Foods to Eat When You are Trying to Get Pregnant

Whether you have been mindful about what you eat for years or just recently became more interested, when it comes to eating for better fertility, the health and wellness space can make it very overwhelming to know what the heck to eat! But have no fear, Dr. Zen is here! In today’s blog post, I want to share some important ways to help you use food as medicine to boost your fertility naturally. This article can really apply to all those trying to conceive, whether you are just thinking about trying, have been trying for years, or are gearing up for an IUI or IVF cycle. 

Food is truly medicine, and before you add yet another supplement to your online cart, it is important that we truly begin by creating a balanced foundation. Although as a naturopathic doctor, I do prescribe supplements to my fertility patients, my first priority is to maximize their nutrient support using food. Supplements should supplement a healthy and nutrient dense diet, not replace it. If you struggle with gas and bloating, irregular bowel movements, indigestion or acid reflux, these are all signs that we need to focus on optimizing your gut health first. I always like to remind patients that your gut is like a garden, we need high quality seeds (good probiotics), but without proper soil, sunlight and filtration, that garden won’t grow. The same is true with your gut. Taking a probiotic may be helpful for some but for most, it rarely fixes their symptoms. We also want to remember that if you are having irregular bowel movements (bowels are soft or you don’t have 1-3 bowel movements per day), you likely aren’t fully absorbing all the nutrients from your diet, so even with the “perfect” diet, you may be missing some important nutrients. So here are a couple of things to remember: 

  • Aim for 1-3 bowel movements per day. Bowel movements should be fully formed, brown in color and should not contain mucus, blood or undigested food. 

  • Chew each bite of food at least 15-20 times before swallowing. This will not only help break down your food into more digestible pieces but it will actually allow your body the time necessary to initiate digestive enzymes to break down said food. If you are eating too quickly this could be one of the reasons you are experiencing indigestion, chronic bloating and acid reflux. Take your time to chew your food. 

  • Smaller, more frequent meals will help your body metabolize your nutrients better and will help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day. 

  • Don’t skip breakfast (if you are trying to get pregnant), although intermittent fasting has some great health benefits, it’s not the best choice for those trying to conceive as it can interfere with hormone production. If you aren’t typically a breakfast person, consider opting for a quick protein shake (like Rebbl) or a cup of grass-fed bone broth as a quick and easy way to break your overnight fast while still providing you the nutrient support you need to get your day started. 

  • Moving your body every day is not only important for your physical health, but also your mental health. Researchers believe that our modern day sedentary lifestyle is impacting our health as much as smoking can. Aiming to move your body intentionally for at least 15-20 minutes every single day is a huge way we can support our hormone function as well as our bowel movements. 

  • Avoiding unnecessary or prolonged antibiotic use. I am not against antibiotic use but I am against the overuse of them. Only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary can help you avoid disruption in your gut microbiome/ecosystem. This is especially true for women suffering from acne who are often prescribed oral antibiotics for months on end. This generally does not resolve your acne, and causes the development of other symptoms including GI symptoms and even the onset of anxiety and depression.

  • Adding vegetables, not only to dinner, but every meal will help you reach the goal of about 0.5-1lb of organic vegetables per day. This will not only improve your bowel movements but it will help feed the healthy bugs in your gut without the need of taking a probiotic. Food is truly medicine and incorporating a variety of vegetables every day is a great way to use your food as medicine. 

Foods to Eat While Trying To Get Pregnant

Antioxidant Support 

Oxidative stress appears to be one of the biggest concerns associated especially with those with “unexplained infertility”. Some of the most common causes of oxidative stress include: 

  • Obesity 

  • Smoking 

  • Alcohol Consumption 

  • Exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals (i.e your non-organic food, food packaging, water, as well as home cleaning products)

  • Diets high in processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and sugar 

  • Exposure to radiation 

Oxidative stress in our body occurs when there is an imbalance in toxins/oxidative species and our antioxidants. Although eliminating our exposure to oxidative species is the number one priority, the second priority would be maximizing our antioxidant status. Some of the most important antioxidants to consider for fertility include: 

Vitamin C 

Not only have studies found vitamin C to be an important antioxidant to fight oxidative stress but, it has been specifically found to improve fertility. In fact, vitamin C is extremely important for your male partner too and has been shown to improve sperm count, motility and morphology. Vitamin C is not only an antioxidant but also involved in cholesterol metabolism as well as the production and function of your immune system as well as the production of collagen, norepinephrine and carnitine. Some of the common causes of vitamin C deficiency include the use of oral contraceptives (yep, birth control), aspirin, diuretics and NSAIDs. Some of the best foods to include to maximize your vitamin C status include: 

  • Broccoli 

  • Strawberries 

  • Sweet Red peppers 

  • Tomato 

  • Citrus containing fruits (lemon, oranges, limes)

Vitamin E 

Vitamin E is particularly interesting in the world of fertility because it has been shown to increase cervical mucus in women. It has also been shown to improve success for couples undergoing artificial fertility treatments like IUI and IVF. Alpha-tocopherol (the body’s main form of vitamin E) functions as an antioxidant but also helps regular cell signaling and influences immune function. Some of the causes of vitamin E deficiencies can include malabsorption (poor gut health), as well as certain anticonvulsant medications (phenobarbital and phenytoin). Some of the best foods sources to maximize vitamin E status includes: 

  • Anti-inflammatory oils (olive, avocado and coconut oil 

  • Dark leafy greens 

  • Nuts and seeds (chia and flax seeds) 

  • Carrots. 


Glutathione is one of my favorite ways to help support egg quality because it has been found that 

glutathione can shield eggs from damage caused by oxidative stress during folliculogenesis, improving your chances of creating high quality eggs. Glutathione is composed of cysteine, glutamine and glycine and is a source of sulfate and plays a key role in detoxification. So although we can’t avoid all toxins in our environment, we can eat certain foods to help us eliminate and detox those toxins. Some of the best foods to help your body create glutathione include: 

  • Chicken 

  • Fish (choose omega-3 fatty acid rich fish like wild-caught salmon or sardines) 

  • Nuts and Seeds 

  • Avocados 

  • Asparagus 

  • Okra


CoQ10 has been helpful for both male and female fertility including improving sperm count and motility as well as egg quality. It has also been shown to help with the response of ovarian stimulation, like that needed with the use of ovulation induction medications like Clomid or Femara. Some of the main sources of CoQ10 include: 

  • Chicken 

  • Fish (choose omega-3 fatty acid rich fish like wild-caught salmon or sardines) 

  • Nuts and Seeds 

  • Spinach

  • Cauliflower 

  • Broccoli 

  • Oranges 

  • Strawberries 


Although there is still a ton of controversy regarding the best source of protein (animal or plant based), from my clinical experience, most patients do best with incorporating some form of animal protein. What is important to mention here is that I still believe your diet should be plant-focus (70% of your plate should be vegetables), but I have found that adding in a little bit of animal protein daily from high quality sources is an essential way to create amino acids which in turn create hormones. Although we could say that beans and legumes are a good source of protein, they have a high level of carbohydrate content so I would suggest focusing on increasing your deep leafy green vegetables, like kale, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts with a few slices of grass-fed grass finished steak for example. Finding the highest quality source of animal protein is important and I love using Butcher Box as a great way to have high quality meats delivered straight to my door. 

About the Author: Meet Dr. ZenAlissia Zenhausern- Pfeiffer, NMD, FABNE, (commonly known by her patients as Dr. Zen), is a licensed naturopathic doctor board certified in naturopathic endocrinology and the founder of NMD Wellness of Scottsdale, a premier naturopathic medical practice that focuses on helping women to take a proactive approach to their hormone and fertility health. Dr. Zen has been featured as a lead expert in Forbes, Shape Magazine, and Instyle and is deeply passionate about bridging the gap between traditional and natural medicine in the world of fertility. She works with a variety of hormone related issues including PCOS, endometriosis and unexplained infertility. Her goal is to help more women get back into the driver’s seat of their own health to make lasting transformational changes to their health to bring more cute and adorable babies into this world. Read More About Dr. Zen...