If you are trying to get pregnant and it hasn't happened yet, be gentle with yourself.
Know that the statistics are encouraging. 80% of couples will conceive after one year. But statistics are just numbers and if you haven't conceived yet, we need to take a deeper look at why.
The fact is, reproduction is at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to your body's priorities.
As women, we are biologically wired to reproduce when the egg's environment is ideal- meaning, when there is little fight or flight stimulation of the nervous system (aka stress), plenty of nutrient dense food, harmony in our relationships, good quality sleep (important for hormone production), little oxidative stress (due to toxicants from food/water/air/consumer products), and excellent energy flow to the womb.
Sit for a moment and reflect. How are you in these areas? Are you truly getting enough quality sleep? Do you take downtime to give your body a chance to recover from daily stressors? Is your womb full of happy vibes?
If there is truly no room for improvement in these areas, then we need to look deeper.
There can be no pregnancy without ovulation, right?
If you recently came off the pill or other forms of hormonal contraception, it can take up to 9 months for your hormones to regulate.
That means the statistics based on one year of trying are for women that are already ovulating. You can start to count your trying to conceive timeframe from the first month you truly ovulate.
For those coming off Depo-Provera, it can take up to 18 months to get pregnant. Therefore, most doctors advise stopping the injections 9 months before trying to conceive. (sidenote: What does it say about this method of contraception when potentially affects fertility for so long?)
PCOS- If you have PCOS ovulation is often hit-or-miss. It is important to know which type of PCOS you have in order to optimize your likelihood of ovulating. More on this coming soon in the newsletter.
Too much or too little sends the body different signals and affects your fertility. If you have too much body fat, you are potentially producing too much estrogen (called estrone) and in turn have an estrogen-dominant body.(i) Losing weight, sometimes as little as 5-8 pounds, can have a positive affect on your fertility.
On the other hand, too little body fat is a sign to the body that there is potentially not enough food available to support another being growing inside you. If you exercise frequently, or intensely, have low body fat, or an eating disorder, this could affect your likelihood of getting pregnant significantly.
High body fat and or consuming foods considered high on the Glucose Load Index, can lead to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Typically, doctors test longterm glucose levels with an A1C test.
But even women who fall under the “normal” range on glucose blood tests can have trouble conceiving.
Research shows that women that fall in the higher bracket of the “normal” range for A1C are less likely to conceive. In fact, they were only half as likely to get pregnant within 6 months as compared to women with lower A1C levels. High insulin levels are also associated with impaired ovulation.
Insulin resistance often stems from longterm spikes in glucose levels due to eating carbohydrates that quickly metabolize into sugar. That means avoid starches (potatoes, rice) and simple carbohydrates (bread, pasta) to be on the safe side. Whole grain options are better due to a slower release of carbohydrates in your system. For many of my clients, a gluten-free diet is what works best – especially for those with unexplained infertility.
Above all, ditch the corn flakes, white bread, bagels and crappy breakfast cereal. Starting your day with these foods is leading to insulin spikes and is putting a drain on your system.
Ever notice how when you wipe there is some wet or egg-white-like mucus on the toilet paper? This is fertile mucus – and it is worth its weight in gold!
Healthy cervical mucus is vital to helping the sperm make it up the fallopian tubes to the unfertilized egg. It provides a healthy PH for the sperm and helps to support its longevity.
In fact, fertile cervical mucus is potentially a better indicator of when to have intercourse than ovulation!
To maximize the likelihood of conception, intercourse should occur on days with optimal mucus quality, as observed in vaginal discharge, regardless of the exact timing relative to ovulation. (ii)
Subscribe to the newsletter below to get more info about cervical mucus in an upcoming post.
Prepare your body
Even if you have a “clean” diet, don't smoke, and take a prenatal, that isn't enough for preparing your body for pregnancy.
Let's face it, the modern world with its fast pace and high stress levels isn't conducive to making babies. We need to work against these forces and bring our bodies back into balance.
Exposure to environmental toxicants including pesticides can negatively affect fertility. (iii) This along with stress takes a toll on the body and leads to inflammation.
A proper cleanse is vital to clear out excess hormones, herbicides, pesticides, endocrine disruptors such as BPA/phthalates, and other chemical compounds. Once these things are out of the body, it can function better, increase in vitality and therefore increase your fertility.
Please note, a simple 10-day detox is not enough. Rather a full-body detox, as offered as part of the Conscious Preconception Program.
Get your man checked
Okay, I don't mean your man, but his sperm. So many women spend time preparing their bodies before trying to conceive only to find out years down the road that their partner had poor sperm parameters. Talk to your doctor and request a semen analysis. Or order an at-home test-kit from an online testing service.
This is really important as increasingly more men are the cause of a couple's infertility.
Improving your partner's health will also positively affect his fertility, too.