Let’s get straight down to it. People don’t like to talk about fertility a whole lot. However in my recent experiences of being a 40 year old woman interested in increasing my fertility I found so many articles quoting me scary statistics and not very many offering helpful information or practical solutions.
Having spent some time researching and testing, reading and practicising, I’ve learned too much not to share it. So here are my tips for women in their late 30s or early 40s who would very much like to have babies.
The number one reason that fertility is hampered is stress. Stress produces cortisol and this is a fertility killer. So, do whatever it takes. Have a good hard think about whether you really need to work full time, or if you’re in an unhappy job, get a new one.
In Australia the government pays parental leave based on really reasonable eligibility. Do some research, go easy on yourself, and learn to negotiate what you need from your employer. Or find employers that are family friendly and have a strong emphasis on a healthy work/life balance. A great resource for this is careermums. Have a look at Kate’s blogs and archive, they’re really helpful. Or if you can, get a coach or a mentor like Hugh Todd who specialises in helping women get what they need at work.
Acupuncture and yoga are both fantastic for stress management. The best yoga for fertility video I found was from Pulling Down the Moon, I’ll mention them again later in this post. Also, take a specialised pre-conception multivitamin. There are major brands in Australia that make them and are readily available. It’s a really good idea to take folate also. Your man or donor needs to take iodine and a multivitamin to aid in sperm production and general wellbeing.
Next thing to really consider is the kidney. Proper kidney function is the foundation of happy reproductive organs. Again, do whatever it takes. Drink loads of water. Eat happy kidney foods, like:
– green tea
– mung beans
– raw vegetables
– seeds and nuts
And consume less kidney challenging substances like coffee (up to 50mg a day is OK, a barista can show you how much that is), quit alcohol (or at least reduce it to a maximum of 3 drinks a week) and quit smoking. And do a MILD detox. A great reference for this information is the Pulling Down the Moon wholistic fertility clinics in America. They have two great books available. Both well worth a look.
It’s important to remember and communicate to the necessary people (ie your man or donor) that his little swimmers are made 3 months before they are ejaculated. This means that men need to limit alcohol and exposure to heat or friction in their man parts (like long distance bike rides), ideally for at least 3 months prior to conception.
Thirdly, there are a whole lot of other things like acupuncture and yoga that will help your kidneys function. Please do tell your yoga teacher that you’re trying for a baby and they will tell you which exercises are not recommended. Generally speaking, twisting the torso and inverted poses like headstands should be avoided. These squeeze the eggs and send all the juices in the wrong direction. You might need to hunt around a bit to find the right yoga teacher. Or get the Pulling Down the Moon video and do it at home.
Meditation and generally clearing your energy is a really good idea. I have personal favourite ways to do this, but if nothing else is available to you there are some great resources on line just to help you with mindfulness techniques like Gil Fronsdahl on Audio Dharma that you could listen to on an ipod whilst you go for a nature walk. And that’s just one simple way to tune in.
The best acupuncture clinics I found in Sydney are those run by Jane Lyttleton. She is based at the Paddington Medical Centre, however has clinics all over. Once you are pregnant it is a really good idea to get regular acupuncture during the first trimester also.
Next thing to do is get a really good GP, set yourself a reasonable time limit (say 3 to 6 months) and if natural ‘trying’ doesn’t get you there, go get some tests. Our next entry on this topic will explore what do to if you test low for any of the crucial fertility tests and give you some further information.
Go well ladies, and remember to keep a strong network of support around you for when those monthlies arrive. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen one way or another.
Further resources available on request.
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