So I’ve been doing a lot of talk on how to PREVENT pregnancy through various methods of birth control, but what if you’re trying to ACHIEVE pregnancy?
Now, I recognize that less and less women want to become a mother these days – in fact, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this, BUT we should still pay attention to our fertility because it is one of the best signs of optimal health.
Why talk about this now? Well, after getting married this fall, I’m entering into the next phase of my life – starting a family – and while I’m certainly in no rush to start pumping out babies just yet, it’s definitely on my mind.
So before we take a deep dive into this topic, why don’t we first touch on what we should be thinking about BEFORE we even try to conceive. Ya?
The basics of achieving optimal fertility are going to include:
NUTRITION…are we eating an adequate amount? Are we an appropriate body weight and body composition? Are we eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that we’re getting in bioavailable vitamins and minerals? Are we eating adequate protein to make sure we have enough amino acids for precursors of protein synthesis and neurochemicals? Are we making sure that we are eating adequate healthy fat for our hormones and nervous system? What about adequate carbohydrates to fuel your thyroid, heart, and muscles during the activity that we do throughout the day?
1. TRAINING…we want to make sure we have a good balance of resistance training with cardiovascular training sprinkled with an adequate amount of activity throughout the day (NEAT). We want to make sure that our exercise routine is ADDING to our well-being and not TAKING AWAY from our well-being and increasing stress.
2. STRESS…we want to make sure that it is managed appropriately and we have systems in place to deal with our stress when it comes up. Remember that perceived stress is just as damaging as if we had to jump out of the way from an oncoming car. It’s the same type of physiological response in the body and has the same physiological repercussions. Stress is a huge load on the adrenals and as you know the adrenals are the king of the endocrine system – if the adrenal glands are overworked and dysfunctional that leads to a lack of thyroid metabolism, circadian rhythm, gut health, inflammation, and imbalanced sex hormones to name a few.
3. HORMONES…If our hypothalamus perceives a world of stress (from emotion, environment, infection, inflammation, over-exercising, lack of sleep, lack of familial support, etc), then it’s NOT going to send that signal to your pituitary gland and ovaries to prepare your body for fertility. And if your reproductive pathway is inhibited there is no way we’re going to be able to get pregnant the way we expected to (let alone make healthy amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). The easiest way to tell if you are all good in the hormone department is if your periods are consistently on time, minimal symptoms of pain, or irregularities in mood…among other things.
So for you ladies thinking of having a baby soon…
Let’s start thinking about the foundation to optimal fertility so that when you ARE ready, we can talk about the specifics of optimizing and tracking fertility in our next post!
Where are you at in your fertility journey?