Everything We Did To Help Us Conceive

This has been my most requested blog post in the ten years since I’ve been blogging! A few weeks ago I posted a Pregnancy Q&A where I shared our story about TTC (trying to conceive) for a year and a half. The full story is in that blog post, but basically… after receiving some negative test results, our doctor told us about a year into our journey that we would probably have to resort to IVF to get pregnant. For the next four months, Chris and I prioritized our health, and went on a journey to eat as healthy as possible and cut out as many toxins as we could from our lives. We ate organic, ditched our Teflon pots and pans, threw out all of the plastic in our kitchen, and much, MUCH more (don’t worry, I am spilling all the details in this post!). When we got re-tested four months later, we received amazing news and then found out we were pregnant a few weeks later. I am 1,000% convinced that prioritizing our health helped us to get pregnant. Although this isn’t the “magic solution” for getting pregnant in every couple’s situation, I certainly don’t see any negatives of trying to live a healthy lifestyle. No matter how you conceive, living a healthy lifestyle only benefits you and your future baby.

Side note: my husband and I do not feel comfortable sharing the exact tests we had done, nor the results. I hope you will understand our desire for privacy regarding this issue. However, I am an open book when it comes to all of the changes we made to strive to live a healthy lifestyle! If I don’t answer your question in this blog post, you can leave your question in the comment section and I’ll get back to you there. 🙂

Okay, let’s get started on all of the changes we made! I tried to break this up into categories that made sense, but I want to preface all of this by saying that it’s really important that you and your partner are a team on this. I am so thankful that Chris was 100% committed to making all of these changes with me! We could not have done it without each other’s support. I also want to emphasize that it takes two people to make a baby, and both the man and the woman have to be in good health. The woman has to have a regular cycle and make sure she is ovulating every month, while the man needs to have strong swimmers and MILLIONS of them in order to make a baby. Everyday, seemingly “small” decisions can affect the health of both the woman and man… that’s why I think acting as a team is invaluable!

Food

The first, and easiest, choice Chris and I made was to eat a nutrient-dense diet, full of whole foods. We also tried to eat organic whenever possible. Obviously this is not possible 100% of the time (especially if you go out to eat!), but we chose organic whenever we could. We made a huge effort to buy only organic produce, meat, eggs and dairy products from our grocery store, and cooked dinners at home almost every night. We also cut out as many processed foods as we could. If it came in a box or wrapped in plastic, it wasn’t going in our grocery cart! As a woman, I paid particular attention to getting enough fats in my diet. You need fats to conceive! I think as a society we are brainwashed to think that low-fat is best, but that’s not necessarily true. After reading this book, I started eating grass-fed butter, eggs (not just egg whites), grass-fed whole milk, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds. I didn’t go overboard on any of those items, but incorporated them into a well-balanced, whole-foods diet.

In addition to eating organic, we also paid attention to what we were drinking. Chris and I both cut out all sodas. I also quit drinking sparkling water, since most brands come in BPA-lined cans. We both drank mostly filtered water out of a glass mug or tumbler (we quit drinking water out of plastic bottles – which is a great choice for the environment, too!). As for drinks that we added in… I made us my favorite green smoothie nearly every morning. We also stocked up on fresh-pressed juice each week from our local juicery. At night we would pour some organic kombucha into a wine glass and “trick” ourselves into thinking we were having alcohol, when in reality we were getting a healthy dose of probiotics and antioxidants.

Environmental Toxins

Oh gosh I don’t even know where to begin on this topic! Unfortunately, there is no way to live a completely toxin-free lifestyle. Over 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the United States, yet only a small percentage have ever been analyzed for safety and even fewer for reproductive harm. Toxins are in everything from our mattresses to our plastic water bottles, to the paint on our walls. Pollutants fill the air, both inside our home and out. It can be quite an overwhelming task just thinking about where to begin cutting out toxins from your life. It helps to tackle one area at a time, instead of all of them at once!

Self-Care Products

I think the first area we tackled when it came to toxins was our self-care products. Chris and I took a look at our shampoos, conditioners, body wash, lotions, etc, and threw out everything that had harmful ingredients or contained known parabens and pthalates (these are the two things you need to look out for in your self-care products!). We replaced nearly all of our self-care products with paraben- and pthalate-free versions. No product was off-limits… I even replaced our floss and toothpaste with chemical-free versions (we now love our Dr. Bronner’s toothpaste!). Once you start to do a little research, you realize how much these chemicals can interrupt and mess with your hormones. Parabens and pthalates are both known endocrine disruptors, which can really wreak havoc on your hormones (which you need to have a healthy reproductive system). For example, parabens imitate the hormone estrogen in the body and have been shown to harm both the male and female reproductive systems, reproductive development, and fertility and birth outcomes (source), and the worst part is that they’re in LOADS of personal care products… probably ones you have sitting in your bathroom cabinet right now! If you want to clean out your bathroom cabinets, a great resource to help you get started is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website – you can look up products you’re already using to see how “safe” they are, and then make decisions from there.

Kitchen

The kitchen is the next area that we tackled… for some reason, it seems that the most toxins in your home are hiding out in your kitchen! I already wrote an in-depth blog post on how to eliminate toxins in your kitchen, but some of the things we did included switching out our hand soap and dish detergent to chemical-free versions and ditching ALL plastic in our kitchen. Plastic contains BPA and other chemicals that can leach into your food (especially when the food items are heated or hot). We got rid of all of our plastic cups and bowls, and replaced all of our plastic tupperware with glass containers instead. The next item on our To Do List was replacing our pots and pans. For an in-depth guide to non-toxic cookware, please read this blog post I wrote that is chock full of good information. The one thing I will highlight here is that the chemicals in nonstick pans have been linked to infertility and known to contribute to testicular and kidney cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis (source). The part that should really stand out to you is the link to infertility: non-stick chemicals do not have a suspected link to infertility, they have a proven link to infertility. If you’re wondering which pots and pans we use now, we own a lot of Le Creuset cast iron pieces including this saucepan (which is great for heating up soups and sauces), this Dutch Oven and this fry pan. We also own this set of GreenPan cookware that is made with Thermalon, a sand derivative containing silicon dioxide instead of Teflon. GreenPan discloses their test scores for a wide range of chemicals, and their scores look really great. Just to be extra safe, I only use wooden utensils with them (never metal) and don’t heat them to extremely high temperatures. When it comes to baking, we use stoneware, including this stoneware cookie sheet and this pizza stone – both are completely nontoxic!

Cleaning Products and Detergents

Cleaning products and detergents can be a huge source of chemicals and toxins in the home. This website makes it easy for you to find and buy products made without known toxic chemicals – they have analyzed thousands of products and only put their MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients) seal on products that are made with safe ingredients, without toxic chemicals. If you’re only going to change one thing, PLEASE change your laundry products like detergent and dryer sheets. This study found that when you use a “normal” scented detergent, your dryer vents emit more than 25 volatile organic compounds, with seven of them classified as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and two as carcinogenic HAPs with no safe exposure level. Those chemicals are going into the air within your home, and right into your lungs. I’m working on a blog post detailing which cleaning products and laundry detergent we use in our home.

Supplements

Both Chris and I took vitamins and supplements in addition to eating a nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich diet. I would definitely ask your doctor before starting a supplement plan and do some research for yourself… and on that note, I highly recommend getting the book It Starts With the Egg. No matter how you plan to get pregnant, it’s important to have healthy eggs and healthy sperm. This book is all about the supplements you can take to improve both. For myself, I took prenatal vitamins and a DHA supplement every day. For men, it is surprising how much of an impact supplements can have on sperm quantity and quality. Chris started taking a high-quality multi-vitamin, CoQ10, L-carnitine and the same DHA supplement as me. Like I mentioned before, it’s important to consult your doctor and also do your own research about the dosage (and again, the book It Starts With the Egg has excellent advice).

Alcohol

There’s not a ton of research I could find on the link between alcohol and fertility, but Chris and I both agreed to (mostly) cut it out of our diets while trying to conceive, since it can increase oxidative stress throughout the body. We didn’t drink at all during the week, but would occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer on the weekends. Stress is also an important factor for trying to conceive, and Chris and I both felt that a glass of wine or two on the weekends helped us de-stress, so we felt comfortable having a few drinks on the weekend (we just didn’t go overboard with it). When we did have a glass of wine, we made sure it was organic. Side note: neither one of us smoke, but tobacco can have a HUGE impact on fertility for both men and women… if you are a smoker, please ditch the cigarettes!!

Exercise

Regular exercise has a positive link with fertility, for both men and women. Chris and I both increased our workouts to three to four times per week. At the time, I was taking pure barre classes and experimenting with calming yoga classes on YouTube. As a couple, Chris and I also tried to find fun ways to workout together, including taking walks together and signing up for boxing classes! We had to stop going to the boxing classes due to COVID, but we both really loved them… the boxing studio played fun music and we both found that punching on a punching bag was a great way to burn off stress.

Stress

Stress can be a huge factor in trying to conceive. Let’s be real: life is stressful enough (especially with the events happening around the world today)… add on trying to have a baby and that can really ramp up the stress. Even though making healthy life choices helped us conceive, it can be stressful worrying about all of the toxins hidden in our environment and our food, and trying to research all of the supplements we should be taking. If you’re a woman charting your cycle, we all know that can add on extra stress, too. You have to do whatever you can to NOT stress about all of those things. If our bodies don’t feel safe, our fight or flight response is triggered – this response prepares our body for danger, meaning that all available energy and blood flow is shunted away from digestive and reproductive organs and into our muscle tissue. Both Chris and I tried to eliminate as much stress as we could within our lives. For myself, I started saying “no” to collaborations and sponsored posts, started traveling less and started taking more walks in nature and practicing yoga. Journaling was also incredibly therapeutic for me.

For the Woman

For the woman, it is incredibly important to make sure that you’re ovulating regularly. This is really easy to do if you’re charting your cycle every month. Early on, I started tracking my cycle according to FAM – the Fertility Awareness Method – which I learned about from the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This method involves recording your cervical mucus and tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning. I ordered a basal thermometer off of Amazon and used an app called Kindara to track everything. I woke up every morning at 6 a.m. to take my temperature, recorded my cervical mucus, and peed on ovulation strips. The FAM method is really cool because it’s so accurate – you can determine the exact day you ovulate every month, which will ultimately help you conceive because you’re able to time sex perfectly. If you start tracking your cycles and realize that you’re not ovulating every month, it could be the reason why you’re not conceiving.

Aside from tracking ovulation, your menstrual cycle can give you all sorts of clues as to what’s going on inside your body. The length and duration of your period, your cervical mucus, and the lengths of your follicular and luteal phases are all clues to what’s going on with your health. For instance, if you have a really short luteal phase, it can mean your body isn’t producing enough progesterone (which makes it really hard for you to conceive). Once you pinpoint the problem, you can address it directly, without waiting on a doctor to tell you what’s wrong.

For the Man

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it takes two people to tango! The man’s sperm quality and sperm count are equally as important when trying to conceive. What’s really great is that it’s incredibly easy and non-invasive to get your man’s sperm tested. If you’re having trouble conceiving, I personally believe this is the first test you should do BEFORE running any tests on a woman (pretty much all of the tests for females are invasive and uncomfortable, and the male test is so easy, so why not?). In my research, I learned that there are a ton of simple changes that men can do to greatly increase sperm count and quality (chapter 14 of It Starts With the Egg is a great resource for actionable things you can do for male fertility). A few simple changes that men can make include switching to loose-fitting underwear, avoiding hot tubs and extremely hot showers, and not keeping a cell phone in their pants pocket. I bought Chris this laptop EMF protector that he uses whenever he sits his laptop on his lap. Men should also eat a diet rich in antioxidants, cut out toxins, exercise regularly and avoid stress (just like women!). I was also surprised to learn how much supplements can improve sperm count and quality, specifically CoQ10 (if you are doubting me, just look at the research linking CoQ10 supplements to increased male fertility and you will be amazed). Women too often place the burden of getting pregnant all on ourselves (trust me, I have been there, and it is a huge burden to bear)… but we can’t forget about the men, too! Both partners make an equal contribution to create (or not create) a baby.

In Conclusion…

Okay…. now that I have probably bored you to death with all of this information, 😉 I HIGHLY suggest that you do your own research, too! It took me months and months of reading, researching and listening to podcasts in order to learn as much as I could about fertility and ways to improve our chances to conceive. Before I sign off for today, I wanted to recommend a few resources if you are overwhelmed with where to start:

Books: It Starts With the Egg, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, The Complete Organic Pregnancy, and The Fifth Vital Sign

Podcasts: Fertility Friday (in my opinion, Lisa Hendrickson-Jack is the smartest person on the planet and my absolute idol) and Mastering Your Fertility

Lastly, I want to say that everyone’s journey to pregnancy and motherhood looks different, and I can only speak for myself and my husband, and what worked for us. What worked for us may not work for everyone else… but even so, I highly recommend that you do your own research and advocate for your health. Nobody knows your body better than you do. Listen to your doctor, but also stand up for yourself if you feel that there’s a need to. And, (sorry if this makes anyone mad), but doctors don’t know everything. When our doctor delivered the news that we would probably have to resort to IVF, I asked if there was anything, anything at all that we could do on our own to help improve our chances of conceiving naturally. He said no! Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. I am a strong believer that small changes we make for our health can have a huge impact. So… do your own research and advocate for yourself and your partner.

If you have any questions that I didn’t answer here, please let me know in the comments! Baby dust to you all. xoxo

Leave a Comment

104 Comments

  1. Michelle

    So proud of you for standing up for yourself, your husband, and your baby and not giving up on your desire to conceive despite your doctor’s opinion! That must have been devastating to hear and extremely challenging to keep pushing through. Incredibly honorable that you and your husband kept working as a team to become parents together the way you wanted. Wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy and motherhood!

    8.3.20Reply
  2. Jamie

    Awesome post, Caitlin! And good for you for setting boundaries – that’s so important in your industry. This is all great information.

    8.3.20Reply
    • Kate

      Amazing post; thanks for sharing!! ❤️❤️❤️

      8.3.20Reply
  3. Adi

    You story is very inspirational, and will help many women out there that are also trying. Me being one of them I’m trying so many things buying things changing diet everything.

    8.3.20Reply
    • Emma

      What a well written post! I have chosen to be child-free but I absolutely LOVED reading all of this and want to thank you for sharing your journey. It’s disappointing that the medical professional you consulted with didn’t provide you with any other alternative route besides IVF. Medical procedures lead to medical professionals making money especially because everything with IVF is an out of pocket expense. Insurance doesn’t cover anything related to IVF. This is why it’s so important to conduct your own research and do your homework. Unfortunately many people may claim they do not have the means financially to make all the changes you did (eating all organic, etc), however when you calculate all the steps you took they are probably well below what IVF costs from beginning to end!! You took charge of your health and got to know your own body in the process. I can’t wait to follow along. This has been so fun and exciting!

      8.3.20Reply
      • Anon Reader

        Just for folks who might be reading this comment, it definitely isn’t the case that IVF is totally out-of-pocket for everyone. It depends on your insurance and the state you live in (some states require insurers to provide that coverage). However, lifestyle changes are definitely still cheaper! And there is no real downside to trying it – worst case scenario, it doesn’t work but you are healthier when it’s time to try fertility treatments (which can only help).

        8.3.20Reply
      • Staley

        This is completely incorrect. IVF and other fertility treatments can be covered by insurance, depending on your plan. My daughter is a result of IUI and I was going to do IVF next and my insurance paid for everything except copays. And I made a significant amount of changes- are healthy, took supplements, detoxified my environment – and still needed medical intervention to conceive at 26. If you’re going to make comments, at least be informed.

        8.3.20Reply
      • Corrissa

        What thermometer did you purchase??

        9.2.20Reply
  4. Ab

    Congratulations!!! And also I agree-doctors don’t know everything and they might not always consider alternative methods. As a nurse (I also don’t know everything) I can say that there are really amazing doctors and nurses out there’s no have patient best interest in mind, but NO ONE cares more about your personal health and well-being than you do. Everyone should advocate for themselves and take matters in to their own hands (safely!!! with doctor approval ).

    8.3.20Reply
  5. Jaclyn

    We went through the same thing, you guys did! We were told we had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally, and that we should start IUIs and IVF immediately. My husband being the ever skeptic, was not down for it and wanted to do research. We changed our diets, he lost 30 lbs. and I lost 60 lbs. Our lives changed forever when we got our 1st positive after trying for so long. We’re due right around the same time you are! I also really love meditation that Spenser Brassard put out, along with The Fertile Ground Podcast that she has! I thought they were wonderful for help and reassurance when your mind took over your heart! Lots of love & positive thoughts for you guys!

    8.3.20Reply
  6. Ruchi

    Loved the post. Thank you. Please keep sharing your experience. Congratulations once again and take care

    8.3.20Reply
  7. Leslie

    This was spot on and I could have written every word as our story too. We completely changed everything about our health and lifestyle and then conceived right away. It took two years and several heartbreaking miscarriages to eventually have our now three rainbow miracles. But worth every moment and I’m grateful for all that we learned and the ways we grew together. I am sooo excited for your journey and thank you for sharing it with us. We truly admire you both and love watching your love story.

    Xoxo
    Leslie

    8.3.20Reply
  8. Carrie

    This was an incredibly helpful and informative post! Thank you so much for sharing. Is there any chance you could link the self-care products you use? Congratulations again!

    8.3.20Reply
    • Weronika

      Thank you very much for all this valued information and taking time to write this blog.
      Quick question you mentioned you are using a filtering system for drinking water, what kind is it?

      8.3.20Reply
  9. Janelle

    Thank you SO much for putting this post together and sharing everything you’ve learned through your process. If possible, can you please share what products (shampoo, body wash, hand soap, etc.) that you’re using? I love the EWG website for checking current products, however, there is so much to sort through to find the “good” ones.
    Also, I see there are mixed review on the GreenPan cookware set. Are you happy with them? 5 stars?
    So excited for this next chapter in your lives!

    8.3.20Reply
    • Crystal

      Yes, I agree! This would be super helpful to share these items as many turn out to be not so great! I’d love to hear what works for you that has a good EWG rating, especially laundry items!

      8.3.20Reply
      • MalloryF

        I was the same way, until I finally found wellness shop club that I order online from! All non toxic cleaning and home products with ZERO toxic chemicals. NO chlorine bleach, ammonia, formaldehyde. Makes a world of difference!

        8.7.20Reply
    • Jessica

      I agree would love to hear some more, too! Also with the cookware set.

      8.4.20Reply
    • Hilary

      Just an FYI, the EWG is considered quite problematic to the scientific community, so be sure to follow up the research with some other sources. For example, the EWG often overstates claims and even promoted the idea that vaccines cause autism even though that’s been frequently debunked by the scientific community. As someone who had to use IVF to conceive, I 100% get wanting to do everything in your power to conceive- controlling our environment is a great way to give ourselves a sense of control in a situation- but it’s important to be careful about spreading misinformation.

      8.4.20Reply
  10. Jen

    I’m a few weeks ahead of you with our second baby but we ran into issues the first time around (after trying for over a year) and were also told we may have to turn to IVF. We decided to give it 6 more months to see what happened and I honestly think that letting go of the stress of it not happening brought us our little girl. I just LOVE following you and can’t wait to see all of your recommendations for maternity and baby. Congratulations and I also wanted to let you know how appreciative and relatable it is to not see another instant success and to hear all about your journey since so many others struggle when they want a baby so badly. Sending you a ton of support and love throughout your pregnancy!

    8.3.20Reply
  11. McKayla

    I’m not TTC but these are also just really awesome tips for women’s and men’s health in general. I feel terrible that you were told you would most likely have to do IVF, so many families listen to that “no” and end up spending thousands of thousands of dollars to have a baby, my cousin did it twice! This could really help someone.

    8.3.20Reply
  12. Ana

    Great post! I’m so happy for you guys!

    I was told by 2 different fertility doctors that my chances to conceive natural where less than 1%. 1%!!
    Before I can even process the news, they were giving me an egg donor catalog…. I too asked if there was ANY other way and the answer was always NO.

    My husband and I also decided to changed everything in our house and our diet. And truly not because I thought we were going to be able to get conceived , but mostly because I knew that was something I can have control of. I could juts try to feel and be healthier and at that point that was all I can think of. 11 weeks into our “lets make changes and get healthier journey” we got pregnant!

    We are now the proud parents of a 3 year old boy and a 1 year old girl. So just like you, I also 1,000% believe that was what made all the difference for us.

    Congratulations again!! And please do the sex reveal already!! 😉

    8.3.20Reply
    • Abby

      I have been told the same thing. Any chance you wouldn’t mind sharing the lifestyle changes you made? Thank you 😊

      8.4.20Reply
  13. Cait

    Thank you for being so open and candid about your journey. “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” should be on every women’s bookshelf even if they aren’t trying to conceive. We used the FAM method too and are so thankful for our little ones. Best wishes for a smooth pregnancy xx

    8.3.20Reply
  14. So glad these lifestyle changes worked for you! I’m a huge fan of that Real Food for Pregnancy book 🙂 Congrats on your pregnancy!!!

    8.3.20Reply
  15. Heather

    So happy for you. I love your blog and you are going to be such a fantastic mommy.

    Totally agree that docs don’t always have all of the answers. I believe that’s why it’s called the “practice” of medicine. 😉

    8.3.20Reply
  16. Cyndi

    Thanks so much for sharing! I learned a lot from this post. Did you avoid rigorous exercises (core and strength training) while trying to conceive? Could you also share which skin care products you’re currently using?

    8.3.20Reply
  17. Elizabeth Walser

    Such a great post! Coming from a dietitian, it’s so awesome how you two really took charge of your health. Like you said-it may not be the solution for everyone who is struggling to conceive but it certainly can’t hurt to just live a healthier life. I am only 24 and don’t want kids at the moment, but that may change a few years from now so I love all the resources you shared!

    Congratulations again! <3

    8.3.20Reply
  18. Annie

    Thank you for your post! Could you post your favorite all-natural, paraben free makeup? I’m slowly switching my brands, and would love your input!

    8.3.20Reply
  19. Katie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and for all the amazing resources you connected us to. Congratulations, sending you love best wishes during your pregnancy!

    8.3.20Reply
  20. Elizabeth

    This was such an eye opening blog post and definitely not a bore to read, quite the opposite! Congratulations and kudos for putting in 100% effort for the current and continued health of your family. Once you start advocating for your own health, it’s amazing the things you find are permissible in our products and FOOD… Wishing you, Chris, and baby all the best!

    8.3.20Reply
  21. Emily

    Aw! I am so happy for you two. My husband and I met you while we were both on our honeymoon headed to the port from Cavo Tagoo to take the ferry to Santorini, and then saw you in Santorini at the gelato place. I started to follow you after you said you were an influencer and saw you on Cavo Tagoo’s Instagram, so I have gotten to follow your journey ever since which is so fun. My husband and I are expecting our first in September- looks like we are on the same track! 🙂 We did the same thing, my naturopathic doctor had me plan it out a year before TTC and had me switch out everything that goes onto or into my body, same with my husband. I am such a believer in it and try to spread the knowledge to everyone I know! Thought this was such a great and well detailed post, I have sent it to many friends. SO excited for you, just wanted to say congratulations!!

    8.3.20Reply
  22. Kaila Belding

    I’ve been working on making my home as toxin free as possible over the last few years. A great tool I use is the app Think Dirty. It’s an app that had all kinds on information on the ingredients on make-up that you use. I ended up throwing all my make-up out and have begun to use naturally made make-up from the brand Elite. It was so scary to see what ingredients were in the items I had been using for years.

    8.3.20Reply
  23. Carly

    Loved this post!! I didn’t go down the health/non-toxic rabbit hole until after my second pregnancy and I wish I had done it much sooner! Thankfully I had two healthy pregnancies/babies but I feel so much better since ditching all the toxins in our house/life. It’s sickening (and very eye opening) when you find out what chemicals they allow in our foods, cosmetics, etc.

    Good for you for not taking no for an answer and taking matters into your own hands. IVF is such a big money maker for doctors/pharmaceuticals you have to wonder if they “over-prescribe” it…

    Anyway, wishing you a healthy and easy pregnancy! I’m pregnant with my 3rd now – a few weeks ahead of you I think. Can’t wait to follow along as y’all become parents! Congrats again!

    8.3.20Reply
  24. Gaëlle

    Thank you for sharing!

    8.3.20Reply
  25. Julia

    Very interesting! I’m just wondering if you changed OB/Gyn’s? I think I would have as soon as he was so narrow minded about other options! Congratulations to you two😋

    8.3.20Reply
  26. Megan Akdamar

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! So happy for you guys! I really love the pots and pans from GreenPan cookware, but several reviews mentioned problems with the pans chipping. Have you experienced this?

    8.3.20Reply
  27. Bridget

    Thank you so much for sharing 💕. My husband and I are trying to start something similar to help. Would you mind sharing examples of what you ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner etc. For some reason this is the part we are struggling with the most.

    8.3.20Reply
  28. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this very informative post! Congratulations! Are you able to share the brands of self-care items (makeup, shampoo/conditioner, etc.) and cleaning supplies you and Chris switched to?

    8.3.20Reply
  29. Hailey

    Hi! Great fertility article!! Kinda off topic but I was wondering what organic wine you would drink when you occasionally drank? I’m trying to find one but haven’t had much luck. The few I’ve tried are blah. Thank you and congrats!

    8.3.20Reply
  30. Tina

    This was a great blog post and very helpful as we are going on 2 years of TTC. You didn’t mention coffee, did you completely stop drinking coffee?

    Tina

    8.3.20Reply
  31. S

    This is fascinating. I am curious though, you come off as someone that led a very healthy lifestyle to begin with. Did you and Chris just find that you weren’t as “healthy”/“clean” as you thought? Or, you were relatively so but needed to take it to a whole another level?

    8.3.20Reply
    • Anna

      Curious about this too!

      8.6.20Reply
  32. Jennifer

    Would you mind sharing what brand of multivitamin your husband used? Congratulations!

    8.3.20Reply
  33. Lindsey

    Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations!! My husband and I had a very similar journey! After almost two years, endometriosis surgery, 3 failed IUI’s, fertility drugs, and lots of tears – we finally got pregnant! We made most all of the same changes you did! From makeup to dryer sheets to organic and glass containers – all of it! The only thing different is I also got acupuncture, which I swear helped! And the crazy thing – we found out we were pregnant during a consultation visit with an IVF doctor. Those couple of years were by far the hardest in our lives BUT we now have a beautiful baby boy!

    8.3.20Reply
  34. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing!!! And MAJOR congrats on the sweet baby!!!!!

    Do you have a condensed list of what self care products in particular you are currently using? You’ve inspired me to start with my skin and hair products but after doing a quick search wow! So overwhelmed with the amount of products, even on the skin deep website. *deer in the headlights*. I know you are using Toska stuff but looking more for products I can get easily like from my local sprouts, health food store, Target, or amazon. Any you recommend?

    8.3.20Reply
  35. Callie Barbaro

    Loved everything about this post!!!! SO much great information!!! Love how much you research and share! I’m learning so much just from you. These are things I wouldn’t normally research on my own. Would you be willing to do a blogpost with all your personal hygiene products that are safe and that you like? Or one with all the laundry and kitchen cleaning brands etc? Thank you for sharing!! Congratulations on baby!!!! So excited to follow along! 😍🥰

    8.3.20Reply
  36. Jessica

    I’m so happy for you all. I’m going to school to be a doctor, and I’ve always wanted to be an OB/GYN. I will definitely take this lesson with me for my patients struggling with potential infertility! Our medical system has a lot of things that need improvement, and our education on lifestyle and fertility definitely warrants more research, as well as more training for doctors on the matter. IVF is hard and very expensive, and should be the very last option! So glad you all listened to your hearts and conceived on your own. You’ll be a great mom. 💗

    8.3.20Reply
  37. You guys are CHAMPIONS! This dedication to parenting is never extreme; never too much! I I’ll have you know, my mother raised her household from 1985 to the present all natural, all organic. NO this was not “cool” back then, but times are different, and you’re building a bright future for your kiddo! All in all, I’ll let you know my siblings and I were never sick. Strangely no broken bones, either. I got a cold/fever/sickness annually and it lasted two weeks, that’s that. I PINKY SWEAR every detail will triple up later.

    8.3.20Reply
  38. Angelika

    I agree with you. My doctor told us that we will need IVF. Well my first baby we did IUI and I got pregnant right away (the best blessing). So no IVF needed. Second baby was naturally. (The best surprise).

    So happy for you!

    8.3.20Reply
  39. Kirsten

    Caitlin, I am SO happy for you both and I think it is incredible that all those changes can lead to conceiving!! I already have children but I think I still want to make changes regarding the kitchen and bathroom products. I never even thought of it!!
    And I am so excited to follow your journey. I’ve been following you for such a long time and I still think you are one of the most authentic persons in this shiny world.
    All the best for you three!!
    Hugs and kisses from Munich:-)
    Kirsten

    8.4.20Reply
  40. Kristen

    Love all of this and very in line with everything we’re doing as well. The Better Baby Book combines ALL of these topics as well and has basically been my bible. Congrats on getting pregnant. I hope it happens for us soon, too 💕

    8.4.20Reply
  41. Uzzy

    This post is amazing! I’m not even trying to conceive, but it was eye opening how many toxins were exposed to and I’m motivated to make changes for my health. Thank you! And congratulations on your pregnancy 🥳

    8.4.20Reply
  42. Katie

    Thank you for sharing that! Such an inspiration!
    I was 32 when I found out the infertility problem that I have. I have done two IVFs with no results.
    My doctor has proposed donor eggs.
    I am 35 now, and still trying to conceive with my own eggs.
    Maybe the things that you shared will help me. 😊

    8.4.20Reply
  43. Petra

    Thanks for such a lovely, in depth post- lots of very interesting information! I wonder if people would find helpful the book/blog/podcast offered by “Low Tox Life” to learn a bit more about reducing toxins around the home. They also do a very detailed course that my sister-in-law has done and she is now a fountain of toxin-reducing knowledge! Worth checking out if you are on the TTC journey- and I think you might find some of their info interesting too 😊

    8.4.20Reply
  44. Michele

    Hello! Thank you so much for the post. Can you share the basal thermometer you purchased off of Amazon?

    Thanks!!

    8.4.20Reply
  45. You look so happy! I’m so glad it’s worked out for y’all!

    A friend-of-a-friend here in Louisville made a documentary called Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story about her quest to cut out nasty environmental toxins before she conceived. I think it’s streaming on Amazon. Her plan was similar to yours!

    8.4.20Reply
  46. Jessica

    Love it thank you so much for this post! It really helps getting started in the right way. When you told your doctor about not being able to conceive did they also tell you to take Clomid?

    8.4.20Reply
    • Hey Jessica, no they did not tell me to take Clomid, but they probably would have! My doctor immediately accused me of not ovulating every month because he said “my BMI was probably too low to ovulate.” Thank goodness I had months and months of charts to show him as “evidence” that I was ovulating! He believed me after I showed him my charts. If I didn’t have that, he might have suggested Clomid.

      8.4.20Reply
  47. Katie

    Thank you for shedding light on this topic. We were also told we most likely would have to do IVF and then conceived naturally after changing our diet/lifestyle. Many times doctors (obviously not all) do not try to identify the root cause as to why you’re not conceiving naturally and introduce hormones, etc. which ultimately can make the issues worse! Congratulations to you and Chris! Being a mama is truly the greatest gift, especially when the road to get there was not an easy one.

    8.4.20Reply
  48. Laura Leigh

    Caitlin this post is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for putting this together for us and being so open. Definitely going to start taking some steps to clean up our house and make it an environment that is healthy for conceiving once we are ready.

    xo Laura Leigh
    https://louellareese.com

    8.4.20Reply
  49. Marie

    Great post! So informative even for someone like me not trying to conceive(mom of 2). In the past couple years I have already made all these changes except the water bottles…eeekkk. I have had a hard time feeling like the water is clean enough. Can you please share what you specifically use for filtered water and maybe water on the go? Thanks so much!

    8.4.20Reply
    • I read an article not long ago that most of the bottled water in the US is just tap water!! We filter our water and then drink it out of glass (I usually just use a cup but my husband has a glass bottle he likes). Here is the water filter we use: https://rstyle.me/+mmKdPG_G7b0u588JZ-ZLWA

      8.4.20Reply
  50. This is going to be such a helpful resource to resort back to when my husband and I are ready to start trying. Thanks so much for being an open book with us and sharing!

    xx
    Key
    https://storiesbysuddreth.com/

    8.4.20Reply
  51. Amanda Elise

    Love this post! So many don’t realize that living a healthy lifestyle can help you conceive as well as help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Detoxing before pregnancy is so important as the toxins are passed to the baby and we all want them to have the very best start to life. I wish you a wonderful pregnancy ❤️ and Lisa Hendrickson-Jack really is such a wealth of knowledge

    8.4.20Reply
  52. I am nowhere near trying for a baby right now, yet i found this post to be extremely informative and interesting! Hahah, I am just such a huge science nerd! Thanks for breaking this down and making it very easy to understand – I can only imagine how much research went into this post!
    Xx Janine
    https://walkinmysneaks.blogspot.com

    8.4.20Reply
  53. Kelly Simee

    Where is this dress from? It’s gorgeous! Did not see it tagged

    8.4.20Reply
  54. Lindsay

    This is so eye opening! And congrats on your pregnancy. Thank you for for all this info. I have been researching all of the products I use now. Wondering if you are willing to share a list of products you use as far as skin care/makeup, or even household products?!

    Best,
    Lindsay

    8.4.20Reply
    • Yes!! A lot of people have requested this so I’m working on a whole blog post on this 🙂

      8.4.20Reply
  55. Kate

    Hi Caitlin, thanks so much for this information. I have a question in regards to cosmetics. I know you used Nars foundation, I was wondering if this is something you also changed/stopped wearing completely? I use the same foundation, but I know it is full of harsh chemicals.

    8.4.20Reply
    • Hey Kate, no, I have not changed my foundation yet! I have tried a few clean foundations but I can’t find any that work really well, and the NARS one works amazing! I am still on the hunt though and I will let you know if I find a clean foundation that works.

      8.4.20Reply
      • Carly

        the Beautifully Flawless foundation by Crunchi is amazing!! By far the best clean foundation I have used – I even like it better than Tarte / Makeup Forever and Estée Lauder foundations I have used in the past. Its seriously so good 👌🏼

        8.9.20Reply
  56. Briana

    So happy for you and your husband!❤️What are some of the shampoo, conditioners, and body washes you switched to? Thank you so much!

    8.4.20Reply
  57. CC

    This is such an informative post! Congrats again on your pregnancy. Quick question: you mentioned that you avoid using plastics and eliminate plastics from your home, but I noticed you get Starbucks quite often. As we all know, they use plastic cups and I’ve never seen you use your own tumbler whenever you get a Starbucks drink?

    8.4.20Reply
    • Hey! It might look from my pictures that I get Starbucks a lot but I usually only get it around twice a month 🙂 I was using my own tumbler but Starbucks has paused the use of personal cups due to COVID right now. I think eliminating most plastic is great, but Starbucks is a treat and I don’t get it too often so I’m not that worried about it!

      8.4.20Reply
  58. Amber

    Amazing post that will help so many woman. Thank you so much for writing. I wish I saw it a few years ago when I was trying to conceive. We tried for years and had success through IUI. Fertility clinics should really offer more guidance and this type of information- ours did not.

    8.4.20Reply
  59. Megan

    This is an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. My husband and I have been ditching all of our toxic products as in hopes of helping. I love the Young Living products as well – it’s all on one site which is nice. This post gives me hope that we are taking the right steps. Thanks again! And look forward to your new mama journey!

    8.5.20Reply
  60. Jia

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been following you for years and love the tips and tricks you’ve given as you’ve grown from a young adult to a married woman who is now pregnant. Tons of congratulations and blessings to you and your family.

    Thanks also for posting this information because I am also TTC and it’s been rough. I wanted to ask how you adjusted your caffeine levels when TTC. I know with alcohol in moderation and everything in moderation, but as a fellow coffee lover how did you change your caffeine intake. Because I had heard too much caffeine can make it difficult to conceive, even the caffeine found in tea. Would love any advice!

    8.5.20Reply
    • I had a small cup of coffee every morning while TTC, but that’s it! Sometimes I wouldn’t even finish it. I have a hard time waking up in the mornings, though, and the coffee definitely helped!

      8.5.20Reply
  61. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing all this wonderful information! I am currently TTC and this was so encouraging. We just received negative results on my husbands end and I feel so anxious that they will tell us IVF is the only solution, if we can even do that. Praying and hoping that we get at least get to have a baby, preferably naturally but I won’t degrade ANYONE who chooses fertility treatment routes and we very well would if it was our last resort!

    XOXO

    8.5.20Reply
  62. Mollie Emerson

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this post together! My husband and I have been TTC for over 2 years now, and at our last visit we were asked if we had thought about using donor eggs. While I am so appreciative of all of the options available now, the MDs only see the textbook version of things. If there is a silver lining in all of this it is how it made me aware of all of the toxins in our world, I simply had NO idea! You mentioned how mattresses are full of toxins, did you change mattresses? Looking forward to your clean beauty products post!

    8.6.20Reply
  63. Miranda

    Did you throw out toxic makeup/beauty products as well and switch to clean beauty/makeup?

    8.6.20Reply
  64. Shannan

    ……but as a mom to a toddler who I conceived naturally and another I had to conceive through IVF, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help to get pregnant and utilizing the brilliant doctors and science behind IVF.

    8.7.20Reply
    • SS

      Agreed 100%. My husband and I used IVF to conceive our daughter after multiple pregnancy losses plus years of “unexplained infertility”. I would never use the phrase “resort to IVF” as if it were a negative like this blog post and multiple comments. IVF was the best decision we ever made even though we can get pregnant naturally. Losing multiple babies for no reason is the most devastating thing a mother can go through, and we thank God every day that he led us down this journey, not “last resort”!!

      8.10.20Reply
      • I’ve had a few comments about this, so I want to address it! I am NOT bashing IVF in this blog post. I have had several friends go through the process and have beautiful, perfect babies as a result. The reason my husband and I preferred to conceive naturally (if we could), is because our friends told us IVF was expensive (one of my friends said they paid well over $20,000 in total) and that the entire process was physically and emotionally draining. Of course, it was 100% worth it, because they have a beautiful and healthy baby now! But if my husband and I could conceive naturally, why would we not choose that route?

        8.11.20Reply
  65. Such an amazing blog post! I will share this with ANYONE who has issues conceiving. I am a huge believer that if we change things we put in our bodies, our bodies can change for the better in the long run! I pray so hard for couples who have trouble conceiving. Congratulations! I pray for a safe and healthy pregnancy, mama!

    8.7.20Reply
  66. Katrina

    How did you determine what supplements to take?

    8.8.20Reply
  67. Shannan

    Caitlin, this post has changed me and my husband’s lives. We are so motivated to take this same approach and have officially begun making the same swaps with kitchen and bath products to begin living a more healthy lifestyle. Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable information! It truly has meant so much to us both and it wouldn’t have happened without you sharing 🙂 You’re an inspiration!

    8.8.20Reply
  68. Alex

    Love this post!! I finally have my miracle baby, thankfully, but I am also on a journey to better the products we use and have in our house! I would love to see a post on your favorite bath / beauty products!

    8.9.20Reply
  69. Kimberly

    Thank you for the post! Just wondering – do you still drink the same smoothie every day now that you’re pregnant or have you made modifications?

    8.10.20Reply
  70. Congratulations! A really silly question, but you still look so sun-kissed. Were you/are you still using tanning lotions/foam while you were trying and once you became pregnant? I completely stopped because I’ve read that it can potentially be harmful, but I’m not sure if I am over-reacting!

    Any insight would be amazing!

    Thanks,

    Kristen

    8.11.20Reply
  71. Kimberly

    Congratulations!!!! So proud of you and Chris for standing firm about becoming healthy parents and for trusting God, your instincts, and your research. The changes you’ve made will stand you in good stead the rest of your lives, and you’ll be richly prepared to help your children prepare for their own one day.

    8.16.20Reply
  72. haley

    Hi! I was so encouraged reading this post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this information. We are trying to conceive as well and I have ordered new pans, cookware, prenatals, juices and more. I am loving all of your advice. I have come across a company and non profit that specializes in testing products for purity called “The clean label project.” I do not work for this company or anything but after reading this post i bet it would be something you would like. I normally dont share on posts but I have used it so much and figured it could be helpful for your family too. They have a website that is affiliated with them that shows all the products they have reviewed for purity and what grade and rating they give the products. Its called puremarket.com, so hope it helps and cant wait to see your new baby! congrats!

    8.17.20Reply
  73. Cynthia

    Stress is such an important factor. Lots of fertility clinics actually have in house acupuncturists or partnerships with acupuncturists to treat patients and relieve stress.

    8.25.20Reply
  74. Rebecca

    This post got me emotional..I initially didn’t think we had much in common, but as a woman in her mid-30s TTC (2 months in) , reading about your journey was so informative and inspiring to me. I am filled with dread already, imagining the worst case scenario, but you reminded me that there’s so many paths people can take while TTC. Thank you so much for sharing.

    9.2.20Reply
  75. KRW

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!! Your post is informative, what a great resource for women TTC. We had a hard time.. we started out doing temping and doing daily ovulation strips, ended up at 34 finding out that I had an undetectable AMH, but my FSH was only slightly elevated. They didn’t test my husband because they found so many problems with me! Did IVF, got two follicles, and decided it was a failed cycle. In retrospect I wish we’d insisted on going forwards with these.

    Our fertility clinic recommended an extreme keto diet (only beef, butter, eggs, and bacon) but I thought that was insane and added 20g carbs from kale and walnuts. We read It Starts With The Egg and I started taking a ridiculous amount of supplements… l-Argentine, Royal jelly, vitamin D, wheatgrass tablets, you name it. We TTC for about six months doing this on this crazy diet before I started feeling malnourished lol. During this time I made some effort to eliminate toxins (switching a few products, goodbye to Diet Coke) but not the level of effort that you and your husband put in! We TTC for another six months while eating a clean (non-Keto) diet and then we’re back at the fertility clinic. I want to point out that I did the opposite of avoiding stress lol. I was teaching by day and working at Starbucks evenings and weekends because if you work there 20h a week, you can get low cost insurance that covers infertility treatment!

    IVF 2 gave us one follicle with one egg that never grew, they transferred it anyways in all its four cell glory lol. We used omnitrope a few months beforehand. Unfortunately this round also put 30lb on me over two weeks and I spent the year exercising like a maniac before continuing.

    I felt like our chances of getting lucky were running out two years after being told I had no eggs left, so a year later we did IVF 3-5 in fast succession. Omnitrope, all the vitamins, cleanish but not perfect eating, tons of stress. For all three my estrogen never rose, which told my clinic that any follicles were empty.

    We purchased donor embryos and are now happily pregnant with a non-biological child. I try to think of it as a best case adoption lol.

    Sorry this is so long but I wanted to share my story too, in hopes that it helps someone.

    9.2.20Reply
  76. Tia

    Would you mind sharing what makeup products you’re using now? I am running low on foundation and would like to switch it out for a cleaner version. If you’ve already done a post on this, I apologize!
    Thanks!

    9.2.20Reply
  77. Charlie

    Hi! Thanks so much for this post! Wondering if you have any issues with hot handles in the GreenPan cookware. Thanks in advance!

    10.17.20Reply
    • Hey Charlie, no we have not had any issues with hot handles!! We sometimes do with our Le Creuset pots and pans but never the GreenPan.

      10.18.20Reply
  78. Kayce Halverson

    OH MY GOSH. SOO happy you wrote this post! I have a baby and going to try for baby #2 soon – but I have a ton of friends who are currently TTC with issues.. I’m going to direct them to your blog! So well written and to the point… Also, props to you for taking control over your diet and health – especially after your doc said “nothing” besides IVF will work. Again, I’m about to start for baby #2 and had no issues with my first – but this information is even great for mama’s like myself who just want to live a healthy lifestyle/ pregnancy all around – regardless if we’ve had fertility issues or not. The info about the toxic kitchenware, especially – was such an eye opener. Thank you for sharing and I’m so excited for you to meet your baby girl! I hope you’re as enthusiastic about breastfeeding! There is no better bond and no better nutrition for a baby. I’m still BF my 20 month old. It’s been hard to wean LOL… Breastfeeding can be tricky in the beginning but I’m confident you’ll do your research and will be prepared when it’s time! Maybe sure you reach out to other bloggers who exclusively breast feed or a lactation consultant such as myself.

    10.21.20Reply
  79. Emi

    What multivitamin did your husband take? We are looking for a high quality multivitamin for my huaband

    11.23.20Reply