication ,that time when i tested my sperm count it was 69 mil/ml now it is came down to 34 mil/ml is there any problem will come at my end?-come to her if she is taking a harmones tablets she will get periods.to come out of this problem pls guide us with a natural diet.And i am working pharmaceutical manager i need to travel by bike on and average 30 km/day

  27. Unexplained infertility is the easiest aspect of infertility for an acupuncturist and herbalist to treat. The reason being is we have no physical obstructions to contend with during treatment. The disharmony that is happening in either you or your husband, or perhaps both, should be simple to re-adjust with some acupuncture and herbal medicine.

    Both you and your husband should seek out treatment from an acupuncturist and herbalist whose expertise is infertility. My husband and I practice together and he sees all of the husbands and I treat the wives. This way each sex feels more comfortable talking about personal health history like: “what color is your menstrual blood” and so on and so forth. When a couple is experiencing unexplained infertility the focus tends to inexplicably on the woman. This can inhibit your conception because it could in fact be a deficiency in your husband that isn’t being picked up on laboratory tests. Our medicine picks up on imbalances that are more subtle. Western medical tests pick up on obvious imbalances within the body.

    I agree with Laurie that some basic tests like hsg to see if your tubes are blocked or checking your thyroid to see if you have hypo-thyroidism should be done as soon as possible if you have been trying for longer than a year. However, it is not necessary to have these tests done prior to seeing an acupuncturist and herbalist but the more information you have offer the better.

    Good luck!

  28. Dear Dee,

    I know how frustrating it is — my heart goes out to you!

    Some couples struggle with “unexplained fertility.” In fact, about 30% of couples who can’t get pregnant have absolutely nothing wrong with them…which is why it’s “unexplained.”

    I suggest trying different things, which you haven’t tried yet. Some couples coping with infertility have been helped by yoga, or acupuncture, or positive thinking, or even just going on vacation for 2-3 weeks! I don’t know what will work for you, but I encourage you to visualize a healthy pregnancy, and try different ways to achieve that goal.

    Here are some articles that may get you thinking:

    How Acupuncture Affects Fertility

    Fertility Yoga Tips for Couples Trying to Conceive

    5 Tips for Creating a Vision Board for Fertility

    I’ve also asked acupuncturist and herbalist Kristen Burris to give us her thoughts…

    And, let me know if you’d like links to articles about improving male fertility (sperm count, motility, production, etc).

    Also — have you asked another doctor for a second opinion? It might be useful to have a round of fertility tests done by a specialist, just in case there’s something your doctor is missing. I can give you a link that describes all the tests in a full fertility workup, which might help you see what’s involved in testing. Let me know if you’d like this.

    I wish you all the best in trying to get pregnant!

    Laurie

  29. i have been trien to get prego forever. my husband i have nothing wrong with us are healthy. im 20 and hes 37. the dr said we are fine, weve cut out caffine stress everything were supposed to please help

  30. Diar,

    Forgive me for not responding earlier! Here’s the link to the article about overcoming fear of infertility:

    5 Tips for Overcoming Fear of Infertility

    I welcome your questions or thoughts, and I promise to respond quicker next time…

    Laurie

  31. Nice compilation ! But in my opinion you should basically avoid the really bad things like smoking or drinking alcohol…

  32. Laurie, it would be nice to read said article. My husband and I have just been married for almost 5 months, so we still don’t know whether it’s just a matter of time or there really is a ‘problem. Still, would be good to be ready. Thanks again, Laurie :)

  33. Diar,

    Thank for for subscribing to Quips & Tips for Successful Writers — I’m glad to have you on board!

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean about being hesitant, reluctant, or just plain old scared to visit an infertility blog. I felt exactly the same way when we first discovered we were dealing with inferility…it’s tough. But, when you’re ready, then you’ll be ready — it may not have been the right time to visit infertility blogs before.

    I wrote an article on overcoming the fear of infertility; if you ever want to read that, just let me know. I’ll post the link here.

    Take care,
    Laurie

  34. Laurie, I’ve been subscribing to your Quips and Tips for Successful Writers blog for a while and was always tempted to read this one talking about infertility, but this is the first time I visit this blog (my husband and I have been trying to conceive, but visiting this kind of blog made me ‘scared’, if you know what I mean). Apparently it’s useful (just like this post), I should have come here before.

    I did not know that most foods mentioned here on this post are ‘obstacles’ to getting pregnant. Thanks for the information, Laurie :)

  35. That’s a great question — there is definitely a contradiction there. But, both are true facts about spinach:

    Spinach depletes calcium, yet it’s high in iron and folic acid.

    If you’re trying to get pregnant or already are pregnant, I’d suggest talking to your doctor or fertility specialist about his/her recommendations about how much spinach could deplete calcium. The book I read doesn’t give an amount.

    Another suggestion is to include a little bit of spinach in your diet, but focus on other foods that are rich in iron, folic acid, and calcium.

    Folic acid shouldn’t be difficult to get enough of, since most doctors and fertility specialists recommend a supplement.

    I guess some foods have their benefits and drawbacks — like soy! Too much soy is bad for fertility, but low to moderate amounts is good for fertility and health.

    I hope this helps — and thanks for pointing out this contradiction about spinach! I hadn’t noticed it before.

    All best,
    Laurie

  36. It says that Spinach is good as it contains iron and iron and folic acid is good for both pregnant and expecting /planning to conceive woman.Then y to avoid spinach just for calcium?

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