5 Easy steps to start your own Fertility Program
Posted: Aug 24 2018
1. Collect information
This can include cycle related information such as cycle length and length of the period. Other important information includes the collection of BBTs (Basal Body Temperature) as well as thorough recording of changes in cervical fluid throughout your cycle. It is also a good idea to start noting other signs and symptoms that we don’t always see as part of our menstrual cycle such as mood, sleep patterns, abdominal pain, bloating, breast tenderness (or swelling), headaches, changes in energy levels etc. This does not have to be massive project but it’s a good idea to take a few minutes once or twice a day to check in with your body and record some notes. This information is invaluable to natural health practitioners who focus on fertility. It is also a key component in narrowing down the fertile window in order to capitalize on it while trying to conceive. Your cycle is the viewmaster through which you can see your overall health, paying attention to it is an excellent tool to help you identify when things go wrong and thus enable you to take action.
2. Work on your nutrition
The nutritional profile of both the mother and father (prior to becoming pregnant) has a huge bearing on both your pregnancy as well as the health of your baby. So, starting a healthy and varied diet plan before becoming pregnant will make it easier to maintain these habits throughout your pregnancy, as well as during the postpartum phase. All it takes are simple steps like: eating a variety of whole foods, avoiding processed or packaged foods, creating simple food combinations etc. Specific supplementation is also an important consideration in your nutritional profile, including but not limited to a high quality prenatal vitamin. Look for a multivitamin that includes: iron, folate, calcium and zinc. A crucial part of working on your nutrition that is often overlooked is how your body is accepting and processing what you take in. If you suffer from fairly consistent loose stools, constipation, bloating, acid reflux and or indigestion you must attend to and resolve these issues to ensure you are assimilating all the nutrients you are eating.
3. Manage Stress
We cannot eliminate stress, but how we offset it in our lives is important to the regulation of the reproductive system. Prioritize the reduction of stress by reducing your workload, streamlining your activities, and incorporating techniques that offset stress like meditation, yoga, pilates, walks in nature (look up Shinrin-yoku), regular massage, acupuncture, reiki, visits to a float tank etc. – there are a large number of ways to help your body come out of a stress response – employ them regularly.
4. Balance your lifestyle
Balance is key. This means regulating your sleep and eating patterns, not overworking, getting regular moderate intensity exercise, taking time for self care, being in nature, quitting smoking, and curbing alcohol intake. It may also include reducing your amount of overseas travel (jetting through time zones on the regular is a significant stress on the body).
5. Get evaluated
If you have been trying to conceive for a while it may be time to get an evaluation. This can include a baseline bit of blood work at your GP’s office and or a consult and assessment by a natural health practitioner who focuses on fertility. As an acupuncturist who focuses on women’s health and fertility I must emphasize: don’t wait to do this. If you notice irregularities in your cycle, sleep patterns, digestion or are struggling with the stress management piece see someone now rather than later. Removing these small roadblocks to overall health and wellness can have huge impact on your reproductive system. If you have already received a diagnosis (endometriosis, PCOS etc) from a specialist or your GP, working alongside a practitioner who specializes in fertility will support your efforts and can help resolve conditions that are inhibiting your fertility.