Trying to get Pregnant or know someone who wants to get Pregnant? Then please share. Fertility is one of the top concerns for women today, whether they are in their 20s or 30s, or now even their 40s. According to the CDC, over 10% of American women have impaired fertility – that’s over 6.7 million women.
Here is the scenario I see all too often: A woman in her 30’s has been on the birth control pill for years – often a decade or more – and then goes off, expecting to get pregnant easily, because her OBGYN told her there would be no problem.
First, her cycle does not come back immediately (it often takes up to 6 months for your menstrual cycle to regulate after you stop the pill).
Then, she discovers hormone imbalances that have been there all along, covered up by the false period the pill creates. She may have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), fibroids, endometriosis, PMS, ovarian cysts or a centrally suppressed cycle due to high stress levels.
I also see many women whose irregular and painful cycles are caused by food sensitivities. I had one patient – a chef – who suffered from migraines and infrequent, irregular cycles. As soon as we cut gluten and dairy out of her diet, her headaches disappeared and her cycles normalized.
And then there are women who have structural issues like a blocked fallopian tube that needs to be opened surgically.
Understanding the root cause of infertility is a process and optimizing the body for a healthy pregnancy takes time – unlike what many doctors will tell you, it can take months or even a year to prepare. Here’s the steps we recommend to help prepare you to “Build a Healthy Human”
FYI: Coming soon is my passion project a Book called: “Building Healthy Humans”
Step 1: Test.
Test for nutrient deficiencies, toxins like heavy metals, genetics with implications for pregnancy like MTHFR, and of course hormones, including forgotten hormones like Cortisol DHEA and Insulin which can have a much bigger impact on fertility than estrogen and progesterone. You might also do a test like Counsyl, a genetics screen for common inherited diseases, which your OB typically runs as part of your annual visit.
Step 2: Eat clean + Restore.
We suggest a 30 day elimination diet cutting out common inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, grains and sugar. Often women are shocked at how their sleep and energy change when they change their diet, not to mention they lose weight and their menstrual cycles become regular. We also help you restore nutrients you are low on like magnesium, B vitamins.
Step 3: Detoxify.
Detoxification is a process that really can take as many as 3-6 months. It includes reducing exposure from heavy metals like mercury from seafood and metal dental fillings as well as using natural supplements like B-vitamins, liver-stimulating bitters and even metal binders to lower the body’s total toxin burden.
It also includes resolving digestive issues – if you’re not pooping regularly or have a lot of gas and bloating then you’re not detoxifying as you should.
Step 4. Relax.
This is the time to focus on you and your overall health and wellbeing, not to fixate on getting pregnant like your life depends on it. Stress is one of the number one drivers of digestive issues, autoimmune disease, PMS and irregular cycles, and, infertility. If you are chronically stressed and anxious, not sleeping well and exhausted, you need to begin to learn stress management tools like mindful breathing, yoga and meditation. You’ll need these tools once you’re a mom more than ever so now is the time to begin to practice them. Build relaxation into your daily life.
Step 5. Start your engines (aka your prenatal vitamin.)
Supplements to keep are probiotics, magnesium, fish oil and Vitamin D and in some cases other supplements as directed by your doctor for your particular situation. From there start a high quality prenatal. I like Whole food based Pre-natals.
A good prenatal has the right kind of B-vitamins for you (the methylated kind if you have MTHFR genetic variations), high quality sourcing of ingredients, and appropriate levels of key nutrients like DHA fatty acids which feed the baby’s growing brain, Vitamin A, Iron and Folic acid. Do not buy supplements at the grocery store, or take the samples your OB gives you for free – Please check them as they often contain toxic dyes and chemicals!
Think of your pre-fertility period as an amazing opportunity to improve your overall health and well being. Rather than diving from avoiding getting pregnant at all costs, to desperately trying, take a pause in between. Now is the time to focus on you, reset, identify and address underlying health issues and find your highest expression of balance. There is no better way to head into pregnancy than that.
If you need us, we’re right here for you.
Coming soon is my Book: Building Healthy Humans