If you’re looking to improve your fertility naturally these tips are for you! With these quick, easy tips you can start making positive changes to your fertility today!!
Fertility is kind of a funny thing because as women we spend a good portion of our adult lives ignoring it. Really kind of hoping we don’t get pregnant. And then one day we decide “it’s time” and we want to be extra fertile, NOW! And for those of us who have struggled to conceive (or are currently struggling), it can be very defeating. In some ways, we begin to define our femininity by our fertility. And we begin to feel like less of a woman if we struggle to conceive.
Of course, that’s not true. But those feelings can be haunting. Especially when it seems like every time you log on to Facebook someone new has a picture of them holding an ultrasound, announcing their pregnancy. And you want to be happy for them, really you do. But you can’t help but wonder when will it be your turn. So you inevitably turn to the internet googling things like “how can I get pregnant fast” and “ways to improve my fertility naturally”.
Does that sound about right?
I totally get it, because I’ve been there. I struggled with, and eventually overcame, secondary infertility. And it was the most trying time of my entire life. Hands down. So I understand where you are coming from. And I am going to give you some tips that really helped me. Nope, no supplements or crazy gimmicks (although believe me, I tried it all), just real advice from a real mom who has been where you are.
First, a little background…
When I got pregnant with my first it was completely unexpected. I was on birth control, so not only were we not trying, I was actively trying to avoid pregnancy! Yup, I was that girl. The one that woman come to not-so-secretly hate when they’re desperately trying to get pregnant. Because I just kind of stumbled into motherhood, while women around me longed for it for years.
After my first son was born I went on a much stronger form of hormonal birth control (per my request). It worked, but when we were ready to start trying for baby number 2 it worked way too well. My hormones were a hot mess and conceiving a baby was not happening: cue secondary infertility. Secondary infertility essentially means that for some unexplained reason, I was able to conceive on my own one time, but struggled to do it again the second time. What I realize now is that “unexplained” reason was really due to the incredibly strong hormonal birth control I had been on after the birth of my first.
I’ll spare you all of the gory details (that’s a long, long story for another post) but fast forward 20 months, 2 miscarriages, many pounds gained, even more tears cried, a couple bouts of depression (following the miscarriages), intense grief and sorrow, I was finally done. I had tried it all. Seriously, if you name it I probably tried it.
Supplements. Timing and positioning of sex. Fertility massage. Fertility teas. More supplements. I gave up coffee, took up exercise. Wore socks all the time to keep my uterus warm (yeah, you read that right– I’ll tell ya, the things the internet will tell you to do!). I gave up wine (never again), then I drank more wine. If you had told me to drink a strange potion while I stood on my head I would have done it. I wanted to get pregnant, and the fact that I couldn’t was slowly eating me up inside.
After our second miscarriage I told my husband I was done. I couldn’t deal with trying to conceive anymore and I needed a serious break. This was early spring, so we agreed we would take a break until the end of summer and then make an appointment to see a doctor.
By this point I was beginning to make peace that maybe we were meant to be a one child family. I just couldn’t take the mental and emotional stress of trying to conceive anymore. And then it happened. I got pregnant. And I stayed pregnant. And 9 months later, our sweet little Nugget was born!
So what changed? What did I finally do (or stop doing) that helped? I’m going to share with you, and I genuinely hope that even one of these tips makes a difference for you!
Ugggg, I know, I know. You probably want to reach through your screen and punch me right about now. I kind of want to punch me too. Believe me. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me to “just relax and it’ll happen” when I was struggling with infertility, I would have had enough money to adopt a whole orphanage of kids. I hated it when people said this to me. I despised it. And yet here I am saying it to you.
It’s not because I think if you have a glass of wine and your hubby gives you a back rub you’re automatically going to be so relaxed and then conceive (although that’s not a bad place to start). It’s really more about your mental state.
When I was trying to conceive it was all I could think about or talk about. It completely consumed me, every party of my day and life was focused on how to get pregnant. And while I tirelessly pursued solutions I was ignoring so many other wonderful parts of my life. I wasn’t spending as much quality time with my son or husband. Gone were the days of long walks and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. I had stopped doing much of what I enjoyed (like baking or reading) so that I could fill the time with fertility research.
And when I conceived our second son I was living my life again. I needed a break from all of the research and the obsessive reading about fertility. So I started reading fiction again, and taking the dogs for walks, and really engaging with my family. I was living! And that’s when I conceived.
So maybe don’t relax, just live your life. Yes, it’s hard. And it might seem impossible to completely forget about. But try to remember what your life used to be like before you were consumed with cervical mucus, temperatures, egg quality, and the best positions to conceive. Remember when you used to have a glass of wine with dinner because you could? Or when you used to listen to music instead of affirmations about conceiving? I bet your husband misses the days when you would tell him stories about your work day or your hobbies instead of yet another story you heard about a couple who struggled to conceive.
Try living your life again, you might be surprised at what happens.
In my quest to improve my fertility, I actually stopped doing something that was helping. Moving!! I would use every spare second to be on the computer (or my phone) researching fertility. And that left little time for movement in my life.
Before I had become completely consumed with trying to conceive, I used to take my son and the dogs for a walk every day. And then I would spend a good portion of the day chasing my toddler around.I was moving, my blood was pumping, and I felt great! When I finally got back to that it didn’t take too long before I conceived again. Seriously.
And while I think a lot of it had to do with the movement specifically (because that got the blood pumping to my uterus!) I think it also had a lot to do with my first tip. Movement (specifically walking) helped me to relax and live my life again. Suddenly I wasn’t this recluse holed up in my house desperate to conceive. I was a normal person again. And it felt great!
And if you’re someone who does move a lot, consider the type of movement and consider a change. For instance, if you do Cross Fit workouts a few times a week and run on the off days, you might be moving too much, or too intensely. Consider scaling back and trying low intensity movement like swimming and walking.
Yes, I’m really telling you to eat more. But of the right kinds of foods. In hindsight, between the depression from miscarriages and an attempt to lose weight to improve fertility (insert eye roll here, thats total BS) I don’t think I was eating enough. And when I did eat enough it wasn’t of the right kinds of foods.
Now there’s no need to go out and start frantically researching specific foods that will improve fertility. Just stick to real, whole foods. That means meat, seafood, eggs (lots and lots of eggs- they’re so great for fertility), plenty of fruit and vegetables, starch carbs (like potatoes), and take it easy on the sugar and processed foods. I bet if you start there you will notice a change in your health. And that will eventually impact your fertility.
This article from Ancestral Nutrition offers a quick, comprehensive look at foods that are great for fertility. And this article from Grass Fed Girl offers similar information, along with a guide to what essential oils are most helpful for fertility. When I was looking to make changes in my diet to improve my fertility, these were some resources I relied on the most.
And the biggest changes I made was adding more butter (and saturated fat in general) to my diet and plenty of egg yolks. Along with eating more whole foods, I definitely saw some drastic changes in my hormone levels, and was eventually able to overcome my secondary infertility. Now I’m pregnant with my third, happy, healthy baby boy!
Practice Charting Your Cycle
And along with that, get to know your body. I first discovered the Fertility Awareness Method because I was trying to conceive. I think a lot of women come to find FAM that way. Essentially, the Fertility Awareness Method is a way of tracking your menstrual cycles so that you can tell when you are fertile, and when you are not. Many women use it to identify their monthly fertile window and then hopefully to conceive. But a lot of women also use it was a way to avoid pregnancy. It works both ways, and it helps you to learn a lot about your body.
I’ve seen women identify health issues like thyroid problems, imbalanced hormones, and even allergies all from tracking their monthly cycle! It’s a pretty powerful tool to help you know your body. And knowing your body is probably the best change you can make to improve your fertility. If you’d like to learn more about this, I highly recommend this book, it is an excellent guide, very comprehensive and a fairly easy read. I would also recommend this thermometer, and these ovulation strips. Ideally you won’t need ovulation strips, but while I was learning I found they came in very helpful.
That’s it! These 4 simple tips made the biggest impact for me and I believe they can help you too. Sure there’s tons of supplements and super foods and fertility cleanses, but why spend all that money? When what will be most helpful is to live a full, well-rounded life, get moving, eat the right foods, and learn about your body!!
Do you have any go to tips for fertility? Please share below!