Updated: Jan 16, 2021
You’ve been looking forward to starting a family for a year or so now. You are finally off birth control and your cycles have been regular for the last five months. Everything looked good at your yearly check up and you are feeling like you are ready to take the plunge and start TTC (an acronym many folks use for ‘trying to conceive’). What other things could you be doing to enhance fertility?
A teacher of mine says, “in order to get pregnant, you need to act pregnant.” Okay, simple enough. However, if you have never been pregnant, or are working with challenges in fertility, you might not know what “acting pregnant” looks like. Let’s break it down.
We’ll start with the obvious things to avoid: drinking alcohol, smoking, recreational drugs/ unnecessary medications (please talk to your Doctor before changing any prescription meds), and excess caffeine. Eliminating these toxins from your diet will allow your liver to focus on more important jobs such as regulating and synthesizing your hormones needed to promote conception and implantation.
Toxins can also enter the body by inhalation and absorption through the skin. Check household products, cleaning agents, cosmetics, and personal care products for the following ingredients, and replace them if they contain:
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Environmental toxins such as these contain compounds that can mimic the body’s hormones, disrupting healthy endocrine system function and hormone balance. A wonderful online resource for more details and for ideas on how to avoid unnecessary toxins in the home is the “Pregnancy and Chemicals of Concern” article on the Women’s Voices for the Earth website.
Alright, I don’t want you to think that fertility support is all about avoiding things. It’s just one verse of the song. The majority of the song is about saying yes to cultivating your physical, emotional, and mental health, and that of your future child.
In terms of diet, this means choosing meals based on vibrant vegetables and fruits, grains and legumes, hormone-free meats, and wild-caught fish. Plan your meals with the idea that foods that are full of life will support life. Supplement your diet with a high quality prenatal vitamin such as Thorne, Designs for Health, and Ortho Molecular, and a high quality source of essential fatty acids such as pastured eggs and fish oil.
Saying yes to your body in terms of exercise means choosing ways to move your body that promote blood flow, strong muscles, and calm endurance. Brisk walking, yoga, swimming, biking, and Tai Chi can all address these attributes which strengthen the body, move stagnant energy, and calm the spirit. And remember, doing is just as important as being careful not to overdo!
Saying yes to your body to support fertility means saying no to one thing: stress. Well-known author of The Infertility Cure, Randine Lewis, Ph.D. refers to stress as “the fertility killer.” When TTC, we want our bodies to remain in “rest and digest” mode as much as possible. This allows our blood flow to be concentrated in our core, where our digestive and reproductive organs reside. That way, these systems receive the oxygen and nutrients from the blood they need for optimal functioning. So, make sure you get enough sleep, spend time with friends and loved ones, and engage in activities that bring you joy and nourish your heart.
What about acupuncture? Acupuncture is a valuable tool to help manage stress. In addition to a session’s deeply restorative and relaxing properties, receiving acupuncture while you are TTC can help your body toward creating optimal conditions for conception and can help correct any imbalances that may be impeding conception. Relaxed and happy moms make for relaxed and happy babies (and beyond)!