When Stephanie Roth was told by doctors that her chances of conceiving were very low (less than 2 percent chance of getting pregnant), she didn’t take “no” for an answer. Increasingly women like Stephanie are defying the odds by taking fertility into their own hands through holistic approaches to fertility.
“I felt like I had been punched in the stomach,” Stephanie said about hearing the news of her low egg count from her endocrinologist. “I knew that I couldn’t control my age or biology, but I could control my lifestyle choices. I extensively studied fertility and female reproductive health, as well as nutrition and wellness, to take charge of my own fertility.”
As a result, Stephanie was able to conceive a healthy baby only one year later. And she’s not alone. An increasing number of women are choosing to postpone pregnancy in their 40s or even into their 50s. Many factors contribute to this trend such as the growing societal acceptance of delaying motherhood as well an increasing focus on professional goals for women.
Waiting to have children comes with its advantages. Studies have shown that older women tend to be more knowledgeable and better equipped at handling tough parenting decisions. Additionally, waiting to conceive often comes with the financial benefits and stability– as women’s earnings increased by up to 9 percent on average every year that they postpone conceiving, according to a 2011 study by Amalia Miller, an associate professor of economics.
Nevertheless, conceiving in your 40s comes with its challenges. Age is one of the most important factors in women’s chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Fertility begins declining in their early 30s and begins accelerating after age 35. Nevertheless, women have found success in their pregnancy journey later in life by fostering a healthy relationship with their bodies and taking advantage of a few fertility boosting tips.
Staying informed about fertility
Education is key. New information about fertility is consistently discovered and published online, so staying in the know will be key to leveraging any new information from the research community. Also consider learning from first-hand accounts on other information platforms such as blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels. In addition to informational updates, these communities can be valuable support tools. The value of knowing that you’re not alone on your fertility journey should not be underestimated!
Tracking basal body temperature
If you aren’t already, consider tracking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) through charting techniques. Your BBT is the temperature that your body rests, which is generally lower than your normal body temperature. Take your BBT each morning throughout your menstrual cycle to determine when your ovulating. In addition to keeping up with your cycle, BBT charting helps provide some important insights about your fertility status.
BBT charting kits are affordable. Some of the cheaper (but effective) BBT tracking thermometers are available for about $13, while some of the slightly more expensive kits run a little higher but can be used in conjunction with an smart device app.
Sticking to the right diet
Eating the right nutrients impacts your ovulation in several ways. Nutrients such as zinc, folate, iodine, iron and vitamin D play important roles in every step of the reproductive process. So consider increasing your consumption of whole grains, low-mercury fish, dark green vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, legumes; decrease your consumption of alcohol and smoking; and limit your caffeine. In addition to reproductive health reasons, a healthy diet can help with regular, consistent periods– which in turn helps with predicting when you ovulate.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also essential. If you’re significantly overweight or underweight, you may not ovulate at all.
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Mindfulness is essentially keeping one’s attention focused on your experiences in the present moment. Maintaining an uncluttered mind and positive emotional health can do wonders for the body and reproductive health. This can be achieved through a variety of means such as meditating, guided imagery and yoga. Consider signing up for a community mindfulness class in your area or visit your local library for some beginner texts on practicing mindfulness.
Getting adequate rest and sleep
Not getting enough sleep? You’re definitely not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. But if you’re trying to get pregnant, getting enough sleep is absolutely essential.
The part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones (including cortisol and melatonin) also trigger releases of reproductive hormones. Sleep also has a ripple effect on the rest of your life– including emotional health and your mood. Develop better sleep habits by trying to get at least eight hours each night, spending some more time in the sunlight, reducing stressful activities before bedtime and not overworking yourself.
If you’re interested in getting pregnant in your 40s, don’t get discouraged! First, consider seeing a fertility specialist right away to determine whether or not there are any problems with your eggs or ovaries. Then work with your specialist to determine what approaches might work best for you. Write down your personal goals for developing healthier reproductive habits and stick to them.
When Sarah Clark was 28 years old, she received a diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. She accepted the diagnosis and had both her children through in vitro fertilization. Years later she realized the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance.
She is a certified life coach with accreditation from the International Coaches Federation and a health coach with training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
She is the author of Fabulously Fertile – Supercharge your Fertility Naturally, Fabulously Fertile Cookbook and Fertility Preparation Program. Her fertility coaching program, which includes functional lab testing, supports couples to make diet and lifestyle changes that dramatically improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby!
On her Get Pregnant Naturally Podcast she shares that with functional medicine and natural fertility solutions we can eventually reverse infertility. Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.