Let’s get straight down to it: it would seem that people don’t like to talk about fertility a whole lot. However, based upon my experience of being a 40-year-old woman interested in increasing my natural fertility I found so many articles quoting scary statistics and so very few offering helpful information or practical solutions it seems important to share something positive.
Having spent some time researching and testing, reading and practising, I’ve learned too much not to share it in good conscience.
So here are my tips for women in their late 30s or early 40s who would very much like to have babies.
Slow down Sally
The number one reason that fertility is naturally hampered is stress. Stress produces cortisol and this is a fertility-tamperer. To that end, do whatever it takes to the chill-out. You may need to have a good long think about whether you really need to work full-time, or if you’re in an unhappy job, consider getting a new one. That angry tyrant of a supervisor could quite likely be hampering your chances of conceiving.
In Australia, the government pays parental leave based on reasonable conditions of eligibility. If you are in Australia, do some research, go easy on yourself, and learn to negotiate what you need from your employer. You could also seek to find employers that are family-friendly and prioritise a healthy work/life balance. You might also be able to skill yourself up in negotiation and get better conditions where you currently work – I once negotiated to work half the hours for double the pay with some expert coaching on how to do so from a specialised coach.
Wisdom of the Ancients
Acupuncture and yoga are both fantastic for stress management. The best yoga for fertility video I found was from Pulling Down the Moon, I’ll mention them again later in this post. Also, take a specialised pre-conception multivitamin. There are major brands in Australia that make them and are readily available. It’s a really good idea to take folate also. Your man or donor needs to take iodine and a multivitamin to aid in sperm production and general wellbeing.
It’s all organ-ic
Next thing to really consider is the kidney, it’s a key organ in the development of a baby-friendly body. Optimal kidney function is the foundation of happy reproductive organs. Again, do whatever it takes. Drink loads of water and eat happy kidney foods, like:
– green tea
– mung beans
– raw vegetables
– seeds and nuts
It’s also important to consume less kidney-challenging substances like coffee (up to 50mg a day is OK, a barista can show you how much that is). You would need to consider quitting alcohol (or at least reduce it to a maximum of 3 drinks a week) and stop smoking. It’s a good idea to do a MILD detox. A great reference for this information is the Pulling Down the Moon holistic fertility clinics in America. They have two great books available. Both well worth a look.
It’s important to remember and communicate to the necessary people (ie your man or donor) that his little swimmers are made 3 months before they are ejaculated. This means that men need to limit alcohol and exposure to heat or friction in their man-parts (like long-distance bike rides or hot baths), ideally for at least 3 months prior to conception.
Thirdly, there are a whole lot of other things like acupuncture and yoga that will help your kidneys function. Please do tell your yoga teacher that you’re trying for a baby and they will tell you which exercises are not recommended. Generally speaking, twisting the torso and inverted poses like headstands should be avoided. These squeeze the eggs and send all the juices in the wrong direction. You might need to hunt around a bit to find the right yoga teacher. Or get the Pulling Down the Moon video and do it at home.
Meditation and generally clearing your energy is a really good idea. I have personal favourite ways to do this, but if nothing else is available to you there are some great resources online to help you with mindfulness techniques like Gil Fronsdahl on Audio Dharma that you could listen to whilst you go for a nature walk. And that’s just one simple way to tune in.
The best acupuncture clinics I found in Sydney are those run by Jane Lyttleton. She is based at the Paddington Medical Centre, however, has clinics all over Sydney. Once you are pregnant, it is a sensible idea to get regular acupuncture during the first trimester.
Next thing to do is get a really good General Practitioner Doctor, set yourself a reasonable time limit (say 3 to 6 months) and if natural ‘trying’ doesn’t get you there, go get some tests. Our next entry on this topic will explore what do to if you test low for any of the crucial fertility tests and give you some further information.
Go well ladies, and remember to keep a strong network of support around you for when those monthlies arrive. It may not happen overnight, but it could very well happen in time.
There is no way to say what will or won’t work for each individual but the ideas above helped me to have two natural pregnancies post-40 years of age and I dearly hope they help you too.
Got a question? Post in the comments. I answer them all individually and in person.
Andrea Lopez, Mayan Abdominal Massage
Louise Gillam, Integrated Body Therapist