The Pregnancy Epidemic and How to Get Infected

This week was better than normal! At least for me :) I met my family in Twin Falls to go through the temple with Spencer. It was a really neat experience for all of us. Unfortunately, Aaron had to stay home to study for a test and get homework finished. It was weird not to be with my honey, it made me think about how grateful I am to be with him everyday. I also realized something else... 
So precious

Pregnancy is all the rage right now. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with "My Baby's Progress: Week ___" and "Guess what? WE'RE PREGNANT!"

Not to mention the large amount of female BYU students with rapid-growing abdominal growths.
My world is being overtaken by pregnant women.

Most of the time I'm pretty strong, but sometimes the "mommy" bug bites too hard... As is the case today when, yet again, I see another pregnancy announcement. This got me thinking: What it is required to grow a human?

Although most of the pregnant women I know had no trouble getting pregnant, I know there are a lot of couples who struggle with it. For example: Infertility plagues 1 in 5 couples, and 10% of all women. 
There are many reasons as to why couples cannot get pregnant, but I am interested in only one right now. I'm sure you can guess what it is...Nutrition.

I recently read an article published by Harvard Medical School and found it very informative, which I will quote frequently in this blog post. If you would like to read the entire article, you can find it here.

There are TRANS fats, SATURATED fats, and UNSATURATED fats. 
Trans fat = BAD, BAD, BAD! "trans fats are a powerful deterrent to ovulation and conception."
Saturated fats = GOOD, but depends on the source. Example: Coconut oil is good, lard is bad.
Unsaturated fats =  The BEST! Example: Avocado, flaxseed, fish, certain nuts.

"Across the board, the more trans fat in the diet, the greater the likelihood of developing ovulatory infertility. We saw an effect even at daily trans fat intakes of about four grams a day. That's less than the amount the average American gets each day."
Now that you are planning to avoid trans fat like the plague, you will be mortified to learn that it's everywhere: french fries, margarine (margarine is 100% trans fat), brownie mixes, cake mixes, the list goes on and on.
However, there are good fats that should be in your diet: Saturated fats and unsaturated fats. 
"In general, these studies suggest that more fat in the diet, and in some cases more saturated fat, improves the menstrual cycle." 

Simple carbs such as processed flour and sugar can also affect fertility. This means anything that is not WHOLE GRAIN. Here is what Harvard has to say about carbs: "In general, cold breakfast cereals, white rice and potatoes were linked with a higher risk of ovulatory infertility. Slow carbs, such as brown rice, pasta and dark bread, were linked with greater success getting pregnant." 

"Findings from the Nurses' Health Study indicate that getting more protein from plants and less from animals is another big step toward walking away from ovulatory infertility."

I have read from a few sources that the more acidic your body is the harder it is to get pregnant. Meat makes your body more acidic. In fact, it is one of the most acidic foods you can eat. 

In the Harvard study they found that, "women in the highest-protein group [115 grams per day] were 41 percent more likely to have reported problems with ovulatory infertility than women in the lowest-protein group [77 grams per day]."

Your body needs protein. But, according to Harvard, if you want to get pregnant you should be eating more plant-based protein than animal-based protein.

"When we looked at animal protein intake separately from plant protein, an interesting distinction appeared. Ovulatory infertility was 39 percent more likely in women with the highest intake of animal protein than in those with the lowest. The reverse was true for women with the highest intake of plant protein, who were substantially less likely to have had ovulatory infertility than women with the lowest plant protein intake."

"A fascinating finding from the Nurses' Health Study is that a daily serving or two of whole milk and foods made from whole milk—full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and, yes, even ice cream—seem to offer some protection against ovulatory infertility, while skim and low-fat milk do the opposite."

You need healthy fats. Full-fat dairy products have saturated fat that can increase fertility. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of heavily-processed dairy products, or dairy in general. I usually get whole, organic milk and then make my own yogurt. It is SO easy and much, much cheaper. My opinion is that like meat, dairy should be eaten in moderation. When you do eat it, make sure it is of high-quality and full-fat. 

To sum up, "The more low-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the more likely she was to have had trouble getting pregnant. The more full-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the less likely she was to have had problems getting pregnant."

I hope this is helpful for anyone experiencing infertility. As I said before, there are many reasons for infertility that are out of your control, but isn't it nice to know that at least you can control one major risk just by eating healthier (and more delicious) foods? 

Here are more great guides to getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and enjoying it


  1. Are you sure you don't want to switch you major to nutrition? I loved it...best three years of my schooling was the MS program in nutrition at BYU.

    1. Oh I would have loved to major in nutrition or dietetics! Unfortunately, I only have two semesters left of my undergrad, but an MS in nutrition is still on my bucket list. My only concern: I have a psychological disorder called "organicchemistryphobia" :)

    2. You're not getting "baby hungry" are you? =) It's so different when you actually have the option of getting pregnant. For us, after we got married, it felt like something we should do, rather than something we'd experience some day. It's okay to wait. =)

    3. I think I was born "baby hungry" lol. I agree 100%; It is way different when you can have babies :)I only have two more semesters left... ;) But married life is fun and we are enjoying our sleep-filled nights and freedom while it lasts.

    4. Glad you're making good use of your pre-baby marriage. Brandon and I treasure the 8 months we had together before I got pregnant and was so sick. Two more semesters is awesome! It's SO worth it to have an education.

  2. That first baby is so special! There's nothing quite like it. BYU is a GREAT place to have babies, because there are so many people around you in the same situation and it's so fun to swap stories. What fun memories this post brought up for me. We celebrated our 4 year anniversary 2 months before Jameson was born. I totally needed that time (I was younger than you when I got married). But after being pregnant in my 30's, I'm kind of wishing that I would have had as many babies as I could in my 20's. It was a lot easier. Well, as easy as pregnancy can be.

    1. I think each pregnancy gets harder as you go, regardless of age unless your 40+. Saying having "as many babies as you can in your 20's" gives me a bit of a panic attack. I think many LDS women do that and end up with a bunch of small kids who are more than they can handle.

    2. Here is my input on this subject, being an old and wise mother. he he My kids are spaced out from when I was 25 to age 41 and it wasn't so bad being pregnant at 41, even though it felt much better at 25. But the thing I love about the space is that my kids are not gone in the blink of an eye. Now if your anxious to be empty nesters it isn't so bad if you have one every year, but for me, if when my first one left I knew my others would all be gone in 5 or 6 years I would have cried my eyes out, instead when Jessica left I knew I had 16 more years of motherly bliss to enjoy my kids. I'm a little crazy though, I love having my kids around 24/7 and will miss having them here. For this reason a little space isn't really so bad. And I got to enjoy each one of them for quite a while before the next baby came, I also liked that. Grandkids are definitely going to help my transition though, can't wait to get a few of those :)

  3. I should also say I'm not judging other moms, I'm just saying that if I would have had kid after kid, just so I could be done in my 20's, I would be too crazy (literally) to take care of any of them. Turns out I'll be done with childbearing in my 20's anyway, but each pregnancy was carefully planned and wanted. =)