Ever wonder why some women can get pregnant at the drop of a hat (or underwear), and others try month after month (and even year after year)? There are a multitude of factors to consider including hormones, environment, diet, weight, age, sperm count and quality, ovulation issues, endometriosis, chemicals, toxins, infections, and more.
I remember when I struggled with infertility. 12 years ago there wasn’t the amount of research that there is today. There wasn’t Google or much of an internet. Resources were not at my fingertips. If I stumbled across an article in the newspaper I devoured every word and saved it. I do not ever remember reading an article though, that suggested relaxation techniques, seeking alternative therapies, or that my infertility may be caused by what I was, or wasn’t, eating.
After a year, when things weren’t working, we moved right into assisted reproduction without hesitating and without knowing there were other, less costly options to try first. Here, we learned a lot of acronyms, IUI, ICSI, and IVF, to name a few. My hormones were at the mercy of the drugs I was given — including the needles I injected myself with. We had our very own red, plastic, HAZARDOUS WASTE box that took its place on our nightstand where once was a scented candle.
We were overwhelmed, frustrated, distraught, and alone. We were alone because friends all around us were getting pregnant “just like that.” We were alone because we didn’t know anything and my diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” further frustrated us because there was no solution attached. And we were alone because the smart ones who wear the white coats did nothing to enlighten us.
None of the doctors we saw spent more than 5 minutes with us. There was no discussion of our situation, no quality interaction, no personal communication. We saw technician after technician for blood samples, lab tests, ultrasounds. And they, understandably, were worse than the doctors.
There were times when I felt inadequate. There were moments when we lost touch with each other. The romance was rapidly waning and sex became scheduled and uninviting.
After several failures and several thousand dollars invested, there finally was success. However, I would have loved to know then what I know today. It may have saved much effort and heartache.
Today, there is more research and more resources available. Making sense of it all is another story. The good news is that making a few small changes to one’s diet can be the key to some infertility problems. It is easy to implement and improving your diet can help with some of the other factors, like promoting healthy ovulation, balancing weight and healing the body. It can also reduce the risk for miscarriage and help to prepare for pregnancy.
So what can you do? Improve your chances of conceiving by getting rid of processed food, refined flours and sugars. Avoid fast food, fries, and foods made with transfats. Opt for organic, whole foods. Try not to let stress be an added factor. De-stress with yoga, exercise, breathing techniques, talking and/or counseling. Also, assess your body. What kind of shape is it in? Have you taken care of it? Do you eat right? Do you have any conditions (asthma, allergies, emotional, autoimmune)? Are you over or under weight?
There are numerous dietary and lifestyle changes you can try — many of which have been shown to promote fertility. For example, research from the Harvard Nurses Study showed that women who drank full fat milk had better success rates than those who drank low fat milk. Of course the tricky thing there is that some women may have sensitivity to dairy (without even knowing it) in which case increasing your intake of full-fat milk and cheese is probably not a good idea.
Working with a health coach can help. We are here to help you explore what factors may be contributing to your infertility. We are here to take the time and talk. We are here to help you get your body in the best shape, so that it can be receptive to your attempts. Your body is magic, it is art, it can heal, it can protect, and it is the only thing you’ve got. Learn what your body can do for you when you feed it.
Charissa Sharkey (HINT: Holistic. Idyllic. Natural. Transformation) http://www.facebook.com/hint.health