Many of us spend our 20s trying NOT to get pregnant and our 30s desperately trying TO get pregnant. And while 40 percent of pregnancies are unplanned, if you're in the 60 percent trying to conceive, you want to ensure that you'll have a healthy pregnancy, easy delivery, and an even healthier baby. But do you know that 15 percent of couples in the United States have trouble conceiving? Getting your period every month when you're trying for a baby can be deeply depressing.
So many of the 30-something women in my practice have been on oral contraceptives for years, living goal-oriented, high-stress lifestyles and getting all their "ducks in a row" before they start contemplating a family. "Infertility" is not being able to conceive after 12 months of actively trying. Sadly, so many women don't realize they have medical problems until they are trying to conceive and having trouble doing so. There are many factors that contribute to infertility, but I always take it back to the basics with my patients and start with nutrition.
The goal is to eat natural, clean, non-GMO, chemical- and dye-free organic foods as much as possible. Always check the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 for the most up-to-date foods to buy organic. The Standard American Diet (SAD) actually decreases fertility; people consuming high trans-fat diets, processed meats, sugary drinks, and high-glycemic-index foods can be devoid of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins—which makes it harder to conceive naturally. In contrast, the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet—my personal favorite—increases the chances of women conceiving naturally as well as through IVF. The key is to have adequate protein, fats, and healthy carbs while limiting excessive sugars and processed foods. Here's where to start: