Infertility is an issue women are facing more and more frequently. As women age, an estimated 35 to 39 percent will face fertility problems, since your eggs become less viable and the challenges of conceiving also increase.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 6.7 million women between the ages of 15-44 are unable to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. However, even though you may associate infertility as a woman's problem, men can also be infertile.
There are many reasons why you may not be able to get pregnant, such as hormones, cervical issues, your man's sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that cause health problems.
But, did you know your daily lifestyle choices can have a direct impact on your ability to conceive?
If you're considering getting pregnant now or in the future, there are choices you can begin implementing now to improve your fertility and impact the health of your unborn child.
What natural choices should you be implementing to help increase your chances of becoming pregnant?
- Eat healthy, wholesome, nutritious foods.
- Remove high sugars and starches from your diet.
- Include leafy greens (such as asparagus), wild caught salmon, Brazil nuts.
- Incorporate healthy fats (like avocado).
- Reduce as much stress as possible.
Tune in to Sarah Corey, AADP, and Dr. Holly to learn more about preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show | Original Air Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Host: Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN
Guest: Sarah Corey, AADP
Dr. Holly: Hi everybody. Thank you so much for coming back. Listen. We’re going to be talking about fertility. It’s always been interesting because I have colleagues that specialize in infertility and I was like: “That’s a really, really, really, really bad thing to specialize in.” Nobody wants to have infertility. I think we should specialize in fertility. I guess it’s just me being picky about the way the way things are said. But isn’t it true, right? We want to specialize in helping people get pregnant that desire to get pregnant. I have the lovely Sarah Corey with me and we are definitely going to be talking about natural ways that you can actually increase your chances of fertility, especially if you’re having a hard time with this process. Sarah, welcome.
Sarah: Hi Dr. Holly, thanks for having me.
Dr. Holly: Of course. You’re so welcome, all the time. You give us great information. You always cite those studies which I think are really important; but I’ve got to tell you something. I’ve been practicing for about 14-15 years and definitely in the last decade I have seen an increase in the number of women that present to my office who are having problems getting pregnant. When we get right down to it, I kind of understand, sometimes, why. I want you to get into what it is you think is going on.
Sarah: It’s really interesting you said that. You think of infertility, or people having fertility problems, as older men or women that are trying to get pregnant later in life. One thing that’s been surprising to me since I turned 30, I’m giving my age here, it’s very interesting to me how during lunches with my friends the conversation has really shifted and fertility is a big thing on people’s minds. That’s what I wanted to talk about today. My friends are coming to me and asking: “How can I ensure that I’m able to conceive naturally?” It’s a really big concern for people, not just women who are conceiving later in life. I think what we’re seeing is that poor diet, toxins, and a lot of stresses are creating issues with our bodies, hormone regulation issues, that are making it harder and harder for us to conceive naturally and easily. Just so people understand when we’re talking about infertility and when you should be nervous; infertility is defined as no conception after 12 months of unprotected intercourse for women that are under 35 years old and for over 35 it’s 6 moths. That’s when you want to be concerned if you’re not conceiving.
Dr. Holly: That’s a great distinction, it really is. I think that’s really, really important. Go ahead.
Sarah: I think what we should be aware of, is like you said, this is a big issue. One in 10 Americans will experience infertility. Over 10 million couples have bought infertility services. One thing to think about is that I don’t want to think of this as an isolated issue. To me, it’s telling us there’s a sign and symptom of a larger problem going on with the body. Something is out of balance and we need to address this from the big picture. We can’t think of this unknown (3:31). I think that’s really important.
Dr. Holly: I think that’s great and important too. One of the beautiful things about women is that they have this cycle, for the most part, and it’s such a great marker of health to understand. If we move away from the electromagnetic fields, all of the artificial lighting, we would cycle with the moon, right? The lunar cycle. It’s so great to understand and have that metric of health understanding. Do you cycle normally? Is that menstrual cycle sort of that flow? When I say that I really mean: Is that in flow? Are you in flow? Are you in syncing up with the natural energies of your body, of your world? Infertility is a great sign that, perhaps, you’re not and you’re body needs some attention.
Sarah: Yes. I think we have become somewhat disconnected from our bodies. That’s a really great point to bring up. Because we are in such a modern, technological age there are apps. You can track your cycle. You can see. Am I cycling regularly? If not, that’s a good indication that something may be out of whack and you might want to start thinking about some of the things we are going to talk about today. Really what I want to talk about is that there may be people out there who are already struggling with this issue and you’ve been trying to get pregnant. I do encourage you to seek medical testing to see if there are any physical impediments, such as a blocked tube or something like that. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant in the next 3, 6, or 9 months, now is a really good time to start optimizing diet and lifestyle so that you can have a successful conception, when that time comes. Another thing to thing about is that most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant until 6-7 weeks in to pregnancy. It’s really important that we start making these changes now so that if all of a sudden you find that you’re pregnant, you’ve already created that healthy lifestyle for the baby.
One thing that I think is foundational for this is nutrition. We hear this over and over, but it’s really important that our body has appropriate micro-nutrients and healthy fats to support fertility and hormone production. There was a study done by a Harvard professor, and he looked at the lifestyles of 18,000 married women and what he revealed was simple. Eating a diet high in starch and high in sugars decreases our fertility. One thing that is really simple and easy that we can start doing is removing highly processed sugars and starches from the diet. Sugar is going to be pro-inflammatory and it’s going to negatively affect our fertility. Sugar has also been shown to exacerbate polycystic ovary syndrome, which is one of the leading causes of infertility.
Dr. Holly: If you are eating those processed things, you know that you are probably exposing yourself to endocrine disrupters. They are not organic; there are pesticides and herbicides, etc. There are endocrine and hormone disrupters. We’re looking at that system over all when we talk about fertility. So removing processed sugars, also then, what to include?
Sarah: Things to include. We always talk about including unknown (6:56) foods, green foods, and leafy greens. One great green food to include would be asparagus. Asparagus is high in folic acid, which is going to reduce the risk of ovulation failure. Women that aren’t ovulating aren’t going to be able get pregnant. It’s also helpful in avoiding neural tube defects in babies. One thing to note is that often these neural tube defects occur within the first 28 days of pregnancy during which, as we talked about, many women aren’t even aware that they are pregnant. So this is a great thing to include. Another great thing to include is wild-caught salmon. Salmon is high in selenium and this is a mineral that is going to help produce anti-oxidants that protect the egg and the sperm from free-radicals and it’s also been shown to help prevent chromosomal breakage. That is known to lead to birth defects or miscarriages. So you can include that. Another great source of selenium is Brazil nuts, so 2-3 Brazil nuts gives you the recommended daily value of selenium and they taste awesome. That’s a great thing that you can add in to your diet.
Finally, good fats. Some of us have been conditioned that we don’t want to have too much fat in our diets, but fats are a key contributor to all of our hormones. If you don’t have the right amount of fats, that alone can be a factor that’s preventing you from conceiving. One easy, great way to get fats into your diet is avocado. Avocados are a great source of fat. It’s going to be helpful for cellular repair during pregnancy and it’s also been shown to help increase conception rates for those undergoing fertility treatments. That’s really awesome.
Dr. Holly: So, Asparagus, wild-caught salmon (emphasis on wild-caught), and add in avocado. I’m going to take this, we have sixty seconds left. One of the points you made was stress. Stress, stress, stress. Here’s the big thing. When you have increased stressors, you’ve got what I call a pregnenolone/progesterone steal. Think about it: Pro-gestation. You need progesterone enough, hanging out, to get pregnant and to stay pregnant. Guess what? Progesterone has the ability to be converted to cortisol, your stress hormone, if needed. Guess what then happens? You don’t have the hormones that support fertility.
Sarah, I know you’re coming back next week. We’re going to be talking about the fertility conversation again, but we are addressing those environmental toxins that you talked about. Thank you so much. Very, very important: What to get rid of and what to have in your diet.
Dr. Holly: This is Dr. Holly Lucille, on Mindful Medicine. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook @YourRadioMD. Stay tuned.