Surprising things to avoid when you’re trying to conceive

You know to avoid smoking and alcohol when you’re trying to get pregnant.  You’ve been told to lay off the coffee.  But did you know that some routine over the counter medications may be keeping you from getting pregnant?  And some things you’ve been avoiding may not really be so bad? This is the first part in a three part series about what’s okay and what’s not when you’re TTC (trying to conceive).

The Baddies

1. Antihistamines  Histamines are inflammatory chemicals and are actually a necessary part of ovulation of the egg and implantation of the embryo into the lining of the uterus.  When you take antihistamines, they could theoretically disrupt this process and make it harder to conceive.  If you’re absolutely miserable without them, take them only when you really need to, and try to avoid them during midcycle, when ovulation and implantation happen.

2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Like antihistamines, NSAIDs interefere with the normal inflammatory processes that are necessary for normal ovulation and implantation.  These should also be avoided midcycle.  Acetaminophen is okay to take for pain, but medicines such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and even full-dose aspirin are no-nos.

3. Pregnancy teas Herbal teas require caution because they are not regulated by the FDA.  Some pregnancy teas contain red raspberry leaf which is a “uterine toner”, meaning it assists with labor.  When you are TTC, and early in pregnancy, the last thing you want is a contracting uterus and labor.  Decaffeinated black and green teas are okay, and you can get them in various flavors.  Ginger flavored black tea or green tea is excellent for nausea as is pure peppermint tea.  For any other types, check with your doctor.

4. Personal lubricants  You’re not exactly in the mood, but the stick says it’s time to have sex if you want to get pregnant this month.  The problem is that your lubricant can kill sperm.  You can’t rely on this for birth control if you are NOT trying to get pregnant, but if things are already moving slower than you want, this could be slowing you down further.  Sperm-friendly lubricants are available such as Preseed.

5. Chasteberry (Vitex) Chasteberry has its name for a reason.  It was used in ancient times to prevent unwanted pregnancy (so the woman still looked chaste, get it?)   It contains plant-based estrogens and progesterone-like substances, much like birth control pills.  It is useful for PMS symptoms and is often prescribed by the clerk at the vitamin store because it says “female” on the label.  But vitex can interfere with your cycle, including ovulation and implantation.

Part 2: The Goodies


I feel chaster already Vitex (Photo credit: Andreanna Moya Photography)


About womanmdsguide

My name is Dr. Kristen Cain and I'm an infertility doctor with a passion for women's wellness and having the time to live life to its fullest. I write about women's health issues and time management secrets for young professional women because a good life means having the health and time to enjoy it!
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