Like many women, I was under the impression that once we stopped actively preventing pregnancy I would conceive quickly and easily. And here I am, 11 months later, realizing how wrong I was. So what’s a woman to do?
For me, the next step in this process before medical intervention is to look into more natural methods of helping my body along. Hear me out. I still go to doctors and I still use medications as necessary. But I have also learned to trust my body, my own understanding of it, and more natural ways of promoting a healthy body. Let me explain how I got here:
When I began charting I decided to find a midwife to go to for my yearly gynecological exam. I had heard many “horror” stories of women’s experiences with ob-gyns who disapprove of charting as a method for birth control. My experience with a midwife was wonderful. She sat down and talked with me for an hour– not just about my “lady bits” but about my whole medical history, my life and lifestyle, and even my goals. I have struggled with chronic migraine my whole life, and at that time was taking a daily preventative medication as well as another medication for when migraines actually occurred. She was the first person to suggest to me that there are more natural ways to alleviate/control migraines, such as dietary changes or acupuncture. I left feeling empowered and curious.
Over the next few weeks I did research into natural methods of migraine relief, and was startled by the wealth of resources. I made an appointment with my doctor to talk about getting off my daily preventative. He was supportive, if a little surprised, of my decision. Over the next several months I implemented a migraine-free diet. The first step was to give up caffeine entirely– a HUGE step for someone who has subsisted on coffee since she was in middle school! I also gave up most processed foods because of their MSG content, foods containing nitrates and nitrites (such as certain meats), and highly acidic fruits. I used an iPhone app to track my migraines and potential triggers, and what I found was astounding. Without preventative medication I was having migraines two to three times a week. On the preventative meds that number dropped to four of five times a month. When I gave up caffeine I had a really bad week with a migraine almost every day, and then they went away. It has been about two years since I implemented this diet and my migraines are almost non-existent now. I have one maybe every eight to ten weeks. Let that sink in for a minute. I went from having migraines SIX to TWELVE times a MONTH to having migraines about ONCE every EIGHT WEEKS.
It’s pretty basic: if the foods I put in my body can affect me so significantly when it comes to my head, there is a good chance they are having an impact on other parts of my body as well.
So here’s what’s on the menu this month:
Peruvian Maca Root – This is a food that looks a lot like a turnip. Studies have shown that eating maca can have many positive affects on the body including increase libido, decreased anxiety, and regulation of hormones associated with a woman’s cycle. Yes, please! I was actually taking this the cycle I had a chemical pregnancy. I am hoping that this will help normalize my cycle, since I am currently on day 47! Maca has also been shown to improve the quantity and quality of sperm, so DH will also be taking some this month. Maca is available as a powder and in capsules. Please do your own research to determine whether Maca is right for you, and how much you should take.
Fiber Supplement – I have put on some weight over the last year, and I am willing to admit that this could be impacting my fertility. In order to help curb my appetite while I try to eat healthier, I am going to begin taking a fiber supplement. Fiber does a lot of good things for the body, when taking the right amounts of it. Please do your own research to determine whether taking a fiber supplement is right for you, and how much you should take.
Grapefruit Juice – Grapefruit juice has been shown to increase cervical mucus (CM) in some women. I like to drink a glass every day leading up to ovulation, starting at around CD 10.
Pineapple Core – Last month I learned that eating pineapple core may help with implantation. Pineapple core is the hard, fibrous center of the pineapple. It is fine to eat, though not as tender or sweet as the outer fruit. Apparently one should avoid eating it leading up to ovulation. It may or may not be of much help, but it certainly can’t hurt to try! My sources say to eat a section every day for the five days following ovulation.
So that’s it. What supplements or other natural remedies has you employed in your quest for increased fertility?