If you’re a woman you either already have or almost undoubtedly will hear the tick of your biological clock at some point in your life calling you to become a mother. But if you’re one of 2.1 million married American women today that tick may go on unanswered for quite some time – if not forever.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) millions of women in America are suffering from infertility, with some 7.3 million between the ages of fifteen and forty-four reporting infertility (defined as the inability to become pregnant for at least twelve consecutive months). That’s a lot of women wanting to become pregnant who are sadly unable to do so.
The rate of infertility continues to increase in America and around the world. Many blame the toxins in our modern world polluting the body and compromising precious functions such as fertility, pregnancy, and child birth.
Do you struggle with infertility? Does someone you know long to conceive but find themselves unable to not only conceive but to also pinpoint a cause of infertility? If you (or someone close to you) suffer from infertility it’s not hopeless. In fact, recent research shows that many causes of infertility can be treated by all natural means such as diet.
Causes of Infertility: Starting with the Basics
Many times if a woman or couple tries to become pregnant and is unable to they think there must be something wrong with them, something pretty serious. However, that simply isn’t always –or even most often – the case.
There are a few basic causes of infertility. According to the Mayo Clinic, in about thirty to forty percent of the infertility cases in America the male and female are experiencing reproductive issues contributing to their issue of becoming pregnant. In another forty to fifty percent of the cases the problem lies solely with the female. And in a lesser roughly twenty percent of the cases the problem is solely the males.
If medical problems have been ruled out or if you simply haven’t gotten that far yet, there are a number of all natural ways to combat infertility and promote fertility. These approaches are simple, inexpensive, and are great ways to promote your overall health too.
I highly recommend you try a few or even all of these all natural solutions for infertility before you panic or even give it another moment’s worry.
6 All Natural Fertility Promoters
1. Decrease Stress
You’ll often find decreasing stress as a solution to infertility at the bottom of the list. I’ve opted to put this first because in today’s world we live with high stress and continually underestimate its impact on our health. I really want to emphasize how crucial it can be to decrease stress for overall good health but in particularly if you’re trying to conceive.
This is the perfect time to take a look at your priorities, determine what causes you the most stress and eliminate it from your life if at all possible. If you cannot eliminate it you must find healthy ways to cope with the stress and lower it. Once you become a parent all priorities shift. If you’re stressed out your cortisol levels are elevated which leads to not only infertility but all sorts of other physical and mental problems. Now is the time to take stress and its impact on your body seriously.
2. Healthy Diet to Balance Hormones
As I mentioned about cortisol and stress (cortisol is often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’) the body is impacted both positively and negatively by hormones. The body relies on a vast array of hormone functions every day for basic functioning, and when it comes to fertility, pregnancy and childbirth hormones are front and center.
The hormones involved from before conception to birth are critical to not only becoming pregnant but also having a healthy pregnancy and childbirth experience. Today we are learning that what we eat contributes to our bodies’ chemistry in particular our hormones. As a general rule if you’re trying to become pregnant you want to eat a healthy balanced diet full of whole foods that have minimal processing. However, it’s important to note that you want to avoid sugars, especially refined, highly processed ones as well as unhealthy fats like rancid vegetable oils. Even before you become pregnant eat according to how you’d feed your baby. Would you give your one year old a greasy cheeseburger with fries? Don’t eat it when you’re preparing to conceive either.
In addition to staying away from sugar and processed foods, you want to add healthy fats into your diet, like coconut milk & oil and fish oils.
3. Exercise to Balance Hormones
Some people can immediately feel the difference in their hormones (even though they may not know this is what it is) when they engage in exercise. The mood improves, they sleep better, and they may even experience an increase in their sexual appetite. All of these changes occur with changes in hormones. For example, we often hear about the ‘feel good hormone’ serotonin increasing with exercise.
Our bodies are created to eat healthy and be active each and every day but so many of us don’t even come close to this normal existence. If you want to become pregnant it’s vital, yet often overlooked, to engage in regular exercise in order to get your hormones in order – or in other words balanced.
From the release of the egg to the condition of the sperm and its ability to reach and fertilize the egg, hormones play a role in just about every process when it comes to conception.
Be sure you do some cardio exercises as well as strength training. I caution you against long distance cardio exercising as this in itself has been thought to cause problems with hormones and fertility. Engaging in burst training and weight training is the best way to exercise to effectively balance your hormones.
4. Chiropractic Care for Fertility
Going to the chiropractor may not be the first thing you consider when you want to become pregnant, but recent research shows it just may hold important keys to the current infertility problem across the nation.
Chiropractic care is based on wellness of the entire body, not simply treating one symptom with a drug or surgery as we so often do today. When it comes to fertility chiropractic care can really make a difference for many people.
According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) research shows that any misalignment in the spinal column can impact nerve impulses. When it comes to infertility, blocked neurological signals can seriously impact the pituitary as well as hypothalamus creating problems with hormone balances which often lead to infertility problems. It’s vital to have a healthy spine in order to have a healthy reproductive system.
5. Decrease Your Exposure to Toxins
We live in a world with far too many toxins polluting our insides. But what you may not know about many of these toxins is that they alter hormones in your body with detrimental effects.
Some plastics are well known to mimic estrogen in the body resulting in an increased risk for certain cancers such as breast cancer. These changed hormone levels once again impact the reproductive system in both men and women. It’s also important to remember that anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream. Check your lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc. for dangerous toxins. You can rate many of your products on the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database.
If you want to become pregnant it’s crucial to eliminate your exposure to many (if not all) of these dangerous toxins. Not only will this help to balance your hormones you’ll also be creating a toxic-free environment for your baby to grow and thrive.
6. Supplement with GLA
Once you’ve made sure to follow the above five steps to balance your hormones and clear your body of unwanted toxins potentially creating hormone balance issues, you can look at adding GLA or gamma-linolenic acid to your daily regime.
This omega-3 fatty acid, GLA, has been shown to increase the production of cervical mucus, a factor in successful reproduction. GLA can be obtained through supplements such as evening primrose oil as well as foods. Many fishes are high in GLA such as salmon, cod, and sardines. Look for cod liver oil to supplement too.
Struggling with infertility can be a highly upsetting and personal experience. As the rates of infertility continue to climb we must look for all natural solutions when this natural process of fertility goes awry. The costs of traditional drug and surgery treatments for infertility are not only costly financially, they can take a physical toll down the road for both the parents and conceived child.
As with many of the other physical and emotional health problems we’re experiencing today it’s best to get back to the basics with diet, exercise, low stress levels, and making an effort to minimize your exposure to toxins to start. When your overall health (both physical and mental) is optimal the rest will surely follow. Don’t underestimate the power of these six steps to increase your fertility.
Dr. Axe's Action Steps
- Start exercising 3 times a week. Start bursting training and weight training.
- Consider your lifestyle. Do you eat healthy, organic foods or do you rush through life eating fast food, microwave meals, or anything you can fit into your schedule? Eliminate the unhealthy eating habits and replace them with real foods & healthy fats.
- Go for a wellness chiropractic consult. Many offer free or discounted initial consultations where they will evaluate your spinal health and offer suggestions for a course of treatment.
- Consider supplementing with GLA and a high quality cod liver oil.