It used to be that women over 35 were the ones talking about challenges with fertility and struggling to get pregnant. Now, I meet women as young as 27 with fertility issues. So, there’s much more at play here than just age.
I had my son at 37 and I am now pregnant at 40. I didn’t like seeing AMA (Advanced Maternal Age) on my OB file but this is the reality for many women who wait to start their family – even if they are healthier now than they were in their 20’s (like me).
The fact is, we women are born with all of our eggs. And, as we age, there are fewer and fewer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully get pregnant at an advanced age. Your body will naturally select the best eggs each time but that process takes 3 months. So, what you do with your health during pre-conception can have an impact on your fertility.
In this episode, I share 5 of the best ways to improve your health, your egg health, and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
When we eat foods high in sugar and processed carbs as well as foods our body may have sensitivities to, we increase inflammation. The inflammation combined with increased stress which often goes along with fertility is a double-whammy on your body.
Eating a balanced and clean diet with lots of vegetables, clean proteins, good fats and unprocessed carbs is a good start but you should also consider sensitivities. The most common food sensitivities I see are gluten and dairy. It may be worth getting a sensitivity test to make sure that undiagnosed food sensitivities aren’t going to create a challenge for fertility. I like the test by Vibrant America but if you are unable to do the test, try going gluten or dairy-free for 3 months and see how you feel. For more on food sensitivities, listen to episode 60 of Health Mysteries Solved.
When seeing a conventional OB or even a fertility doctor, they typically test your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) and sometimes estrogen on day 2 or 3 of your cycle. It is important to make sure FSH is within range, ideally below 10. However even if that is the case, there are so many people that continue to have fertility issues. This is because these hormones are just the tip of the iceberg and there are so many more things to look at when it comes to hormones.
Contrary to conventional practice, I think the best time to test estrogen and progesterone is on day 21 or 7 days after you ovulate because then you are catching those hormones at their highest levels so you can see if they are sufficient. I like to see a progesterone level of 12 or above on day 21. This shows the person is ovulating and has enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy should it happen.
Aside from blood tests, tracking your temperature every morning can also help you understand your cycle. After ovulation, temperatures will typically go up by about a half a degree. I like to see this elevated temperature for 12 days before it drops and you get your period. If it is less than 12 days, your progesterone may not be optimal. If that’s the case, herbs like Chaste Tree and Omega Oil can be helpful.
It may also be estrogen dominance. Some symptoms of estrogen dominance are weight gain especially around your period, having swollen or tender breasts around your cycle, having longer, heavier cycles with more cramping and more headaches before your cycle. If this sounds familiar, avoid estrogenic foods and xenoestrogens (found in some plastics and skincare products) and work on the liver and detox pathways. Calcium D Glucarate is one of my favorite supplements for estrogen dominance.
It’s also important look at DHEA. To do this, ask for a DHEA Sulfate (DHEA-s) blood test. You may have read that taking DHEA is important if you are trying to get pregnant; however, taking this supplement when you are not deficient may cause side-effects. CoQ-10 is often recommended along with DHEA but it’s expensive and again, if you are not deficient, it may not be worth it. The bottom line is, get tested before you blindly take either of these two supplements.
It’s no surprise that stress can impact your fertility. But, trying to get pregnant and reduce stress can be stress-inducing. So, how do you reduce your stress? I personally like meditation but there are many other ways to reduce stress such as listening to music, journaling, or getting out in nature. The key is to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day to it and make sure you set that time aside and let everyone know that this is time is important.
Optimal thyroid function is crucial for fertility as it’s one of the reasons the body may not pick the best eggs. If you are going to get your thyroid tested, remember that TSH is just one of the markers and is not nearly enough to truly determine thyroid function. Be sure to request these tests: TSH, Total T4, Total T3, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and Thyroid antibodies. And, ask to see the results because your deficiency may be subclinical. For more on this, listen to episode 27 of Health Mysteries Solved.
- Making Room for Baby
This is not specifically biochemical like the other 4 but it is very important. So many of my fertility clients tell me that they are so busy with work and extracurricular activities that they may not have time to eat healthy or deal with stress. I get it. But, from an energetic standpoint, it’s helpful to start adjusting your schedule as you will need to when the baby arrives. Creating this room or time may not be easy to do, but it will help you focus on the important task of getting or staying healthy for your pregnancy. This room can also be used to consider the timing of things, and give you an opportunity to create balance in your life or possibly address personal or relationship issues that may need to be worked out to make room for a baby. Doing this was a big factor in my fertility journey, which you’ll hear more of when you listen to this episode.
Eliminating Health Mysteries
I hope this resonated with you and if you know someone that is struggling with fertility and can use this information, please share this episode with them!
Related Podcast Episodes:
EPISODE #027 Solving the Thyroid Mystery w/ Inna Topiler
EPISODE #030 The Case of Horrible PMS w/ Dr. Anu Arasu
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