Updated: Jan 18
It's estimated that up to 15% of couples are struggling with their fertility (although I would argue that number is much higher). Fertility treatments can be super expensive and there are no guaranteed results, especially for women's health. I always believe in taking the most natural route possible first, and then leaning on the incredible technology of our healthcare system when I've exhausted all my options!
As an expert in women's health, I have helped many women actively trying to get pregnant or planning for the future. Here's some of my top tips on how to promote fertility for women in a holistic way. I hope these tips are helpful for you in your journey towards conception.
Research shows that a woman's diet before conception not only affects her ability to conceive, but also how quickly she is able to do so. Many women don't consider their diet until they are a couple of months away from wanting to start trying for a baby. However, I advise that you start making dietary changes 6-12 months ahead of trying to get pregnant, if possible. The food you eat creates every cell in your body (and eventually creates every cell in your baby's body!), so don't underestimate the power of nutrition!
Focus on organic, whole foods as much as possible. Eat plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like wild-caught salmon, flaxseed, hemp seed, and chia seeds. Eat foods rich in antioxidants like folate and zinc (fruits, veggies, nuts & seeds are great options).
A great place to start is my list of TOP HORMONE BALANCING FOODS for women's health- try to incorporate these fertility superfoods into your diet each day!
2. Natural light exposure
Light is a nutrient, and most women don't get enough of it! Natural light helps to balance many of our sex hormones that contribute to fertility.
Try to get at least 15-20 minutes of unprotected light exposure each day, preferably first thing in the morning. If you live in a place that doesn't have a lot of natural sunlight, there are many light simulators (like this one) that can be purchased to give a similar effect. Bonus- natural light in the morning has been shown to help people sleep better at night because it balances your circadian rhythms. Which leads me to my next tip....
3. Make sleep your #1 priority
Seriously. Get some sleep! Most adults are not getting enough sleep. I find that women need AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep per night, but ideally 8+. Personally, I need 8.5+ hours of quality sleep each night to be my best self. This can be tough in our "always on" patriarchal society, but please trust me when I say- you can solve many of your health concerns simply by getting more quality sleep each night. If you're trying to become pregnant, make sleep your #1 priority. Read my blog post 7 steps to better sleep for more tips on how to get the best sleep of your life!
4. Eliminate daily stressors
Your body suppresses non-essential functions when you are stressed- no need to make a baby when you have a (real or perceived) threat in front of you. Stress delays ovulation, and chronic stress can impact your sex hormones significantly.
We cannot completely eliminate stress in our lives. Stress is inevitable. BUT- we can set ourselves up so that we have LESS stressors each day, and we can work on our bodies & minds to help us become more resilient to stress.
Also, I'd like to point out the obvious: Sometimes the stress of trying to make a baby can actually do more harm than good. Be mindful of this and try to make the journey as fun, loving and joyful as possible!
Don't underestimate the importance of learning to manage stress, especially when trying to conceive. If you are struggling with this, I'd recommend working with a health coach, a therapist, or another healer to support you and give you proper tools!
5. Natural supplements
Once you've gotten the basics down (nutrition, sleep, stress) there are many natural supplements you can take to double down and support your body more deeply to promote fertility. Some of my favorites that I recommend to my clients are maca root, bee pollen, royal jelly, and chaste tree berry. Always discuss supplements with your healthcare practitioner.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a very helpful modality for fertility enhancement. TCM is aimed at rebalancing the body from the inside out. It's not a quick fix, so expect to do a few sessions while also focusing on nutrition, stress reduction, and sleep to get optimal results.
If acupuncture scares you, you're not alone! I HATE needles (I still get a little woozy and have to look away when I do my annual bloodwork) but acupuncture needs are SO tiny, you barely feel them.
7. Explore the mind-body connection of fertility
This one is SO IMPORTANT, y'all. The mind-body approach to fertility is based on the concept that a change in the way you view your fertility can create subtle changes in your endocrine, immune, and nervous system. Start with your language- what words are you using to describe your fertility, your journey, and your body? Words like "infertile" can be damaging to self-perception and overall affect women's health.
Journal about your relationship with your body and how you view her, what words you use to describe her, etc. Consider visualization, affirmations, and other positive psychology activities (I do guided visualizations with my clients who are trying to conceive and this is one of their favorite things!!).
Also, it's important to examine your societal programming around your "biological clock". Many women feel a pressure or rush to get pregnant, which inevitably leads to stress. Contrary to popular belief, many women can easily have wonderful pregnancies in their late thirties and early forties, as long as they have been taking care of themselves and their fertility for conception.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I have helped women through their journey improving their health that are trying to get pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the future. So, if you're looking for support in your fertility journey and want to make sustainable dietary & lifestyle changes, consider hiring a holistic health coach to support you! Book a free consult with me here. Virtual and in-person options available.