Doctor’s Orders! 7 Things to Avoid if You’re Trying to Conceive

Do baths during ovulation decrease your chances of getting pregnant? What about hot tubs – do they diminish your chances of conceiving a baby? These tips for improving female fertility – a list of things to avoid if you want to get pregnant – are from physician and author Dr Jacob Teitelbaum. I read his book so you don’t have to! Most of these foods, activities, and other things to avoid are for women, but several can be applied to male fertility too.

Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them is one of Dr Teitelbaum’s most popular books. Many doctors are experts in either traditional or complementary (alternative) medicine, but he combines both. Dr Teitelbaum explains that tackling nine preventable causes of infertility is the key to long-term, real relief from nagging health concerns. He reveals the underlying causes of more than 50 health problems – and helps us find the most cost-effective, safe, and easy remedies to relieved symptoms.

In this article, Dr Teitelbaum shares the most important things to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant. Some things – such as hot tubs – should be avoided even after you conceived and are progressing through pregnancy.

I also included information from Dr Marilyn Glenville’s book Natural Solutions to Infertility: How to Increase Your Chances of Conceiving and Preventing Miscarriage. She lists many things to avoid for couples trying to conceive. “We know that certain pollutants and chemicals in the environment can affect both male and female fertility,” writes Dr Glenville. “There may be many more substances that we come into contact with in everyday life that combine to form a ‘toxic cocktail’ with unknown long-term consequences.”

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time, read Find Out Why You Can’t Get Pregnant – 4 Fertility Checklists. I researched several tips for female fertility – some that you may not have heard of yet!

What Not to Do When You’re Ovulating or Trying to Get Pregnant

“These are important things to avoid from now until after you are three months pregnant, as they can cause female infertility,” says Dr Teitelbaum. “Just do the best you can with these guidelines – it’s okay to not be ‘perfect’ with them.”

When I was trying to get pregnant I researched the benefits of organic versus traditionally grown food and veggies. Because money was tight, I decided to keep buying non-organic food, but I took care to wash my fruits and veggies carefully before eating them. This is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your fertility levels.

“Washing cannot alter the amount of pesticides inherently absorbed into the vegetables,” writes Dr Glenville in Natural Solutions to Infertility. “But peeling fruit can lower the pesticide residue by about three-quarters.”

1. Avoid coffee and sodas

Both coffee and sodas inhibit fertility-often markedly. Especially avoid caffeine if your prolactin blood test is low, as it can lower it further. A prolactin test measures how much of a hormone called prolactin you have in your blood. The hormone is made in your pituitary gland, which is located just below your brain. If you’re pregnant or have just given birth, you prolactin levels increase so you can make breast milk.

I avoided coffee and sodas when my husband and I were trying to conceive – and so did he. But I was confused about the research on soy, estrogen, and fertility. It wasn’t conclusive, partly because every food affects eery woman differently. But, Dr Glenville writes that soy products can reduce the toxic forms of estrogen in your body. She recommends eating tofu, soybeans, and soy nuts in moderation.

2. Avoid taking supplements with melatonin

Avoid supplements with melatonin – which can be found in over-the-counter sleep aids that are are sometimes used for insomnia. Melatonin can affect female fertility and reproductive hormones. While melatonin is a popular supplement and does help people sleep better, it also affects reproductive health. Since research is unclear about whether melatonin is safe to take you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s best to avoid it.

3. Avoid taking too much Vitamin C – but eat your veggies!

Dr Teitelbaum recommends not taking more than 900 mg of supplemental vitamin C daily (it can causes reversible infertility in females). Taking 750 mg a day of vitamin C, however, helps infertility. Also, avoid taking over 7,000 units of supplemental vitamin A daily because it can cause birth defects. Beta carotene is fine. Dr Teitelbaum recommends his female patients take 3,500 i.u. of vitamin A and 3,500 of beta carotene daily.

Here’s a list of foods NOT to avoid: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, red and green cabbage, and cauliflower. They are cruciferous vegetables, super high in a substance called indole-3-carbinol, which reduces the metabolism of estrogen into a toxic form. Indole-3-carbinol also speeds up the release of toxic forms of estrogen.

4. Avoid hot tubs (but hot baths are fine if you’re trying to get pregnant)

Avoid hot tubbing after you get pregnant because it increases the chance of birth defects. A hot bath – that is not over 100 degrees in temperature – is a safer way to relax. When you take a bath, much of your upper body stays out of the water, which makes you less likely to overheat. Additionally, the water in a bath begins to cool off fairly quickly, as opposed to a hot tub. A hot tub is usually set at 102-104 degrees, which can overheat your body and even affect fertility levels. That’s why some people suggest avoiding hot baths when you’re trying to get pregnant.

Doctor’s Orders! 7 Things to Avoid if You’re Trying to Conceive
What to Avoid if You’re Trying to Conceive

5. Avoid a high protein or paleo diet. And no plastic wrap!

An Atkins-like or paleo diet in a rat study decreased fertility over 50%, says Dr Teitelbaum. For more info, read How Protein Increases Female Fertility. You need some protein, but overdoing it with will affect your fertility levels.

“Avoid, as far as possible, food and drinks in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic – especially fatty foods in plastic,” writes Dr Glenville in Natural Solutions to Infertility. “This is because xenoestrogens are lipophilic (fat-loving) and will therefore migrate into foods like cheese and chips.” She recommends removing plastic packaging from the food you eat as soon as possible.

When you’re heating your lunch or leftovers for dinner, don’t let plastic wrap cover your food. Put the food in a glass dish and cover it with a paper towel. Avoid heating your food in plastic containers in the microwave. Even if the plastic container says it’s microwave safe, it’s better to avoid it all together.

6. Avoid chemicals, toxins, and all forms of alcohol

As much as possible, avoid eating or even inhaling chemicals and toxins. Here’s a food not to avoid: fibrous fruits and vegetables. According to Natural Solutions to Infertility, fiber helps prevent the absorption of chemicals into the body that can interfere with estrogen and testosterone production and functioning. So, eat lots of fibrous veggies (celery, onions, lettuce, kale, etc) to improve your fertility levels. See tip #3 for more veggies you should NOT avoid if you want to get pregnant.

Avoid alcohol if you’re trying to get pregnant. Dr Teitelbaum adds that if your prolactin levels are higher than 10, you should always drink moderately or even rarely. Alcohol has negative effects on developing babies, and decrease female fertility.

7. Use fertility-supported lubricants if you’re trying to conceive

Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricant: with Ions for Fertility Support will help improve your chances of getting pregnant. The pre-filled applicators are specifically designed to deeply coat your insides with a fertility-enhancing natural formula. Simply insert up to 15 minutes before intercourse to help the sperm find the egg. The formula has an optimal pH range that mimics a woman’s body on her most fertile days, essential ions, and isotonic properties.

Things to Avoid if You're Trying to Conceive
Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricant for Couples Trying to Get Pregnant

If you’ve been trying to conceive for months or years, you may need a little help getting in the mood! That’s understandable, but be careful to avoid products such as Replens and Astroglide because they can damage sperm.

If you haven’t talked to your doctor about getting pregnant, make an appointment. Take care of your health issues – because they directly affect female fertility levels. Don’t forget about your husband’s health issues! If he hasn’t had a physical or health check-up recently, encourage him to see the doctor.

To learn more about male fertility, read Foods to Help You Recover Sperm Health, Count, and Motility.

3 Tips for Improving Female Fertility and Getting Pregnant

1. You’re more likely to get pregnant if you have intercourse on the day you ovulate and up to four days before. Feel free to enjoy yourself multiple times during this period! But if you want to conceive, having intercourse even one day after ovulation is unlikely to result in a positive pregnancy test.

2. Drink and eat whole milk products (not low-fat or fat-free milk products. In a Harvard study, high intake of low-fat dairy foods was associated with an increased risk of infertility, while an increased intake of high-fat dairy foods was associated with a lower risk of infertility. Women consuming at least 2 servings of low-fat dairy foods per day showed an 85% increased risk of infertility. On the other hand, women consuming at least 1 serving of high-fat dairy foods per day showed a 27% reduced risk of infertility.Whole milk products (instead of low-fat ) also taste better.

Things to Avoid if You're Trying to Conceive
Tips for Improving Female Fertility

3. Read books like It Starts With the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF. Learn as much as you can about what to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant, and how to improve male and female fertility levels.

This book provides a comprehensive program for improving egg quality in three months, with specific advice tailored to a variety of fertility challenges, such as endometriosis, unexplained infertility, diminished ovarian reserve, PCOS, and repeated miscarriages.

For more tips on improving female fertility, read 10 Things That Help You Get Pregnant.


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3 thoughts on “Doctor’s Orders! 7 Things to Avoid if You’re Trying to Conceive”

  1. Also, I want to share information from Dr Miriam Stoppard’s book Conception, Pregnancy, & Birth. (I’m studying to be a fertility doctor for women and am learning as much as I can!). I learned that if a woman isn’t ovulating, her ovaries can nearly always be encouraged to produce good-quality eggs by using fertility drugs. These drug treatments used to produce a large number of multiple pregnancies, but much more is now known about the correct dosage, and treatment is very carefully controlled and monitored.

    4 Drug Treatments for Female Infertility

    Clomiphene – the Fertility Drug. Clomiphene is the most common fertility drug for women who can’t get pregnant. You take it for five days at the beginning of your menstrual cycle; it stimulates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which acts on the ovaries. Clomiphene can help follicles ripen and stimulate ovulation. There aren’t any major side effects to this fertility drug, and it has a low multiple pregnancy rate. Dr Stoppard says there’s a possible link with ovarian cancer after 12 cycles, so don’t go overboard.

    FSH Hormone for Clomiphene-Resistant PCOS. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect female fertility, and alter the effects of Clomiphene. However, injections of the hormone FSH can stimulate ovulation if Clomiphene doesn’t work because of PCOS. The success rates for this treatment for female infertility are high.

    Pulsatile GnRH. Hypothalamic infertility with amenorrhea is a rare cause of infertility resulting from the absence of a hormone called gonadotrophin releasing factor (GnRH), which is made in the hypothalamus. GnRH forces the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone, which stimulates the ovaries to ovulate. If a GnRH deficiency is a cause of female infertility, then hormone replacements can help with pregnancy.

    Bromocriptine. Prolactin is a hormone that can suppress the effects of GnRH, which can cause lack of ovulation and prevent women from getting pregnant. Bromocriptine, Cabergoline, or quinagolide can suppress prolactin production and get the ovaries producing eggs again. If a woman does get pregnant, bromocriptine treatment should be stopped, but there are no known cases of miscarriage, prematurity, fetal abnormalities, or multiple pregnancies as a result of this drug.

    By the way, weight loss can help women ovulate normally, even women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Even weight loss as little as 5% can be helpful in improving the metabolic and reproductive abnormalities of PCOS.

    If you want to get pregnant, don’t just avoid certain foods or activities. Talk to your doctor about each of these drug treatments for female infertility.

    Dr Reid

  2. Two offerings:
    1. Consider the intrauterine environment that might be toxic due to a malpositioned (tilted) uterus. When the uterus is tilted it creates an area where old blood pools and coagulates- creating a toxic environment which an ovum may not be able to survive in. Or if it does survive it can implant on a weak or false wall that it can easily dislodge from later on as the ovum grows into an embryo/fetus. Maya Abdominal Therapy can help with this immensely returning the uterus back to its optimal position and allowing for the outflow of all this toxicity. Watch for the quality of your blood… Dark, odorous, mucus-y, clotty menstrual blood are signs of stagnancy. MAT work is powerful and can help to cleanse and nourish the womb so that its a welcoming , clean, and healthy “crib” for your baby.
    2. With much respect I would have to offer that soy might not be the best dietary suggestion. 95% of our soy is genetically modified… and studies are starting to show up that GMOs are detrimental to health and fertility.

    Thanks for reading and your good works here,

  3. If you’re trying to conceive definitely try to avoid people who upset you. Find ways to laugh about everything…even about the people who say stupid things to you, thinking that they’re helping.  And try not to have expectations about getting pregnant that are too high, or too low.

    One of the ways my husband and I coped with infertility was to find the funny in just about everything  It didn’t always work, but my husband would make me laugh even when getting the shots twice a day, or waiting for 12 hours in the hospital for a small procedure or even just when I had to lay around for two days.  That, to us, was a sanity saver.

    Thank you for writing these articles. I think your tips help women who can’t get pregnant.