Infertility can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Couples feel frustrated, helpless, and alone in their struggle, especially when it feels like they’re surrounded by families with new babies.
The truth is that infertility is much more common than people realize. One in every eight couples has difficulty conceiving. While some factors are out of your control, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of conceiving and carrying a baby to full term:
1 - Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar causes Infertility; it makes it more difficult to conceive because ovaries are very sensitive to insulin. When your body’s insulin level rises, it disrupts the communication between the ovaries, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands. Reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet to help your ovaries communicate better. For an alternative sweetener, use low or no glycemic index sweeteners such as stevia or Lakanto.
2 - Make healthy fats the largest percentage of calories in your diet. This is contrary to the common misconception that “fats are bad for you.” Fat is one of the main building blocks of your baby’s body. The brain, cell walls, and hormones are made up mostly of fat. You need to have a sufficient level of healthy fats to keep your hormones balanced and your body primed and ready to conceive. Healthy fats come from egg yolks, butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts. Eating healthy fats keeps your baby’s brain growing, gives you a feeling of fullness, and maintains your weight at optimal levels. Plus, healthy fats help stave off those pesky sugar cravings!
3 - Get 5000-7000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per day. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, it is a prohormone. Prohormones are the building blocks of fully formed bioactive hormones, and are central to fertility. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a 4x increased chance for C-section, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature birth. For babies, vitamin D deficiency is linked to asthma, brain tumors, respiratory infections, seizures, and weak bones. Make sure you get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test done. Your vitamin D level should be between 50-80 nanograms per milliliter. Unfortunately, less than 5% of Americans are in this range. Spend 30 minutes in the sun and take a vitamin D3 supplement with at 5000-7000 IU each day while trying to conceive and during your pregnancy.
4 - Eat lots of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, and radishes. These veggies provide antioxidants that protect you and baby from carcinogens and help stop inflammation. Keep an eye on foods that promote inflammation, such as grains, dairy, and oils high in omega-6 (safflower, grape seed, and sunflower oils among others, as well as most salad dressings and mayonnaise). Inflammation can create an environment in the body that makes conception difficult.
5 - Take a high-quality, whole food-based, 100% natural prenatal vitamin every day. This is another tool to make sure your body is primed and ready to conceive. Remembering to take your prenatal vitamin every day is not without its challenges, so I recommend a one-a-day tablet. When I tried three-a–day vitamins I would either forget or just couldn’t bring myself to swallow them all. Look for a prenatal vitamin with L-methylfolate, the most absorbable form of folate in nature, rather than folic acid, the synthetic form that shows up in most prenatal vitamins.
Although folic acid has become commonplace in most supplements because it is cheaper, more than 40% of the population has a genetic variation where they can’t properly process folic acid, leaving it essentially useless. This variation is known as MTHFR, and not getting enough folate can contribute to infertility.
If you struggle with infertility, it is not something to be ashamed of or to suffer in silence. You are not alone. There is hope. I hope some of these techniques work for you in your journey. Make sure to talk to your doctor before trying any supplements or making any major changes to your diet and exercise routine.