Why Your Healthy Diet May Not Help You Get Pregnant with Anna Bohnengel, RD – The Fed and Fearless Podcast Episode 123

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I’ve been thinking a lot about fertility in the past few years. Now that I’m pregnant, it’s even more on my mind. There was a lot I did in advance to help my body prepare for this experience. Diet is a large part of this. Yet, as my guest explains in this episode, there’s a lot more involved than just what you eat.



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About Anna Bohnengel, RD

After earning her MS in Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, Anna trained in clinical research and medical nutrition therapy at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. She kissed the east coast goodbye and moved to Portland, Oregon to accept a position at OHSU to develop and manage wellness programs for researchers, healthcare providers, and educators of the academic medical center.

Anna’s passion for prenatal health was born with the opportunity to develop a curriculum for the Pregnancy Exercise and Nutrition program. 

In 2015 she started her first private practice, helping women to feel their best through good food. Since then, Anna has taken the dive even deeper into women’s functional medicine, and what it takes to be a healthy mom growing a healthy family.

The preconception period is a uniquely powerful time when women have the most influence over health and wellbeing for generations to come. So, this is where Anna focuses on helping women achieve optimal health now, as a prerequisite to a healthy pregnancy, a manageable postpartum, and having the energy to enjoy motherhood.

Anna’s life work is teaching women how to nourish themselves to truly feel good – so they can grow the family of their dreams with energy, confidence, and joy.

Getting What Your Body Needs Without Losing Your Head

I know a lot of women who consider themselves to be healthy eaters. Yet, they struggle to get pregnant. Anna explains that this is due to several factors. One is that many women simply aren’t eating enough. In order to create a whole new person, your body needs to know that it has enough nutrients for the job.

However, Anna emphasizes that you shouldn’t stress yourself out over being perfect about what and how much you eat. Struggling to get pregnant is stressful. Don’t add another stressor by obsessing over getting the perfect diet. Anna describes finding a sweet spot between getting the right nutrients without psyching yourself out.


When to Start Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

There’s also a large role that prenatal supplements can play. Anna says that, ideally, women would start preparing for pregnancy a full year in advance. Six months is pretty good too, but it should really be no less than ninety days.

It takes your body some time to get your GI health to the place where it can absorb the right nutrients and get your nutrient needs stabilized. A full year gives you enough time to fix any deficiencies long before the egg is forming. It also gives you time to balance macronutrients and evaluate your partner’s fertility. 

What you shouldn’t do is to accept a diagnosis of infertility as final. There is so much you can do to increase your chances and it’s never too early to start.

What early steps can you take to prepare for pregnancy? Leave a comment below! 


Got a question you’d love to hear me answer on the show? Leave me a voice message here!



  • How Anna became a nutritionist specializing in fertility [5:00]
  • Steps you can take well in advance to prepare for pregnancy [8:00]
  • Why simply getting enough food is essential to fertility [14:50]
  • Considerations for using supplementation to support fertility [21:00]
  • How early you should be starting a prenatal diet [37:40]
  • Why second pregnancies can be harder to conceive [41:35]
  • First steps to take to improve fertility [44:00]



“If you can treat your body really well in the pre-conception period, that has multi-generational benefits.” [7:05]

“I don’t think that nutrition fixes all fertility issues. But the research is very clear that nutrition can have a huge impact.” [15:17]

“Just because you’re not pregnant one month doesn’t mean that you’re not ever going to get pregnant in subsequent months. ‘Infertility’ makes it sound like it’s a life-long diagnosis which it isn’t. There’s so much you can do to improve fertility.” [43:38]



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3-Step Prenatal Checklist

Real Food For Pregnancy by Lily Nichols

Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet

Smartypants Vitamins

Seeking Health Prenatal Vitamin Powder

FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin

The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

The Fertility Diet

Review Fed and Fearless on Apple Podcasts! Send a screenshot of your review to hello@lauraschoenfeldrd.com or send me a DM on Instagram, and I’ll send you my Overcoming Undereating eBook. If you post your favorite episode in your Insta stories and tag me @LauraSchoenfeldRD, I’ll also send you my 14-Day Calorie Challenge Recipe Guide!

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Podcast production & marketing support by the team at Counterweight Creative 


Related Episodes

Episode 46: All About Fertility Awareness with Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

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I'm a women's health expert and a registered dietitian (RD) with a passion for helping goal-oriented people fuel their purpose.

I help nutrition entrepreneurs grow their income and their impact by packaging their brilliance into transformative coaching and consulting programs, and get crystal clear on their marketing strategy.

I'm on a mission to help nutrition business owners drop the hustle and come into alignment with their ideal business goals, so they can work from a sense of ease and abundance, and build the online business of their dreams. 

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