Fertility and ovulation really is so much more than making babies, its a monthly report card of our health, how our hormones are functioning, our nutritional status and overwell wellbeing. While fertility may not be the main focus in your teens and 20’s, it’s what we can do now that sets up everything for when (and if) we are ready for children.
As many of you know, I am a massive believer in that health should look different for everyone, because no two people are the same and therefore no two health plans should be the same. Saying that, the following steps we can all do as women to support general wellbeing and improve our monthly report card.
- eat well.
one of the most simple and yet such a broad point. eating well changes for person to person and season to season. Generally the quote “eat food, mostly plants” sums it up perfectly. We need a balance of fresh seasonal veggies, lots of greens, clean protein, fibre and delicious good fats. all of these things influence our monthly cycle and hormones. the more balanced our diet is, the more balanced our hormones will be.This doesn’t mean we need to restrict, measure and count calories but rather enjoy a wide variety of fresh produce and listen to what our body is asking for. Each meal should have clean protein, good fats, fibre, carbohydrates and bonus points for adding a veggie.
- understand your health.
I personally am a MASSIVE information addict, which I think influences my love for pathology tests and their results. On average we should be getting blood tests at least once a year – for women it is usually every 6 months. This way we can test what our iron, vitamin d, zinc, cholesterol, liver and general pathology is doing. In my opinion, you cant understand your health without pathology testing. It is literally written in black and white and you can refer back to past results when needed.Keeping on top of your nutrient levels and overall wellbeing can make a world of difference when it comes to making a baby or babies. We need adequate iron and vitamin D to sustain a pregnancy and ensuring that your levels are happy long before you start trying can make a world of difference.I ask ALL my clients to keep a copy of their pathology results. This information is yours and it can provide such insight into your wellbeing.
- move your body.
Our body loves to exercise! exercise helps to move waste out of the body, gets blood flowing, oxygen flowing, endorphins up and supports sleep – all things that our body needs to create a happy cycle. Exercise helps to support the pelvic floor, strengthen muscles so that when it comes time to house, grow and nurture a baby the recovery is faster and smoother (generally speaking).
- keep track of your cycle.
If you are not on any hormonal birth control, there are many ways to keep track of your cycle. There is so much power in learning about your cycle and what is happening each month. If you are new to tracking your cycle start with an app or Basal Body Temperature Tracking where you can physically see the changes in your cycle and when ovulation is occurring.We can also see when our body is ovulating due to the cervical mucous changes, and take note of any changes to our mood, skin, sleep, energy levels or physical changes such as sore breasts, night sweats.From there, when we are ready to have a baby we have all the information ready to go! increasing conception time (the average conception time is 3-12 months).about apps* they go off women’s averages cycle, that means that your cycle may be sightly off until it figures out your individual cycle. so use barrier method contraception until you are sure or understand how your cycle works.
- understand your cycle.
Ok, so now we know what is happening each month, but what does it mean? as females we are so special in that each month we go through a complex hormonal shift, this shift stimulates ovulation and a bleed. I strongly believe information is power in that when we understand our hormones we can be empowered by them – and the reality is there is so much to learn beyond that highschool sex ed class.
- limit alcohol.
Oh alcohol, its always the hardest for people to say goodbye to, but the reality is, it really does not serve much in the way of health. It depletes nutrients, mucks around hormones, throws of our microbiome, decreases liver health, alters mood and sleep. Balance really is the key here, give your body a break, allow for alcohol free days and restore the body from these depletions.
Falling pregnant can be a hard one to shift into – from physically trying to stop conception to trying everything to make it happen. It can be quite the adjustment. Understanding how our bodies work will always help to empower our health and making small changes now can really alter the big picture for when it comes time to having babies and growing families.
words: Alyce Cimino (AHARA HEALTH Naturopath)