In the Era of COVID-19: Planning to Try to Conceive

Give InKind spoke to Carolyn Brown, MS RD, of Fruitful, an online program that provides a comprehensive overview of the fertility landscape. For couples thinking about trying to conceive, the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic introduces questions to which there are not yet clear answers. Planning a family is both a lovely and uncertain time. The element of COVID-19 is for sure a new variable, and it is hard not to have complicated feelings about the convergence of your fertility with a pandemic. However, scientists are learning more every day. Empowering yourself with actionable information may help to scaffold the pregnancy you want – when the time is right.

Brown encourages couples trying to conceive to see everything as connected. She asks couples to consider their responses to stress, their sleep hygiene, how they eat and incorporate other lifestyle choices.

Brown believes that too often the stress of fertility challenge is placed disproportionately on women. She asks that men also consider their choices as to their sperm health and track the things that women are asked to track. For example, did they have a fever? Brown emphasizes that heat is bad for sperm quality and things like standing near grills and using hot tubs may be detrimental in efforts to conceive. Brown suggests enacting plans for egg and sperm health about three to six months in advance of intended conception, but there is no harm in a longer runway.

In addition, Brown suggests the following:

  • Take good care of yourself as a couple. Take the time to communicate and enjoy the company of your partner.
  • In trying times, seriously consider a news detox. It’s hard to make sense of a near avalanche of bad news and easy to feel powerless. Don’t watch the news. Don’t listen to the radio.
  • Be mindful of how you eat. Be certain to eat vegetables at least twice a day and ingest good fat such as nuts, seeds, and avocado.
  • Avoid skim dairy products.
  • If you suspect an intolerance to gluten, try cutting it out for a week and seeing whether you can easily navigate around it.
  • One or two cups of coffee a day is okay.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds and all red dye products.
  • Avoid drinking more than four alcoholic beverages a week.

Brown points out that during the COVID-19 pandemic, triggers for people can manifest in stress eating or stress drinking. When one is planning to conceive, be mindful of these triggers and try to swap in other mechanisms to cope with stress. Make sure to move your body, practice breathing, and meditation techniques. While there is no immunity to COVID-19 as of yet, boosting your immunity can’t hurt and so consider consuming things like Vitamin D or Vitamin C rich tea.

Give InKind expresses gratitude to Carolyn Brown, MS RD, of Fruitful. Carolyn sees food as a way to optimize every aspect of your life, from your weight to your hormones to your mental health, and helps clients from 15 to 85 fall back in love with food and feel great in their bodies. Carolyn has been featured on: The TODAY show, Dr. Oz, FOX, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Shape Magazine, and the New York Daily News. 

This the eighth in a series of articles to provide guidance as to navigating situations we continue to navigate during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. We recognize that life continues in all aspects, even the pandemic impacts all of us in profound ways. We are on your team now as well as post-pandemic – and beyond. We invite you to visit our library of situationally specific articles here.

Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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