If you suffer from PCOS, diabetes, blood sugar imbalances or cystic ovaries, and they are negatively impacting your ability to conceive, you are not alone. More than half of all American women have one of these disorders, and it usually strikes women in their most “fertile” time, negatively impacting a woman’s fertile years, when she may be trying to have a child. Many women have pre-diabetes, and don’t even know it! Are you having trouble getting pregnant or fertility issues? Do you have unexplainable fatigue? Does your menstrual period or ovulation come at different or odd, unexpected times? Do you bleed or spot in between cycles? Abdominal pain?
If you have a clear case of PCOS or certain health issues like diabetes, your doctor may suggest (or you may already be taking) Metformin, an insulin sensitizing medication, and this may help with regulating your system. Some patients find that some weight comes off, they feel better, and they have less cystic activity, creating better cycles and more predictable ovulations, making it easier to get pregnant.
In order to increase your chances of conception, whether you are taking fertility or insulin-regulating medications or not, you want to have a healthy diet, customized to match your condition and your goals, such as getting pregnant, keeping the pregnancy, and having a healthy happy baby. The Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study and the results showed that the women who had a healthier diet (foods with a lower glycemic index, foods rich in fiber and protein, healthy fats and nutrient-dense with vitamins & minerals) had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity and developed a much healthier body-weight or BMI, ideal for getting pregnant. Most dietary changes people already know about – cut out all sugars and processed foods, especially processed carbohydrates. What does this look like? Anything in a box or a can that can sit on a shelf for a year is probably not a good idea. The usual suspects – fast food, restaurant food, candy, crackers, white-flour-based foods are all out, unless it’s a treat. You’re in Italy? Sure, have some pasta while you’re there, but upon returning to your regularly scheduled program, eat to fuel your body and feed your cells, not you pleasure center. You can almost never have enough veggies! Try to find pleasure in the simple foods – the natural sweetness of cooked sweet potatoes or yams, eating fresh strawberries and blueberries, and enjoying real, whole foods. And try to fill your life with things you enjoy that bring you pleasure and fun! Sweetness in your life, on a daily basis, and fulfilling parts of your daily needs as well as your deeper soul, can really help people to feel happy and calm, and less tempted to create temporary, harmful joy through sugary, unhealthy foods that may decrease your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery and healthy child. Cheers!