As we enter the holiday season, many patients wonder if it is OK to indulge a little 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 candies, cocktails, and deserts to be enjoyed.

Read on for tips on how to handle the holidays when you’re trying to conceive, and during the early stages of pregnancy.

Nutrition and Conception

Whether trying to conceive naturally or with fertility treatment, it is a good idea for patients to continue to take vitamins and supplements according to physician recommendations, and of course to stick to a healthy diet.

However, it is important to continue to enjoy life while trying to have a baby. It is fine to partake in the seasonal festivities and indulge a bit. An occasional drink or slice of cake will not prevent pregnancy or prevent an IVF cycle from being successful.

Although it is difficult to do, it is best that patients 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 fertility treatment.

Cocktails and Alcohol

Patients sometimes 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.

General Guidelines for Holiday Consumption

…For Women 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 of pregnancy, it is best to stay away from raw or under-cooked foods, and fish with a high mercury content.

…For Women Who are Pregnant

  • There is no amount of alcohol that is considered safe in pregnancy. However, sometimes in the early stages patients prefer to keep pregnancy news under wraps. When trying to hide an early pregnancy, it can be a good idea to get creative – club soda and lime is a great decoy! Cocktail substitutes can deflect unwanted attention, while adding to the festivities (here are some fun holiday “mocktail” recipes).
  • 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, but it is also OK to relax and enjoy during this joyful time of year. Happy Holidays!