7 Ways to Boost Your Fertility Naturally….or Before You Go InVitro, Try This
One of the most rewarding areas of my practice is helping couples get pregnant. These days, given the widespread use of birth control pills, the increasing age of parents-to-be and various other factors, getting pregnant can be a slow, distressing, difficult process. The exact opposite of the way it should be!
1) Address any Underlying Conditions or Imbalances
When I first see a woman in my practice who has been trying to conceive for awhile without success or who has had one or more miscarriages, I always do a comprehensive medical assessment. How capable is her body to carry a pregnancy? Is there an underlying imbalance or disease process that needs to be addressed to facilitate conception? What are her cycles like? Has she been on birth control? Does she have healthy thyroid hormone levels? Are her blood sugar levels stable? Any history of uterine fibroids or cystic ovaries?
I also take a serious look at her partner’s health. Has his sperm been checked for fertility? Has he had a sperm count? Is he sitting in a hot tub all day everyday? (yes, this has happened) The answers to these questions could very well be the obstacles to getting pregnant and carrying a fetus to term.
2) Short Cleanse Program
Once I have determined a general state of balance or health, and significant health issues are being addressed, I find that having either the mother-to-be or both parents-to-be (always better if both jump in) do a short cleanse can work wonders in boosting fertility. Just this alone has often been the only treatment recommendation I have needed to make (it continues to surprise me how many of my patients have conceived after a simple guided three-week cleanse).
3) Assess Adrenal Health
How stressed is our mother-to-be? Is she sleeping? Is she eating appropriately? How well is she taking care of her body? Does she exercise? Drink water? All of these foundations of good health are a vital part of preparing a woman for the strain a pregnancy can put on the body. She is, after all, creating a whole new being and providing all the raw materials – blood, skin, organs, etc. It is essential to start out strong so that she can sustain a healthy pregnancy to term.
4) Confirm Ovulation
A key factor to conceiving is ovulating. We need an egg to fertilize! Finding out ovulation status can be done several ways. My preference is to test hormonal levels with an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). These are pee-on-a-stick tests that give you a positive result the day before you ovulate, giving you time to plan ahead for baby-making. They work by telling you when your level of luteinizing hormone (LH) has gone up, which means one of your ovaries will soon release an egg. The kits are available at drugstores without a prescription.
5) Regulate Cycles
So many ways to do this. I often begin by having women optimize their estrogen and progesterone cycles by alternating oils every two weeks. Ground flax or pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon a day, taken from the onset of menses for two weeks, to enhance estrogenic balance. Then ground sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon a day, taken from two weeks on until the woman bleeds again to enhance progesteronic balance. This regimen can be further supported by taking fish oils for the first two weeks of the cycle alongside the ground flax or pumpkin seeds, and switching to evening primrose oil for the second half of the cycle, taken alongside the ground sunflower seeds.
There are also herbal formulations available in tincture form that can be taken and can be quite powerful in regulating cycles and boosting fertility. I create special blends based on the constitution and particular issues of my patient.
6) Supplementation for Extra Encouragement
And finally, once I’ve worked through the previous list of priorities and we have established a healthy sleep and nutritional plan, I often add appropriate nutritional supplementation to further improve the chances of getting pregnant. Particularly if the man is older than 42, I will put him on the following regimen to get his sperm in tip-top shape.
1) Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols): 1200 IU/day
2) Folate: 5 mg/day
3) Zinc: 30 mg/day
4) B12: 1000 mcg/day
For the mother-to-be, she will almost always get:
1) Sublingual folate (5 mg/day) and B12 (1000 mcg/day)
2) A uterine tonic such as Rubus idaeus (red raspberry macerate) to be on for the duration of the pregnancy
3) An herbal tea blend with nettles, red clover, dandelion, and red raspberry
4) Lately I have begun testing for the MTHFR genetic mutation which can be a major player in multiple miscarriages. Based on the results of this test I may treat with Methyl Guard or another methylated folate supplement.
7) Other Considerations
It is important for both parents to avoid exposure to pesticides, solvents and other toxins during this vulnerable time. Depending on someone’s toxic exposure, I may give liver detox support to clean out the body before it becomes a home for a growing fetus. Most of my patients will also come in for weekly acupuncture and, if indicated, I’ll make them an individualized chinese herbal formulation.
Finally, I encourage parents-to-be to have fun. Go out on a date! Eat at a nice restaurant! Watch a movie or read to each other in bed! Snuggle! As most parents know best in hindsight – this time alone with your partner is precious. Take advantage of life pre-baby.