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Lifestyle Pregnancy

Foods to Avoid When TTC

April 18, 2019

A 2017 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that many women aren’t eating as well as they should be when they’re expecting a baby, which means they probably aren’t while trying to conceive (TTC) either. Let’s be fucking honest; fast food is the most convenient thing out there. Some shit that’s marketed as healthy are actually full of sugars and other shit you really shouldn’t be eating either. It’s not your fault, it’s societies fault and the way we’ve been marketed food and/or provided the worst things with more convenience than a hearty meal.

So what exactly constitutes a healthy diet when you’re trying to conceive? Part of it is eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are good for you, of course. The usual well-balanced diet that everyone should be eating. Another is avoiding artificial ingredients, synthetic hormones, and potential contaminants that could make conception less likely and may be harmful to a potential fetus.

Before you freak out in case you’ve eaten any of these things recently, they are not likely to cause harm in moderation. It is suggested that these items are kept the minimum when trying to get pregnant, and then keep them out of your diet once you’re pregnant.

Trans Fats

I mean, you should be avoiding these anyways. Moderation is ok, but to overeat these even in a healthy diet is not good for you. Be prepared, it’s things like all the delicious, joyous, wonderfully gluttonous things in the world, such as cakes, cookies, most chips, microwave popcorn, fried foods, cinnamon rolls, coffee creamer, and more. I know, I’m sorry to be the bearer of fucking bad news. These are all things wonderfully delicious. Again, eat in moderation. Maybe one fried food a week, not every single day. If you want to read the list and get really sad, the Mayo Clinic has it here.

High Mercury Fish

Mercury can damage the nervous system, which means that consuming mercury-rich seafood like swordfish and bigeye tuna while pregnant could directly harm the fetus. Eating high-mercury fish before you’re even pregnant could build up stores of mercury in your body, which could also affect the development of the baby’s nervous system. I think the fish to avoid are the ones that people aren’t eating the most of, except Tuna. I love this graphic from the FDA and their recent update to the list.

I honestly thought you needed to avoid all seafood once pregnant. So seeing this chart totally opened my eyes. There are a lot of seafood options that you SHOULD be eating while TTC, and while pregnant. What’s really good is my favorites are on the best choices list, haha. In a normal day to day I tend to eat shrimp or salmon mostly so I’m glad I can still eat those.

Courtesy of the FDA

Soda

Listen girl, you shouldn’t be drinking this shit anyways. I used to be the girl drinking at least 3 diet cokes a day, the real number being much higher. I drank it more than I drank water. I cut it out in August because of the 21 Day Meal Plan and I haven’t had one since. I haven’t even been tempted, which is a huge deal for me. You shouldn’t be drinking it in your regular life, while you’re TTC, and certainly not while pregnant.

A few studies have actually linked it to low fertility, not to mention all the other problems soda creates. They’re full of sugar you don’t need, bacteria that fucks with your gut, and why even bother if it messes with fertility? I highly recommend 0-calorie sparkling water like La Croix or Bubly.

Alcohol

Should be a no brainer, but ya know. Luckily, I don’t really drink anymore. I would have a glass a wine on an occasion at a nice dinner but in my daily life, it’s nonexistent. For no particular reason other than I don’t need it and I’m busy. Alcohol, like mercury, can contribute to infertility, and it depletes your body of vitamin B, which improves your chances of pregnancy and supports a fetus’ growth. It can also affect your male partner if you’ve got one.

Unpasteurized Soft Cheese

I had nooooo idea this was a thing, haha. Cheeses like Brie, Roquefort, Camembert, and Gorgonzola have a higher risk of containing listeria, which can increase your risk for miscarriage. The only one I would eat on occasion is gorgonzola in some yummy pasta dishes but it’s easily avoidable for me. The good news here is YOU CAN STILL EAT CHEESE! Hard cheese are good to go.

Deli Meat

When I heard this, I literally said “WTF? Why?!” When you have never been close to being pregnant, it’s definitely not something you think about. I haven’t eaten deli meat in years so not a problem, but it seems so random. Processed meat like lunch meat and hot dogs, are also vulnerable to listeria contamination. If you want to eat deli meat, they recommend heating it up until it’s steaming to kill bacteria. I would rather just avoid it because gross.

Raw Animal Products

I feel like this should just be avoided altogether but obviously during pregnancy and trying to conceive. Undercooked meat, seafood, and eggs might contain salmonella, coliform bacteria, or toxoplasmosis, which can infect a fetus if it passes through the placenta. You want to make sure to cook all animal products thoroughly and skip sushi and carpaccios.

This is not an exhaustive list. For more see the FDA Food Safety info. These items are what’s recommended to avoid. Whether you avoid them is up to you + the health of your baby or your fertility.


I know, a sad sad list. I promise to come back with a post on how to naturally boost fertility through eating. That will be way more exciting.

What was your least favorite thing to give up or thing you’re not looking forward to giving up?

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