I Can’t Get Pregnant!

“I can’t get pregnant no matter what I do!” I hear this often from my infertility clients who are going through repeated, unsuccessful insemination and IVF cycles or have had multiple miscarriages. I have to ask though, is it true that everything that can be done is being done? I don’t think so. Increasingly I am asking my clients about their diets and we are discussing the impact of an American diet (i.e., processed foods, junk food eaten all day, and huge portions) on infertility. Here are typical responses:

• I am addicted to cheese.
• I just love my bread.
• I couldn’t possibly give up pasta.
• I am a sugarholic.
• I like my alcohol.
• Diet Coke is my vice.
• Give up my Mountain Dew? That’s crazy talk!

Well here’s some crazy talk. Would you rather spend $25,000 for IVF or make some dietary changes and see what happens? Let’s be real, making different food choices will not always result in pregnancy, with or without fertility treatment. But it will be very helpful to an overweight woman with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) on Metformin who can’t lose an ounce, or to a woman or a man with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (see my previous blog post Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Your Fertility). Please note the gluten-free train that is picking up steam across the USA. And for years, acupuncturists specializing in infertility have been recommending cutting out dairy to optimize the chances of conceiving.

Don’t get offended, please. I am not talking necessarily about going on a diet. Everybody hates the idea of going on a diet. I hate the idea of going on a diet. But the truth is that nobody likes it when their infertility specialist or OB/GYN tells them, “You just need to lose 60 pounds. Then we can start your fertility treatment.” That one has a star on the Walk of Shame. Add frustration in there for good measure. I am talking about foods that may be wrong for YOU. These are foods that shoot your blood sugar into the wacko zone and cause a craving/feed me/craving cycle. Obviously, that isn’t helping fertility, blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels. Or pant size. And let’s be honest; portion sizes in this country are bizarrely large. Our eyeballs eat more than our bodies need.

So, who is willing to make a bet with me and see how making some dietary changes might change the hormone numbers in the doctor’s office? Again, this will not help everybody but it will help a lot of people. I am already jumping for joy with clients who are conceiving AND maintaining their pregnancies to term after making different dietary choices. What have you got to lose…and to gain?



  1. Where Are You Headed in 2014? My Loving Challenge to You. | Dr. Deborah Simmons, PhD, LMFT - […] and stay pregnant.  Take a look at Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Your Fertility and I Can’t Get Pregnant!…

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