Find Balance Through Fertility Nutrition

If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, somewhere along the way, you may have researched fertility nutrition, only to feel confused, overwhelmed, and with no idea of where to start. You may have tried different fertility diets or nutrition recommendations such as clean eating, keto or low carb, avoiding added sugars, paleo, or vegan only to come up without a positive pregnancy test.

These may have left you feeling restricted from eating some of your favorite foods, thinking that if you ate one thing that wasn’t on your diet plan that you had blown your chances of conceiving that month. This often turns into a cycle where every negative pregnancy test turns into a new diet change, just to see if that would result in a positive pregnancy test. All of this can be so frustrating, especially when you aren’t sure if the information you are finding is correct.

When it comes to fertility nutrition, there is a vast amount of misinformation out there, but the truth is you don’t have to follow a restrictive diet or meticulously read food labels to get pregnant. Creating a more balanced approach to eating for fertility is likely better for your fertility than any strict diet.

Restrictive diets often increase stress on your body. This could be from not eating enough of the right nutrients or not eating enough in general (calories). All of these diets can also cause you to stress out about what to eat when to eat and how much to eat. It can even make meal planning stressful.

The problem with all this added stress around food and fertility is that stress increases the hormone cortisol. When the body has high levels of cortisol, this can impact your reproductive organs. Too much cortisol sends signals to your brain to decrease your reproductive hormones. This could affect ovulation, egg quality, and your uterine lining. Think about it, if your body is struggling to get its basic needs to survive, will it think it is a good time for you to grow a baby? Probably not.

What Helps

Now that you are stressed about stressing about nutrition (amongst all the other stress-related to infertility!), lets calm those nerves with a little basic fertility nutrition lesson. While the research on fertility nutrition continues to evolve, similar to all areas of nutrition, there are things that we know for certain will help promote fertility:
1) Eat more fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
2) Increasing unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, nut butters,
avocado, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon.
of things that have shown to have positive impacts on fertility.
2) If you consume dairy, consuming full-fat dairy.

Common Pitfalls

One of the more common issues I have seen is that women aren’t eating enough or finding the right balance of nutrients for the body. Going through all the different fertility diets and the constant wonder of what to eat can lead you down this path of not eating enough, which is just more stressful for your body and ultimately not good for fertility. An easy way to tell if you are eating enough is noticing if you are hungry frequently, especially after eating a meal. If you are, this is a sign you may not be eating enough food (volume) or the right blend of nutrients for your body.

When it comes to fertility nutrition, incorporating these recommendations in a balanced way, rather than an all or nothing or restrictive mentality, is better for your fertility and overall health. Learning how to listen to your body is incredibly important when you are learning how to eat for fertility. Struggling with infertility may leave you feeling like your body is broken. Chances are at some point you stopped listening to what your body needs. When we learn how to listen and respond to what our bodies need, whether it’s food or rest, this can help your fertility by decreasing the stress on your body.

You Got This!

Bottom line – stressing about fertility nutrition isn’t the answer to your infertility. Nutrition can support and improve your fertility, but we need to approach it in a balanced way that involves you listening to your body. This means no more google searching fertility nutrition or seeking out answers from an infertility support group page, seek help from a qualified expert! You got this infertility warrior!

Susan Portz is a registered dietician, fellow infertility warrior who specializes in helping women with infertility find balance with fertility nutrition without diets, rules, or guilt. You can find her at

How Do You Know When You Need a Fertility Coach

You’re resourceful. You’ve thoroughly researched your doctor. You’ve put together all the information about the fertility process you could possibly find. 

You might have friends or family members who’ve already gone through the process, so you have an idea of what to expect. 

But no matter how much we might think we know about fertility, being thrown into the seemingly endless cycle of appointments, tests, procedures, and potential disappointments can be jarring, even for the savviest of women.

Your medical doctor is responsible for overseeing your treatment process. But the intricacies it involves, along with all the dense medical terminology, can get lost in translation. 

Imagine how you felt after first hearing terms like AFC, FSH, AMH? 

A therapeutic or fertility coach can help you understand how these new medical issues can impact your fertility journey.

Going through the fertility process can be a traumatic experience. But you can work with a professional to mitigate its impact and start prioritizing your mental health. 

What Exactly Do Coaches Do? 

Therapeutic or fertility coaches guide you through the fertility process and help you identify a plan that works for you. A coach can be the “point person” who helps you manage everything outside of the time you spend with your doctor. 

Coaches are space holders and mentors. They help you stay on track while assessing your needs at every step of the way. Coaches help you manage your experience throughout the treatment process. 

Coaches can assess and help you navigate your struggles with helping you make lifestyle changes in your food and exercise. They can encourage you to use additional treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care while keeping your that your budget and spiritual needs in mind. 

A Therapeutic Coach or a Fertility Coach: Who Should You Work With? 

With so many coaches and mentors in the field, it can be hard to figure out who you need to work with. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from different coaches: 

Fertility Coach or Mentor

Most fertility coaches and mentors have gone through the process themselves, giving them first-hand experience with the fertility world. 

Having personal experience with fertility treatments can make a fertility coach a good option when you need a sounding board as you work through treatment-related issues that may come up for you. A fertility coach can offer support and guidance around your fertility journey.

Therapeutic Coach

Therapeutic Coaching is the intersection where therapy and fertility coaching meet. 

Most women going through the fertility process tend to focus on the here and now as they try to navigate the complexities of the fertility world. But this can keep them from addressing emotions that can come up when women struggle with fertility issues. 

A Therapeutic Coach can help you create a space where you can work through feelings and emotional difficulties with the guidance of a licensed psychotherapist. 

Therapeutic Coaches can also include anyone who’s been trained in specific research methods that address the emotional pitfalls of the fertility process. 

For many women, fertility issues can be experienced as traumatic events. Research shows that this can lead to challenges with anxiety and depression.

Having the support of a licensed clinician through Therapeutic Coaching can help you manage and overcome traumatic emotional triggers, such as hearing unexpected diagnoses and going to doctors’ appointments. Developing a plan for managing them is part of the foundation taking control of your long-term mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Other Coaching Resources for the Fertility Process

Other professionals you might see in your research include nutritionists, naturopaths, chiropractors, or functional medicine doctors. Each one can provide a unique perspective on how to care for yourself during fertility treatments.

Choosing the wrong coach can lead to frustration and an inability to address the root causes of whatever issues you’re trying to address. So it’s important to understand what your unique needs are so that you can choose the right professional to work with.

How Coaching Can Help You During the Fertility Process

Fertility research is still grossly underfunded. The data we do have continues to show that women who undergo mind/body programs can have higher chances of conceiving, fewer miscarriages, and better egg-retrieval rates (if they pursue IVF). 

Other benefits can include:

  • Having the personal space to manage your nutrition, lifestyle choices, and emotional wellbeing.
  • Getting help to create an action plan that matches your needs.
  • Having support and advocacy for your medical and emotional needs.
  • Saving money: Working with a coach or participating in a structured program can potentially increase pregnancy and IVF success rates. This can reduce the number of additional treatments you might need down the line. 

You may need more support around creating a healthy nutritional plan. Or you may be someone who needs more emotional support. In order to find a good fit, identify the areas where you need support and find a coach who has expertise in those areas.

Having someone on your treatment team who understands what you’re going through and has the practical solutions and strategies to help you along the way is invaluable.

Do Your Research

Most coaches offer a 15-minute consultation so you can learn how their services might address your needs without feeling obligated to sign up for coaching you don’t think is right for you. 

In the meantime, if you still don’t know where to start, my 6-Step Fertility Self-Care Plan provides information about managing the fertility process. You can also get more information about my Therapeutic Coaching services here.

There are plenty of resources for getting the help you need during the fertility process. But this can make it harder for you to figure out who you should work with. 

The more you know about what different coaches can provide, the sooner you can get started creating the self-care plan you need as you start this next chapter in your life.