Holistic Fertility: 6 Ways to Optimise your chances of getting pregnant.
Whether you’re actively trying to conceive now, or in the future.
Falling pregnant sees the miracle of life blossoming and improving our ability to conceive and carry in a holistic way – that is, looking at you as a whole person. Whether you’re actively trying to conceive now, or it’s something you’re wanting in the next few months/years, working to improve your fertility is so advantageous, in building and supporting a body that is strong and resilient, able to be the most ideal vessel for creating and sustaining life. For both men and women, taking a deeper dive into preparing our body for conception and fertility is something not often spoken about. I feel it’s we expect our bodies to function optimally, to just be able to conceive naturally and can get emotionally distressed, upset and distraught when this doesn’t happen. So here are 6 ways to support your fertility;
1. Decreasing our exposure to toxins
Our society is naturally just polluted with hundreds of toxins, and we ourselves are exposed to them when we were in our own mother’s womb. It’s just the way life is now, and I feel understanding this fact and improving and supporting our bodies own natural detoxification and antioxidant pathways are how we’re able to consistently effectively, help the detoxification of these toxins.
Choosing organic produce over conventional produce is one key way to assist improving our fertility, this includes opting for organic/grass-fed/wild-caught animal products. In the same breath, doing what is best for you and your situation is paramount, because as we’ll get too, stress is probably the number one enemy of fertility.
Looking at our personal products, what are putting on our skin, hair, and bodies. Are the products we’re using laden with endocrine and neurotoxic ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, heavy metals, artificial fragrances, colours, and other synthetic ingredients? If so, opting for eco-friendly and green replacements.
Taking inventory of the home and assessing if there is a history or presence of black mould? Reducing EMF exposure via rock salt lamps to offset EMF’s, adding in more natural, warm light, adding in plants to the home to oxygenate the air, opting for eco-friendly and non-toxic bedding, adding in water filters to taps and showers, choosing natural eco-friendly cleaning products, reducing the number of plastics we cook, eat and drink from.
I know it seems like a lot, but it’s all about tiny shifts and changes. You don’t have to do everything at once, because we do not want to be stressing you out.
2. Supporting detoxification pathways via a heavy metal detox
Heavy metals include Lead, Arsenic, Aluminium, Cadmium and Mercury.
Many of these heavy metals are found in our tap water supply, pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, food additives, cosmetics and in industries like mining where the exposure to these chemicals is way greater.
We want to be supporting our key detoxification organs; Lungs, Skin, Liver, Kidneys and Brain, and we do this by incorporating specific foods regularly, like celery, parsley and citrus, like lemons and limes (in a daily juice is the most ideal).
We can also add in binders, that mop up these toxins such as Zeolites and Activated Charcoal and enable them to be excreted via our bowels. Utilising these binders is recommended for 3-4 weeks.
Adding in potent antioxidant foods like Chaga Mushroom, Matcha Green Tea, Turmeric, Cacao, organic Blueberries and Broccoli to synthesise our own antioxidant compounds and reduce the damage of these heavy metals.
And incorporating infrared saunas, remedial massages, regular movement / physical activity and lymphatic brushing to assist the removal of these metals.
3. Decreasing stressors where possible and optimising sleep
Stress is one of, if not, THE, primary driver of infertility. Stress isn’t just “I have a deadline” stress. Stress comes to us in the form of conscious and unconscious forms, from trauma’s, expectations, self-exploration, from not getting enough sleep, from pro-inflammatory foods, from work, finances, relationships, time, the list is honestly endless.
Stress is also, a part of our lives, and I always encourage my clients to literally, write down a list of where in your life you feel restricted, anxious, stressed, yucky, because all of these areas are triggers, telling our body “it’s not safe to have a baby” and putting us into the fight-or-flight / sympathetic nervous system state, shutting down reproduction.
Once we’re aware of what’s causing us stress, we take action where we can. We delegate, change our schedules, ask for help, have difficult conversations, create action plans, set boundaries, work on ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves. We can also add in “stress buffers” such as Magnesium, Activated B Vitamins and Adaptogens (more on these later!)
4. Identifying potential nutritional deficiencies
First thing is that birth control depleted so many key nutrients, including magnesium, B2, B6, B12 and folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. And we need ALL of thee nutrients to ovulate and produce healthy eggs (and sperm for males).
Symptoms such as headaches, constipation, IBS, eczema, psoriasis, chronic fatigue, anaemia, poor wound healing, skin imbalances, cramps, hair loss; these are all key signs of nutritional deficiencies and low-grade chronic inflammation. Working with a practitioner to identify and assist in restoring balance and levels is the most ideal, otherwise taking it on yourself to top up those nutritional stores to optimise fertility and conception.
Some key nutrients important in conception for both men and women;
Selenium – brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, tuna
Zinc – oysters, pumpkin seeds, organic eggs, sunflower seeds, herring, mushrooms, cacao
CoQ10 – grass-fed red meat, tuna, sardines, olive oil, walnuts, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, strawberries, grapefruit, apples
Omega 3’s – walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring
Folate – all leafy green and cruciferous vegetables
Vitamin C – all yellow, orange and red fruit and vegetables
Vitamin D – Shiitake mushroom, sunshine
Alpha Lipoic Acid – broccoli, spinach, organ meats and Brussel sprouts
Fulvic Minerals – providing trace minerals in a highly bio-available form to assist the absorption and utilisation of food-based nutrients
5. Identifying hormone imbalances
For us females, hormonal imbalances can also be a hurdle for fertility, with rates of Endometriosis and PCOS seemingly rising over the past 5 years.
Some key symptoms to identify if you have hormonal imbalances includes;
Heavy, dark and clotty periods
Spotting / scant periods
Hormonal acne (along the jawline in particular)
Cramps, fluid retention, PMS, mood swings
Low libido, vaginal dryness, depression
These all signal an imbalance of Estrogen / Progesterone / Androgens and I’d recommend again, working with a practitioner to help restore balance and really optimise your hormones and thus, fertility!
But as general guidelines
Supporting liver detoxification
Decreasing stressors and endocrine-disrupting compounds
Supporting gut health
6. Adaptogenic Herbs for Fertility
Adaptogens are superior in their ability to regulate the HPA (Hypo-Thalamic-Adrenal) axis; buffering stress, which is known as the main barrier to falling pregnant. Adaptogens also have nutritive properties, improving nutritional levels as well as supporting key organ systems that improve overall wellbeing.
Cordyceps Mushroom – has been used for centuries to improve the fertility of both men and women, increasing levels of progesterone in women and testosterone in men, as well as being a lung and kidney tonic, improving cardiovascular health and supporting adrenals.
Shatavari – literally translates to “she who has 100 husbands” and is a women’s tonic used for centuries within Ayurveda.
He Shou Wu – strengthens connective tissue, the skeletal system, tonifies the blood and is nutritive, being rich in zinc and iron. It also improves sperm function, ovary function and increases testosterone levels in men.
Schisandra Berry– optimises liver function and detoxification, assisting the metabolism and excretion of toxins that add chronic stress and inflammation t the body. Schisandra is also a superior herb for stress and adrenal function, calming the nervous system and nourishing all 5 treasures; Qi, Xue (Blood), Jinye (Body Fluids), Jing (Essence), and Shen (Spirit).
Chaga Mushroom – is a potent antioxidant, supporting healthy DNA and cellular function. Chaga is also beneficial in balancing blood cholesterol and sugar, potentially protecting mothers from Gestational Diabetes, and assists the microbiome and metabolism of excess hormones, specifically androgens which are present in women with PCOS.
Astragalus Root– is an immunomodulator, balancing and supporting the immune system, improving resilience and protecting against invading pathogens, supporting a healthy immune system, which eventually, will be passed onto baby during breastfeeding and if a vaginal birth occurs.
Reishi Mushroom – is a nervine and is beneficial in calming an overactive nervous system and mind and supports healthy sleep and strengthens Shen.
Nettle leaf – is beneficial in balancing hormones, as well as increasing iron levels
Overall, the more you nourish every aspect of your being leading up to trying to have a baby, the more you’re stacking the fertility cards in your corner.