Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trying to Conceive (TTC): Natural Fertility Tips

Of all the things I've shared so far I actually forgot to talk about the life-changing journey from the conception to birth of my children. I'm most experienced and well-versed in this area through years of reading books, forums, talking to people, and watching educational videos. Everybody's experience is so different, every story each so special, and everything you go through are all equally amazing, damaging, and blissfully ignorant at times. After my husband and I got married, having had been together 8 years at that point we knew it was time to start a family right away, it was the one thing we both felt would complete us. Both of my kids were planned. I don't openly admit or talk about them being planned with my family because it's too weird, and because it's something that I wanted to do without my mind being clouded. We started trying and I had no idea how long it would take. I suspected I would have trouble because of my hormonal issues over the years, and because of the fact that we spent 8 years being reckless and never had an accident. I was on birth control once for about a year and that's it. I have only used natural family planning methods even until presently. I've had 2 natural births, no perineal tearing/episiotomies, and I breastfed both of my kids; one for 2 mos and the other for 6 mos. They are now 5, and 2 years old.

I signed up for fertilityfriend.com after the first month because I was too disappointed by the negative pregnancy test. That's just how I am, when I want something I want it now, despite knowing that these things take time. I learned so much as I spent hours and hours reading. I wasn't working at the time, so I spent every waking moment on trying to conceive through knowledge. I delve into everything in life by making a project out of it. No detail could be spared. I started by taking my basal body temperature and charting my cervical mucus. I highly believe in charting your periods every month and pinpointing ovulation. I didn't get any fancy test kits, any special "pre-seed" lube, or scheduled sex. I listened to my body, and looked at the temps daily, and sure enough by the 2nd month I was pregnant.

The second time around for baby#2 I used the Period Tracker app on my phone, again the first month nothing happened, I didn't bother with the basal body temperature this time, feeling so expertly confident. The next month I paid more attention to my cervical mucus, but by the time my cycle was coming to an end, I got a negative pregnancy test again. I spiraled downward just feeling blah and sad because the disappointment hit me harder this time. I just kept waiting for my period so I could start all over again. I was a moody mess, when one night my husband was like "why don't you take another test?". I said "I only have 1 test left and I don't wanna be disappointed all over again in the middle of the night, I know it's going to be negative, it was last week when I was already late..". He was like, "just take another test, you never know". So I went and took the test waiting patiently in the bathroom with my adrenaline starting to pump hoping it will positive even though I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up and there it was.. A BIG FAT POSITIVE! For those of you who have been there, you know this feeling. I was so excited!

A friend was trying last year and I gave her some tips and she was pregnant the month after we spoke, I thought I'd share them with you all.

Tips when Trying to Conceive (TTC)

  • Use a period tracker app if you don't already. Period tracker will help pinpoint when you're most fertile and when is ovulation.
  • Pay close attention to your cervical mucus. When you're near ovulation your discharge will be clear and stretchy. That's the optimal time to have sex. You don't need to have sex every single day that week but 3-4 times should be sufficient. Some would say doing it everyday decreases his load and thus your chances, others say do it every single day. Really this shouldn't be a chore now, just have fun!
  • After sex, don't get up right away. You can get pillows and tilt your hips upward if possible. 10-15 mins is good enough. Orgasms are a must by the way, if they weren't before they are now! =x Orgasms cause uterine contractions which help the little swimmers move up to find the egg. =)
  • Don't try to diet when TTC, it's counter intuitive, your body needs plenty of rest, wholesome foods, none of that processed crap. Vitamin and mineral rich foods, namely Omega's, folic acid, potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, choline, etc. While TTC, this is the best time to get on a prenatal vitamin. Don't forget protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and stay away from sugar.
  • I believe in something called Lunaception. Very early civilizations used the moon for fertility, growing and harvesting crops, and understood it's effect on mankind physically and emotionally. If you don't have normal periods, click here to learn about the different ways to regulate your periods naturallyIt will also cover homeopathic cell salts in which I'm doing more research on. In the meantime look in to this herbal tea, it's said to help: FertiliTea
  • If you're used to doing exercise, continue. If you're not, now's a good time to get moving and do what you can. It could be jumping jacks, brisk walking, a yoga DVD or whatever you feel comfortable doing to get a sweat, even if it's for 15 mins. Exercise regulates your body's fertility and metabolic hormones and increases fertility. If you're significantly overweight, losing weight would help increase your chances. Don't forget to stay hydrated!

  • Up your Fat intake. People freak out when I say this. We live in a world of lies, and misinformation, and the result steadily shows the rise in diseases and infertility rates. Saturated fat no longer needs to be banned. Eat grass-fed meats and butter, coconut, olive, and fish oils, avocados, nuts. Go organic as much as possible. Stay away from soy as it mimics estrogen. 
  • Nourish your mind not just your body. Don't stress about how long you've been TTC. I always see stories about people who stop trying or adopt and they get pregnant later on. I hate that things take time also, but they do. Stress delays everything. Go for massages, see a naturopathic doctor if your OB/GYN doesn't see anything physically wrong with both you and your partner and it's been over a year of trying. Many women have been able to conceive after seeing either an naturopath or acupuncturist. A certified herbalist could also be helpful.
  • Be Positive. Scientists confirm a mind-body link. What we think we become. If a doctor tells you that you're infertile and your uterus is still intact, you're having periods even if they're irregular, have PCOS, or fibroids, it's still possible to get pregnant and carry a baby to term.
  • I found the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting" by Heidi Murkoff and the website Babycenter.com to be my #1 go-to guide. I'm not sure if there are any better resources than those two, but if you do have suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below.
  • When in doubt, get a 2nd/3rd opinion. Clomid is definitely over-prescribed these days.
  • I heard about a product called "Pre-seed" lubricant. This is my take on it: The positive reviews this product got can't be attributed to the actual effectiveness, because we will never know what were the circumstances of those couples' fertility. We've been populating this earth for hundreds of years before products were commercialized and marketed. If you:  
    • Are having periods 
    • Don't have anything wrong or in need of an intervention (cysts, etc.)
    • Have no obstruction/scarring in the Fallopian tubes 
    • Are producing hormones that would ensure ovulation (can be checked by your Dr.) 
    • Have signs of ovulation like cervical mucus, and basal body drop in temperature
    • Your husband's sperm count/quality is good 
    • You are having sex regularly

Then: it's only a matter of time. If your cervical mucus/dryness is a problem then by all means get the product. Personally I'd rather keep the natural pH balance going on down there instead of mess with it, but when I look at that product this is what I'm seeing: 

Ingredients: Purified water, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Pluronic, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Arabinogalactan, Potassium Phosphate, Propylparaben >>>(WTF?) 

Knowledge is Power only when being Used. Best wishes and Good Luck!


Basal body temp charting: http://www.sisterzeus.com/bbt_risk_of_preg.html

Community forum/support: http://www.twoweekwait.com/

Human Physiology/The COMPLETE Female Reproductive System Guide: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Human_Physiology/The_female_reproductive_system#Factors_of_Infertility