Things to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant

Things to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant

The process of trying to conceive is a very exciting time, but it can also be stressful on you and your partner. While there are many helpful tips to help increase your chances of getting pregnant, sometimes what you don’t do can be equally as important. Here are some key things to avoid while trying to conceive that can make the process just a little easier!


While stress is an unavoidable part of life, too much of it can negatively affect your mental, physical, and reproductive health. In fact, one study found that women with higher levels of the stress biomarker had a two-fold increased risk of infertility. If you’re concerned that your stress levels are getting out of hand, talk to your doctor to establish healthy ways to cope and improve your overall mental health. 


While the CDC recommends not consuming alcohol at all while trying to get pregnant, having a drink while trying to conceive should not affect the overall process. While having an occasional drink while TTC is mostly fine, it’s recommended that you avoid drinking during your two-week wait (that’s after ovulation and before your period starts) and completely abstaining from alcohol within one month of a fertility treatment cycle. 

As always, if you have questions or concerns about drinking while trying to conceive, it’s best to consult your doctor. 

Cigarettes and Second Hand Smoke

Studies have shown that both men and women who smoke cigarettes are more likely to have fertility problems and take longer to conceive than non-smokers. Chemicals found in cigarettes like nicotine, tar, arsenic, and carbon monoxide can damage eggs and sperm, and can put women at risk for complications in the first few weeks of pregnancy once a baby is conceived. Even secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, so avoiding cigarettes as much as possible while trying to get pregnant is best.

If you, your partner, or a close friend or loved one wants to quit smoking, consult your doctor for help or visit for helpful tips on how to start today.

Excessive Caffeine 

In the past, women trying to conceive were advised to avoid coffee and other forms of caffeine entirely. However, newer, more recent research has found that moderate amounts are safe. According to the current guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is safe for pregnant women or women trying to conceive to consume up to 200-300 milligrams of caffeine a day, or around one/one and half daily 12-ounce cup of coffee. 

High-Carb/High-Sugar Foods

Consuming too much added sugar and refined carbohydrates has linked with elevated inflammation in the body. It’s been found that inflammation has a significant role in gynecology and infertility, affecting the ovaries, uterus as well as the embryo and implantation. When trying to get pregnant, maintaining a healthy diet is a great way to help boost fertility. Before making any significant changes to your eating or lifestyle habits, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Soybean-Derived Foods

Ovarian function in adults is controlled by hormones circulating in the body, and the primary hormone responsible for cyclicity is estrogen. Substances with estrogenic activity, like phytoestrogens found in soybean-derived foods like tofu and soy milk, can potentially interfere with this process if levels of activity are sufficient to cause a response. Research has shown that phytoestrogens at very high levels can interfere with ovarian function and can potentially lead to subfertility or infertility. This can be especially troublesome for those that are already estrogen-dominant like women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). 

High-Mercury Fish

While some fish are filled with protein, vitamins and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, others contain dangerously high levels of the heavy metal mercury, a toxin that can negatively affect hormones damage the nervous system. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have released a helpful guide for pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive that includes health-conscious fish and seafood options and lists which ones to avoid. 


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