As we enter the holiday season many patients ask if it’s ok to indulge a bit while trying to become pregnant. While a healthy diet and lifestyle is always best, it’s just not realistic, especially around the holidays when there’s an abundance of sweets, cocktails and holiday parties. Read on for tips on how to handle the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.
Live Your Life
Whether trying to conceive naturally or with fertility treatment, I recommend that my patients continue to take the vitamins and supplements I recommended, and that they stick to a healthy diet. I do however, let them know that it’s fine to partake in the seasonal festivities and indulge a bit.
I remind my patients that they need to continue to live their lives while trying to have a baby. An occasional drink or slice of cake will not prevent pregnancy or prevent an IVF cycle from being successful. In general, although it is difficult to do, I encourage my patients to avoid having their fertility treatment completely consume their lives. Embracing holiday traditions and enjoying time with family and friends are wonderful ways to temporarily take the focus off treatment which can, in turn, help reduce some of the stress associated with treatment.
General Consumption Guidelines…
I also have many patients who worry that friends, family, and co-workers will begin to suspect they are pregnant when their behavior deviates from normal. Women generally do not want to deal with the myriad of questions that “innocently” come along with declining an alcoholic beverage. Letting a patient know it’s fine to have an occasional drink alleviates some of the stress associated with holiday gatherings…
…For Women Trying to Conceive
In general, for women who are not pregnant, but trying to conceive:
- It’s fine to consume alcohol in moderation. ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) considers this to be no more than four drinks within one week.
- One small cup of a caffeinated beverage daily is also ok.
- A well-balanced healthy diet is best, but an occasional indulgence is not a problem. If there is a chance that a woman could be pregnant, I suggest staying away from raw or undercooked foods and high mercury fish.
…For Women Who are Pregnant
For women who are pregnant, and perhaps not yet ready to reveal the news to others:
- There is no amount of alcohol that is considered safe in pregnancy. I tell my patients to get creative if they need to hide an early pregnancy – club soda and lime is a great decoy!
- One small cup of a caffeinated beverage daily is still ok.
- Pregnant women need to avoid certain foods, especially in the 1st trimester. So I always recommend sticking to a pregnancy-safe diet, but it is ok to have some sweets. Indulging occasionally for a few weeks in the first trimester is unlikely to increase the risk of gestational diabetes.
In general, moderation is key during the holiday season. Feel free to enjoy an occasional cocktail or dessert during this joyful time of year. Happy Holidays!