What to do when trying to conceive

According to the CDC, about 10 percent of women of childbearing age (6.1 million) struggle to get pregnant [6]. Chances are, you or a friend have struggled with trying to conceive. This can be very wearing on a woman’s emotional and mental health. At Options for Women, we understand this frustration. This is likely a stressful season for you and we want to help. Below are 4 healthy habits that can improve fertility and reduce stress.

1. Reduce your stress levels

Several studies have revealed that high-stress levels are correlated with difficulty conceiving [7]. “We know now that stress hormones such as cortisol disrupt signaling between the brain and the ovaries, which can trip up ovulation,” says Sarah Berga, MD [5].

2. Relax

When overwhelmed with tiredness and stress, your body signals that you may need to slow down. Relaxation habits include protecting healthy sleep, cutting caffeine, eating a healthy diet, taking time for hobbies, and practicing saying “no” [1].

3. Exercise

Moderate physical activity positively affects multiple female hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Moderate exercise may also stimulate egg production and reduce the incidence of ovulatory disorders, thereby increasing a woman’s chance of conceiving. However, we don’t advise that you participate in strenuous exercise such as HIIT workouts, CrossFit, and excessive long-distance running. This is because there is an increased risk of anovulation in extremely heavy exercisers (>60 min/day) [4]

4. Eat a healthy diet

“Food choices can positively affect reproductive function in several ways. Specific foods are believed to support reproductive efforts, promote the health of a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm, and provide crucial nutrients for hormonal function, production, and balance. In addition to the direct impact of a nutritious diet on fertility, healthy food choices are critical to build up nutrient stores and supply all of the building blocks necessary for fetal growth and development,” states the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center [3].

[2] Healthy eating habits to improve your fertility include: 

1. Eating foods rich in antioxidants

2. Eating a bigger breakfast

3. Avoiding trans fats

4. Cutting down on carbs if you have PCOS

5. Eating fewer refined cards

6. Eating more fiber

7. Choosing high-fat dairy

8. Adding a multivitamin 

Most importantly, do not put too much pressure on yourself. Investing in your fertility by incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle is the most influential contribution you can make, let your body do the rest.

If you cannot conceive after a year of trying, talking with your OB/GYN may answer your questions and assist you with your fertility journey.

With love,
Your Friends at Options 


  1. Bauer, B. (2018, October 2). Managing stress when trying to conceive | Thorne. Managing Stress When Trying to Conceive. https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/managing-stress-when-trying-to-conceive  
  2. Brown, M. J. (2019, July 23). 16 natural ways to boost fertility – healthline. 16 Natural Ways to Boost Fertility. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-fertility-tips-to-get-pregnant 
  3. Fueling fertility: How nutrition can improve your chances. (2019, May 29). https://share.upmc.com/2019/05/fueling-fertility-with-nutrition/ 
  4. Hakimi, O., & Cameron, L. C. (2017). Effect of Exercise on Ovulation: A Systematic Review. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 47(8), 1555–1567. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0669-8
  5. Levine, H. (2020, February 20). How Stress Can Hurt Your Chances of Having a Baby. https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/infertility-stress 
  6. Office On Women’s Health. (n.d.). Infertility | Office on Women’s Health. Infertility. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility 
  7. Sanoff, R. (2021, May 27). Here’s how stress can impact your fertility. https://ro.co/health-guide/stress/#:~:text=However%2C%20the%20study%20also%20found,%2C%20conception%20wasn%27t%20affected