In this blog post, I highlight some of the very best babymaking practices that can make all the difference in your fertility journey, and help you to get pregnant fast!
1. The number one most important thing that we can do during our fertility journey is to enjoy baby dancing. We all know that without baby dancing, making babies at home is impossible. But enjoying baby dancing is not just important for those of us making babies at home, it's also important for same-sex couples and other couples undergoing IVF. If we are just going through the motions, or only engaging in baby dancing during our fertile window, this becomes work for both partners and takes all of the fun out of babymaking. This way of connecting is very unsupportive of fertility and reproduction. On the other hand, there is beautiful physiology that is extremely supportive of reproduce that involves feelings of desire and pleasure, bonding and attachment, and fulfillment. All of these feelings start in the mind, and are very important aspects of baby making. It is critical that we prioritize babymaking and time to connect with our partner in this way over everything else as much as possible throughout our fertility journey. This is true especially during our fertile window – but not only during our fertile window. This goes for same-sex couples as well. Even though your fertility journey will look differently, and you will not actually be babymaking in the traditional sense, regular intimate time together to connect and support one another is key for the ease and success of everyone's fertility journey. For those of us having difficulty connecting physically because of a deeper unresolved emotional issue, it’s important to understand that no couple is perfect and we all have our challenges. However, the sooner we work together to resolve and make peace with our issues, the better for our relationship and our fertility. So yes, it's important to baby dance - a lot - especially during our fertile window. And it's important to do it with someone that you like a lot, which is actually a much sweeter scenario for co-parenting, so a win-win all around!
2. Although the furthest thing from simple, managing stress is one of the most important things we can do for fertility and the science behind it is very simple. Our biology prioritizes two things, first our survival and then reproduction. If our physiology is supportive of our survival, and our body receives the message that we are thriving, the next thing to do from a biological perspective is reproduce. It's why we're here. It's what we're born for and our bodies will do everything possible to support us in this when safe to do so. Being in a state of ease and pleasure creates physiology that communicates to our body that we are thriving and safe to reproduce. So aside from baby dancing, the very best thing that we can do for our fertility is to minimize stress and maximize pleasure in order to minimize hormones that take away from reproduction and create an abundance of hormones that are supportive of it. Some of the best ways to do this are cuddling and spending time with partners, loved ones, and human and animal friends, practicing meditation and mind-body movement such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong, and engaging in hobbies and activities that bring us pleasure and fun. Acupuncture, massage and other forms of bodywork, and various forms of therapy are also greatly beneficial in stress management and increasing healthy and supportive hormones and physiology.
3. The next most important practice for fertility is to be nourished. The best way to nourish ourselves is to consume a fertility diet and to supplement with vitamins and superfoods that support fertility. This means that we are getting enough calories and the combination of macronutrients of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that are appropriate for our unique needs, in addition to getting the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals and important cofactors and conutrients that naturally exist together in whole foods. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that we are eating balanced meals centered around grass-fed, wild-caught, and organic animal protein, good quality fat such as coconut and olive oils, nuts and seeds, and avocado, and healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and starchy vegetables. It's also important to balance our meals in terms of eastern nutrition principles. This means balancing the temperature and qualities of foods. For example, we can balance a raw salad, which is cold in nature, with warming bone broth for a nutritious and strongly balanced meal. Additionally, incorporating as many colors into each meal and snack as possible, not only ensures a variety of heathy phytonutrients represented by the different colors, but also provides support to all of the organs, as each category of color nourishes the function of an associated organ according to Eastern Medicine.
4. Next on our list is track your cycle. It's very important for babymaking that we are consistently targeting our fertile windows, which means knowing when we ovulate each month. A menstrual cycle is considered normal if it occurs regularly every 21- 35 days with ovulation occurring about 12 to 14 days prior to the first day of your next period. While there is a broader range of what is considered normal, a healthier cycle is typically closer to 26- 32 days. It's important to understand that each phase of our cycle is dependent upon the health of the previous phase and all phases have to be healthy to have our best chance at making a healthy baby. A cycle that is too long can mean that we're not ovulating, or that we're not ovulating regularly, and one that is too short can be an indication that we're not producing adequate hormones to produce healthy eggs. So it's important to get to know our body by tracking our cycle, and to take steps to strengthen and regulate our cycle if we find that it's not as healthy as we'd like it to be. There is abundant research supporting acupuncture and herbal medicine to strengthen and optimize the menstrual cycle. This is beneficial even for IVF couples because a healthy cycle is the foundation for healthy eggs that will become our embryos in the lab. Tracking our cycle is also beneficial in that it provides valuable information to health care providers who can assist us on our fertility journey in the event that help is needed.
5. This leads us to our final best practice for fertility: get evaluated. At some point if things aren't going the way that we would like in our fertility journey, it's important to enlist the help of health care providers. I recommend enlisting the care of both western and eastern practitioners because they will provide perspectives and approaches that are different, yet equally valuable. A gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist will evaluate hormones and anatomy to identify whether our hormones can support reproduction and that the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus are healthy and functioning properly. Likewise, male partners can easily be evaluated to ensure that their sperm is sufficient and moving with an adequate number being shaped normally. At the same time, an eastern physician, such as a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine like myself, will take all of these things into consideration while providing ways to strengthen and balance your body as a whole for integrative fertility support. I recommend that you don't wait too long to be evaluated. It is much more efficient to know what we're working with from the beginning so that any necessary treatment can be given and no time is wasted.