Infertility. We’re about to dive into a very emotional topic, aren’t we? Before we get too far into this life-changing article, I need to let you know a few things. If you’ve never read any of my natural health books, or listened to our Kick It Naturally podcast, you should know that I started my career as a stand-up comic, so I tend to make jokes at inappropriate times. I just wanted to apologize ahead of time in case that occurs while talking about such a sensitive topic. I know this issue can be heartbreaking for a lot of people, but I also know that many of you reading this article could have reason to be excited by the time we’re done here. Many of you will forever remember the day this article found you.
The next thing I need you to know is that there are issues, problems, and conditions that can restrict a woman’s ability to conceive. These roadblocks do exist for some women, and I think it’s important to understand that going in. However, I’ve also seen cases where an issue that was believed to be restricting conception ended up having nothing to do with the woman’s infertility issues at all, and with the right changes, the woman was able to carry a pregnancy to term. Maybe you’ve been told that you have a heart-shaped uterus, or cysts on your ovaries, or maybe you’ve shown signs of PCOS. When specialists go looking for reasons a woman appears to be infertile, they will often find something (at least something that can be blamed). What I’d like you to ask yourself is this; Have other women with this same issue still been able to conceive? If the answer is yes, this article may shed some light.
Though there are issues that can restrict a woman’s ability to conceive, it is my opinion that more than half of those dealing with infertility issues today could turn things around with the information I’m going to share with you here. My partner, Sarah, and I have a 9-month old baby boy and I don’t think we would have been able to bring him into this world if we didn’t know the things that we know about how the human body works.
I say this because I want you to understand how important it is for me to share this knowledge. I don’t think every person needs to have children to be able to be happy and live a fulfilled life, but nothing I have done has ever made me as happy as that little guy makes me. If having children is important to you, I would be thrilled if anything I provide here helps you make that happen. Not only will you agree that nobody in the fertility industry is talking about what I will share in this article, but you will also agree that these insights make sense. Common sense often does that.
First, let’s lay a foundation of some of the basics that will make this easier to comprehend. To make a baby takes a lot of minerals and other types of nutrients. You know by now that babies aren’t just delivered by a stork; it takes resources to build a baby just like it takes resources to build anything. Would you try to build a house without any building materials? Would you start construction without any wood, nails, bricks, concrete or whatever else you were going to build your house out of? Of course not. Your housewarming party would just be a bunch of people standing in your yard eating egg salad while they talk about how you’ve lost your marbles. Just as when building a house, you need resources if you want to make a cute little human.
When a woman has horribly low resources, Mother Nature will often protect the would-be mother from troublesome issues by turning off the woman’s ability to have a baby… and the menstrual cycle stops until her resources and energy come back up. But we often punch Mother Nature in the face and work around her by using pharmaceutical hormones that keep the cycle “regular”. Even if you have enough resources for your period to be normal, you may not have enough resources to build an entire human and still allow your own human vessel to function correctly. The inability to conceive for some women can simply be their body’s way of taking care of itself and ensuring survival. Keep in mind that reproduction is not a priority for your human body to survive. So, if resources are limited, or if your body feels like it is already dealing with some other type of immediate threat or emergency, the reproductive process can be put on hold until the coast is clear, so to speak.
To help you understand issues that can result from low levels of minerals and other nutrients in the body, I need to preface this by explaining that a low level of resources is only one of the possible causes for most of these issues. For example, low resources can cause insomnia, but there are also other causes of insomnia. Here are some of the most common issues that can result from low resources in the body:
Dizzy spells or vertigo
Mental or emotional issues (including anything from being moody or short-fused, all the way up to full-blown schizophrenia)
Loss of menstrual cycle or infertility
Severe menstrual cramps
Cravings or binge eating
And even seizures.
Nobody experiences all of these problems, but low resources can manifest differently from person to person. Any of these issues could be a possible sign of low resources, but I prefer to see people look to their physiology for answers. Your resting blood pressure is an excellent indication of the level of minerals and other resources in your body. Blood pressure should be taken at least two hours after eating anything for the best insights. If blood pressure is low (if the top, systolic reading is under 112 or if the diastolic number is under 73), that can be a strong indication of low resources.
When blood pressure is low, this is often a reflection of low mineral content in the bloodstream. When the mineral levels decrease, it is a reflection of a decrease in your salts or the vascular system being too open (dilated). Our mineral content not only comes from actual salt, but from our food too. I will cover this in more depth later in this article, but if your digestion is not working properly, you can’t assimilate all the minerals from the food you’re eating and the mineral content in the system can decrease. There are a few other contributing factors that could possibly result in low blood pressure as well, but poor digestive function is the most common cause and often the easiest to correct.
Very few doctors will ever talk to you about your blood pressure being low. Since there is no drug labeled for low blood pressure, the ramifications are not in their training. We all know that high blood pressure can cause heart attacks and strokes (blowouts). When they say your blood pressure is great even though it’s too low, they’re saying that you’ll never have a blowout. But is it fun to run around on flat tires all day? An optimal blood pressure reading is said to be 120 over 80. So, if 140 over 90 is considered high blood pressure in the medical world, wouldn’t having those numbers off by the same amount in the other direction be regarded as low blood pressure? Shouldn’t a reading of 100 over 70 be considered low?
Depression, Anxiety and Emotional Issues
Since depression (especially postpartum depression), and other mental and emotional-type issues are so closely linked to pregnancy, I want to explain how these can happen. This is going to bring some of that common sense information into our conversation about fertility.
The minerals, or salts, in the system represent the conductivity, or ability for electricity to flow through the system. When the mineral content is low, there’s no spark; and energy can be low. Without this energy, the brain can’t function at its full potential, a result created by the lack of minerals required for signals to travel through. Many people with depression, and even other manifestations of “mental illness,” are often just cases where there is not enough mineral in the system. Low mineral levels often mean there’s not enough spark to give the brain what it needs to function correctly, or there is not enough mineral to control blood pH sufficiently. Of course, the ability to keep blood sugar on an even keel can be a big player in this regard also.
We seem to have the mindset that, if what we’re eating is providing us with enough energy to stand up and walk to our car, we have all the resources we need. But every task that our bodies handle needs resources to complete it. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids—they’re all important. The mineral in the system is very important because, without it, there is no way for signals to travel from the body to the brain. It’s like electricity in water. If you put an electrical current in water, you get shocked and it’s really not that fun. You get shocked because that water contains minerals; and that current can travel through the minerals. But if you put a current in distilled water, with no mineral in it, the current doesn’t travel. It’s the same way with the human brain. If signals can’t travel, the brain doesn’t work optimally and we feel depressed, tired or lethargic or, in the worst cases, maybe we think that we’re a fire truck. Almost all of the clients with depression issues who have come to me, or to any of my colleagues, have shown a low blood pressure reading (unless they are taking an antidepressant that is raising their blood pressure artificially). There are exceptions to every rule. I mean just the other day I saw a guy with a mullet that actually looked good, so there can be a first time for everything. But generally speaking, the majority of clients I see with depression symptoms have low blood pressure.
The brain needs fuel just like anything else. If your toaster isn’t working, what’s the first thing you check? You look to see if it’s plugged in. You don’t send your toaster to therapy or soak it in medication; you just look to see if it’s getting the juice it needs to function properly. I’m not saying that therapy can’t be beneficial for some people; I’m just saying that, when it comes to mechanical objects, we have the sense to look at a malfunction and try to figure out what is causing that object to function at a substandard level. However, when it comes to people, we don’t check to see if they have the resources for their “machine” to perform optimally. We just assume they must have daddy abandonment issues, or felt inadequate as a child because their brother was always the first one to find the prize in the bottom of the cereal box.
Depression is very common with pregnancy, and even more common after pregnancy. I bet it makes more sense now that you understand that a large percentage of that mother’s resources are going toward the task of building that little baby. It doesn’t matter how sweet, caring, generous or mentally stable a woman is, at some point while she’s pregnant, we all know she’s going to snap and we all know none of us will hold it against her. It’s common knowledge and we all accept it.
We also know that when your friend goes too long without eating (and creates a lack of resources), that friend will snap and become a totally different version of themselves…and not a pleasant version. There is a very famous candy bar campaign based around this phenomenon because we’ve all seen it or experienced it first hand. So, we know that people can have emotional issues when resources are low from not eating, but the medical world doesn’t seem to put two and two together and understand that the same result can come from low resources that are the result of a little baby stealing all of mommy’s gumption.
This also explains why pregnant women can have so many “loony” fits. We hear that this is due to all the crazy hormones flying around. I believe that could be true. However, couldn’t these crazy hormonal changes be the body’s way of trying to get everything to work correctly while a lack of resources exists? In this regard, couldn’t a lack of resources and hormonal changes be affecting those who are not pregnant as well? What if some people are creating emotional issues or restricting their ability to conceive by creating a nutrient deficiency with their extreme dieting techniques? Many may be creating these issues by just ignoring the task of taking care of the human body they live in. I have clients come to me all the time who will finally get around to eating a bag of corn chips around 2:30pm and won’t eat again until dinner, or they skip dinner altogether. Do you really expect your body (much less your brain) to function on so little fuel?
If you have children and you send them to school without lunch money and no breakfast, and they are gone from 7am to 2 o’clock in the afternoon without eating, that could be 18 hours without food, depending on when they ate the night before. Child welfare will come and take your children away from you because that’s flat out neglect. You wouldn’t expect a child to excel with that type of neglect, so why would you expect a different outcome from your own body?
Why Are My Resources Low?
One of the most common underlying causes for a woman to experience low blood pressure, possibly irregular periods, or to go months at a time without a period, is a lack of proper digestion. People often assume that if food is going in one end, and poop comes out the other, everything must be operating as planned. That is often not the case. Out of twenty clients who come to me, maybe one will have their digestion working correctly.
Believe it or not, your body can’t run on a peanut butter sandwich any more than your car can run on crude oil. Your body needs to break that sandwich down into vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids, etc.
When we eat, our stomachs make hydrochloric acid (HCL). This stomach acid, as it is often called, has a pH of around 0.8. The pH scale goes from zero to fourteen. Zero means acidity to the max. Fourteen means alkalinity to the max.
When contents of the stomach (what we eat and drink) are mixed with this stomach acid, that combination will ideally have a pH between 2.0 and 3.0, which is still very acidic. The acidic product created by mixing stomach acid with the food you eat then goes into the duodenum (first ten inches of the small intestine). The other half of the digestive process comes from the bile that is produced by your liver. (I say “half” loosely because there are other factors that contribute to digestion that are not important for this explanation. But for the most part, the main factors in digestion are the acid created in the stomach and the bile produced by the liver that is used to neutralize that stomach acid.) Between meals, bile is stored in the gallbladder where it is concentrated up to 18 times. When acid product from the stomach moves into the duodenum, bile from the gallbladder is dropped onto this acid product. In the same way that HCL is acidic, bile is alkaline (which is the opposite of acidic).
Bile meeting stomach acid is like dropping baking soda onto vinegar, just like at least one sixth grader does every year when he makes his version of a volcano for his science fair project. In fact, you should try that now. You don’t need to build the whole volcano, but you can put a little bowl in your kitchen sink, put a couple teaspoons of baking soda in the bowl, and then slowly pour in a little vinegar. You’ll hear a sizzle and see it start to foam up. C’mon, really do it! All the cool kids are doing it. It’s a great visualization of what can happen when two substances with opposite pHs meet.
This is the magic of digestion. When the body drops bile onto the contents that comes from the stomach, you get a sizzle, and this is what you’re living on. This is what makes everything that was in the food break apart and become available for your body to use. Without this sizzle, foods you eat can’t be assimilated. Nutrients and minerals can’t be properly extracted and utilized by your body if this action is missing. That’s why you hear so many people say, “Health is like a science fair project.” Okay, I’ve never heard anyone say that; but if you don’t have that sizzle in your digestion, you might as well be that 12-year-old holding the volcano with an “F” on it because the damn lava didn’t come out. You’ve got to have the sizzle.
If there isn’t enough stomach acid, there won’t be that sizzle. If there isn’t enough bile to drop down onto the food that was mixed with the stomach acid, there won’t be that sizzle. In order for digestion to work properly, every step of that process has to be active. Otherwise, instead of a sizzle, you get more of a fizzle; and you may break down just a very small portion of your food, or your food will partially break down by processes of rotting and fermenting. This rotting and fermenting creates chemical reactions and gases that can cause bloating, burping, nausea, bad breath, upset stomach, and all kinds of other non-fun stuff.
If you’re dealing with any of the following symptoms, odds are great that your digestion is not working optimally and you’re unable to pull all the nutrients, or resources, out of the food you’re eating:
Burping (I’m not talking about huge belches, even just little burps)
Heartburn or acid reflux
Acne or skin issues
Low blood pressure
Sugar or Salt Cravings
Seeing undigested food in your stool
Stool lighter than the color of cardboard
Because some of these issues are more commonly caused by a lack of stomach acid, while others are often caused by bile that is too thick and sticky to flow properly, a person can often get an idea of which side of the process they might want to try to improve to experience better digestion.
I cover how to improve digestion in all of my books, this podcast episode, and in our almost free, 4-week online digestion course. We made this as a free course for our book readers, but since our system requires a charge for all registrations (to keep out the spam), we put the cheapest price the system would allow; A whole 50 cents. In any case, digestion is the most crucial part of bringing in nutrients correctly. If you’re dealing with any of the above digestive symptoms, don’t skip this. If you do, you will be disappointed in your results.
Other Ways To Lift Resources
I’d like to share some other steps that can help lift resources as well. Just know that if you don’t fix digestive issues, nothing you do is likely to be very successful. It doesn’t matter what food you eat, if your body can’t break it down and assimilate it, it’s not going to do you much good. You have to get digestion working properly to fully benefit from what you’re eating. Nothing in this article is more important than this.
Unrefined Salt (Sea Salt)
For people who have low mineral content and low blood pressure, a quality sea salt can literally change their life. Sea salt is, in essence, minerals from the sea. It also contains a chloride ion that is necessary for your body to make its own HCL(stomach acid). Without this chloride ion, people can’t make enough HCL to properly digest their food.
Some people tell me that they don’t like salt. Usually this is because they have associated decreased health with using salt so they begin to avoid it. However, as your body realizes, “Hey, we can really use this stuff for a lot of functions,” your taste buds will change, you will begin to really like the taste and you’ll even crave it.
Our grandparents never wasted anything. When there was a chicken carcass left over, they threw it in a pot and cooked it slowly to make a delicious soup. It is this slow cooking in water that allows us to access all of the collagen and amino acid cofactors within those bones. Nutrients that are needed and very hard to access from other foods in today’s food sources. Making and drinking bone broth can be a great way to access these nutrients and consume them on a daily basis.
I use bone broth with all of my low blood pressure, electrolyte deficient clients. Next to fixing digestion and adding sea salt, it can be the most effective step for some people. Check out my Bone Broth Recipe HERE.
Eat More Nutrient-Rich Foods
In many cases, fertility is about making sure your body has the resources it needs to function optimally. Reducing the load of toxic food coming in, including more real foods, and improving digestion so you can pull more nutrients out of those foods is a great starting point. However, you can also try to include more foods that are generally packed with more nutrients (or may contain valuable nutrients that are hard to acquire from other sources).
Many of the popular “superfoods” are also super-sugar-transport systems. I prefer the foods that are simply packed with nutrients. Here are some top choices:
– Bone broth (homemade)
– Beef gelatin ( I use Great Lakes brand unflavored beef gelatin or collagen)
– Organ meats
– Dark leafy greens
– Egg yolks
– Raw, unsweetened cacao
Liver is difficult for many people to eat, but if you cut it up into little pieces, and mix it into a stir fry with some other type of meat, it’s not so bad. But Sarah grew tired of that trick as well so I also made her liver pills. To do this, you need to find a good source of organic, pasture raised beef or chicken liver. You then freeze it for 14 days. This is supposed to kill most organisms since you want to take the liver pills raw. You then cut them up into small pieces, the size of a pill, so you can just swallow them right before a meal and they can be included with whatever you are digesting for that meal.
Note: It’s easier to cut them up if they are still slightly frozen. I would also store them frozen after I cut them into the little pill shapes. Although the freezing process is supposed to kill any pathogens in the same way that cooking can, there are those who believe the freezing may only kill most pathogens. For this reason, I used this method before Sarah got pregnant, but once she became pregnant (since any type of food poisoning is a scary topic when pregnant), I did more cooked liver or freeze dried liver pills like Dr. Ron’s Ultra Pure grass fed liver pills.
Quality Prenatal Vitamin
A quality prenatal vitamin can be helpful, but the way a lot of experts talk about trying to conceive, they make it sound like you just need to pick up some prenatals and you’ll be golden. This move is rarely enough to turn infertility issues around, but can be a helpful piece to the puzzle. However, if you’re picking up your prenatals at your local drugstore, or even taking prescription prenatals, you might be doing it wrong. Not that I’m telling you to go against what your doctor is prescribing you, I’m not. But most prescription and store-bought prenatals are total crap. They are often filled with binders and other garbage you don’t need and these binders can make the nutrients found in these vitamins very hard to assimilate.
Most quality prenatal vitamins are sold only through qualified healthcare practitioners. My favorite brand is Pure Encapsulations, and I have also heard good things about Innate Response prenatals. Just be sure yours don’t include folic acid, like most prescription and store bought prenatals. Yes, you heard that correctly. I know every idiot on the planet says we need folic acid when pregnant, but folic acid has to be converted by the body to use any of it, and can just cause problems. It is more beneficial to take a folate form. With a folate form, you can get the benefits without the problems that seem to come along with folic acid.
Eat Real Food
If using nutrition to improve the functionality of your body is new in your world, and eating healthy in your head means to have some rice cakes and oatmeal, it might be time to make some adjustments to what you’re eating. Again, these adjustments won’t do much good if you don’t correct any digestive issues. Without doing so, these adjustments may even make you feel worse. If you can’t digest your food correctly, it’s easier to break down processed junk than it is to break down real food. So, be sure to fix any digestive issues and then you can work on making food choices that contain real nutrition. Squirt cheese does not contain the real nutrition that you’re looking for when you’re hoping to conceive.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to eat a strict paleo diet if they want to make a baby. But if you’ve been having trouble trying to get pregnant, you’re going to want to put everything you can in your favor. I would suggest Googling some paleo recipes and food lists and seeing if you can move at least 80% of your diet in that direction. If you experience any autoimmune type issues, or food sensitivity problems, once you fix digestion, you may need to go to 100% in the paleo direction. You can learn more about why and how by reading chapter nine of my book, Kick Your Fat in the Nuts. I’ve put that entire chapter online HERE so anyone can read it for free.
I know it can be hard to believe that alcohol can be problematic for someone having a hard time conceiving. After all, in high school, it didn’t seem like any of your friends ever got pregnant unless alcohol was involved. I also know that you’ve read that a little red wine when trying to conceive, or even while pregnant, is fine. Alcohol is not as restrictive if everything else in the body is working correctly. However, because of the load it can put on the liver, and the extreme spikes and crashes it can cause to blood sugar, my suggestion is to lose the alcohol while you’re trying to create a little human. When we talk about balancing blood sugar below, you will understand that alcohol can be much more harmful than you think. Just wait until your baby is a toddler. By then, you might really need a drink.
When I Say Stress, I Don’t Mean Traffic or Your Jerk-wad Boss
We always hear that stress is bad and we do a pretty good job of thinking, yeah, yeah, stress is bad, whatever. But when trying to conceive, you not only need to understand the physiological response your body has to stress, you need to understand the variety of ways stress can sneak into the picture.
When we are stressed, this can trigger the sympathetic (fight or flight) response of our autonomic nervous system. When this occurs, a bevy (first time I’ve used that word) of hormonal responses can kick in. Think about it. Your body’s stress response is designed to give you the immediate energy and other tools you might need to run away from danger or fight off a lion that is trying to make you its lunch. These responses are appropriate, and can even be life-saving, in those “stress” moments. But your body doesn’t know that you’re stressed because you’re stuck in traffic. Your body doesn’t know that jacking up adrenaline or turning other fuel into glucose and shoving it into the bloodstream is not going to reduce traffic and ease your stress. Your body just knows when you feel stressed and it responds in a manner that will aid in your survival to a threat.
Not only is this bad for a wide variety of health reasons, but when an immediate threat is presented, your body will always make that threat the priority over putting your body into a fertile state. Make sense? The stress hormone cortisol is actually made of the same stuff your sex hormones are made of. So, if cortisol is high, those materials are not be used to make the good stuff that will help you conceive. To the body, there is no reason to put resources toward reproduction if it feels that those resources could be better utilized toward immediate survival. A time of stress, is not a time for making babies. Your body actually has that sign on the wall of it’s break room so everyone can read it.
Here’s the tricky part. You don’t have to be stressed in your life, for your body to be stressed. Low resources is a HUGE reason for your body to be stressed. Imagine trying to pay $800 worth of bills with $16. That’s stressful. That’s how your body feels when it’s trying to run thousands of processes when there are not enough resources to do so. This can elevate stress hormones and push you into that fight or flight state. Some women stay in that state most of the time.
In this regard, not only is it important for you to find ways to simma down now, it’s also important to find ways to improve the level of minerals and nutrients that are coming into the body so the body has access to what it needs to do its job.
We’ve all heard stories of couples who stressed themselves out trying to conceive. They finally give in and decide to do IVF or adopt, and Bam…They get pregnant. Amazing things can happen in the body when stress levels of any kind can be reduced.
This is an unfortunate, but common mistake. Most women feel like if they can become more healthy, they’ll have a better chance of conceiving. Unfortunately, the mainstream’s view on how to become more healthy tends to be a little misguided. I believe exercise can be a fantastic part of improving your health. After all, I am a personal trainer and working out is a part of my weekly routine. However, working out takes resources, and if a woman with low resources is putting a high percentage of her reserves toward attending a Zumba class every night, that’s a mistake.
You’d be better off doing some walking while you work to improve your nutrient reserves. Save the intense workouts for a time when your body can benefit from the added stress. Yes, working out is a stress on the body. We benefit from the recovery from that stress, but if we don’t have the resources to handle that stress, we’re still trying to pay $800 worth of bills with $16. You’re doing more harm than good in this scenario. I have a client who worked out six days a week and came to me because she had experienced a series of miscarriages. Her resources were low, so as we worked to lift her resources, I asked her to reduce the number of days she worked out, and greatly reduce the intensity of her workouts. She did so and earlier this year she named her new baby girl Jessica.
I want you to do this. If this is a problem for you, there are very likely physiological issues creating insomnia problems. If that is the case for you, listen to our podcast episode on insomnia so you can get this fixed. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not allowing your body to rest and rebuild like it needs to. An unrested, dilapidated environment is not an environment where a growing baby can thrive.
Our liver is in charge of clearing junk and toxins out of the body. If your liver has been a little beat up (maybe you’ve been on some medications or maybe your bile wasn’t flowing properly so the main exit strategy was not functioning correctly), you may be dealing with a toxic environment. Well, a toxic environment is a stress to the body. In my opinion, digestion and liver function are the two most important factors when it comes to health.
In our almost free, online 4-week digestion course we teach you how to run simple tests on your body chemistry, that you can do at home, with tools you can pick up at most pharmacies or health food stores. Some of these tests can give you a good idea of how your liver is handling its affairs. But if liver health is number two on the list of priorities, hopefully you’ll be willing to do enough work to make it to #2 on your todo list. It’s a big deal.
Stabilizing Blood Sugar
When blood sugar dips too low, this can be a huge stress to the body. Enough of a stress that the body may opt to turn protein into glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis. The body may even opt to break down muscle tissue and turn that into glucose. Glucose is that important. However, when glucose dips too low, the body also has the option to buffer those low sugars with minerals and allow many functions to continue operating correctly. If someone’s mineral levels are low, that buffering system may not exist. Therefore, every time blood sugar goes low, it becomes an emergency to the body. We already know that the stress of an emergency is not the environment where fertilization thrives.
In our books and courses we teach how to assess if you may be dealing with some issues that can exacerbate blood sugar crashes and how to improve them. But one step you can take right away is to reduce your high carb starches and sugars that can spike and crash blood sugar levels, and replace them with more stable sources of carbohydrates. When mineral levels are low, it’s not a good idea to remove all carbs because you don’t have the minerals to buffer the low blood sugar. But you can eat foods with medium levels of carbs, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and berries. These foods can provide you with the carbs you may need without spiking and crashing blood sugar like bread, pasta, alcohol (and other forms of liquid sugars) and baked goods can.
If you’ve lost your period, or you cycle is abnormal or sporadic, I’m hoping this might make more sense to you now. Poor digestion and a lack of resources is the most common cause of amenorrhea. We are taught that menopause is all about these crazy hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body when she reaches a certain point in her life, as if there is this clock in her body that’s been waiting fifty years to go off; and once it does, all hell breaks loose. Hormones run amok, the menstrual cycle begins to go haywire, and “Why does my face feel like I’m on fire for forty seconds at a time?” Many women are advised to start cramming hormones into their bodies in order to “correct” this hormonal imbalance that comes with age. Why don’t we ever stop to think that there might be a reason that these hormone levels are going crazy? Doesn’t it make sense that, if the body is no longer receiving enough minerals and other nutrients it needs to function correctly, it might try to fix things on its own by inappropriately raising hormone levels in a last-ditch effort to keep the body in a reproductive state? Once the body has tried every trick it has, the cycle will shut down and that individual will no longer have the ability to produce a child. This can be why many women enter menopause earlier than expected. For others, they seem to simply lose their period for long stretches at a time, even years.
That probably makes sense to you now that you’ve learned how digestion is what allows us to take the food we consume and turn it into life-sustaining resources. Once a woman can fully break down her food and pull the needed minerals out of what she’s eating, her period commonly comes back. I’ve had a number of postmenopausal clients who have had their period come back once they fixed digestion. They were not happy about this, but I viewed it as a trophy because we know we fixed some major problems. The body once again felt like things were going well enough that this person could reproduce. It’s an excellent confirmation to help us understand how important proper digestion is when it comes to fertility.
Do I Need to do IVF?
I won’t say I’m completely against IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). If it’s your only option, and having a baby is important to you, I would understand doing whatever you can to make that happen. I just feel like it’s a great way to set yourself up for trouble if you don’t handle these other issues first.
IVF is the process of removing a woman’s egg, fertilizing it manually with sperm in a petri dish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus. Well, if your body has been trying to save you from the trouble that could come from a little hitchhiker stealing all your nutrients, don’t you think forcing this process to happen anyway could cause some problems? In this scenario, don’t you think that if your life was a horror film, everyone in the audience would be screaming for you not to go in the barn?
This study HERE determined that woman who conceived using assisted reproductive technology, like IVF, experienced higher levels of depression, both in the third trimester and postpartum. The study almost made it sound like the IVF caused more stress and made the mothers more vulnerable to depressive states. I don’t see it this way at all. If we understand that low resources can often be a contributing factor to depression, and if we also believe that many women dealing with infertility issues are also dealing with low resources, it makes sense that a higher number of IVF patients would result with higher levels of depression. Who’s going to opt for an expensive IVF treatment if they can conceive naturally? From this we can assume that many of the women opting for IVF would have started off with low resources before the treatment, and a successful pregnancy would likely reduce those resources further.
Again, I’m not saying IVF is the wrong choice, I just think that it might be a good idea to first look at your physiology, get an idea of how your resources are looking, and do the work to improve that situation if they appear to be low. After you do the work to improve how your body is functioning, if you get pregnant naturally, great. If not, at least your body could be in a more favorable state if you do decide to do IVF.
The Timing of Ovulation
The timing of conception is often the first factor that women look at when concern about infertility begins to set in. The timing truly is crucial and is part of the science, but I don’t feel like it’s the problem in most cases. Still, we need to cover a few things to make sure you’re not climbing down the wrong rabbit hole.
In a woman’s monthly cycle, there really are only about five days that she can successfully conceive. Those five days are right around ovulation. But if you’re using an app or a calendar to track, and your period is not always predictable, it may be hard to get a good grasp of when you’ll be ovulating. I suggest researching how to check and track cervical mucous to get the best idea of when ovulation may be approaching. The old belief that it’s always day fourteen is no longer believed to be accurate for many women. Checking and tracking cervical mucous seems to be the most accurate technique.
If you’re tracking basal body temperature, and waiting to see that rise that indicates you’re ovulating, you may be using a marker that is too late. The rise in temperature is not an indication that ovulation is about to happen, the rise in temperature is a response to hormonal activity that occurs as a result of ovulation. The problem is, the egg dies after 12-24 hours. If the egg is not fertilized in that time, it just gets reabsorbed. Therefore, since sperm can live for 5-7 days, it appears that the optimal time to have sex is actually the day before ovulation. There are some who feel it is more beneficial to have sperm already there waiting to pounce on the egg. However, since it can be difficult to know when you’re going to ovulate, it may be a good idea to have sex every other day during that week when you think ovulation will occur, especially on the days leading up to ovulation. That seems to give the best chance of conception.
Again, I don’t feel like the timing of sex is the problem in a high percentage of cases where couples are having a hard time conceiving. I think the lack of resources is a much more common cause. Still, you can see that if someone was always waiting until they ovulated to have sex, it could be restricting their chances.
Is There Hope For Me?
I believe, in most cases, there is hope. Unfortunately, not every woman on the planet will have the ability to give birth to a child. However, if you’ve been struggling with conceiving, and your physiology shows that you may have limited resources, or maybe you know that you frequently deal with any of the digestive symptoms that we talked about in this article, then yes… I believe there is hope for you. If your blood pressure is often low, or if there are signs that your digestion is not pulling enough resources out of the food you’re eating, I believe you can make changes to turn that around.
It can be a lot of work, but haven’t you put in a lot of work to try and make this happen already? I don’t think you’re afraid of a little work. The best place to start might be to listen to our free 2-part podcast episode on Digestive Issues. Or, you might want to find a friend who has a blood pressure cuff (or just pick one up at any pharmacy for around $40), and check your reading at least two hours after eating anything (but not fasting first thing in the morning). If you need help understanding how to run any of the simple self-tests, like blood pressure, take our almost free 4-week digestion course online. In that course you’ll find videos showing you how to look at your chemistry, and a link to a free and private Facebook support group where you can ask questions if you get stuck.
Just don’t give up without first looking at your own body. The medical world doesn’t even acknowledge that it takes a lot of resources to build another human, so don’t take the opinion of anyone in the medical world as law if you haven’t first at least looked at your own physiology. If infertility makes sense for your body chemistry due to the lack of resources, you might be able to do something about that.
I hope I get to hear from you at some point down the road, and maybe even open an email with a picture of your precious little one inside. If I do, I promise that will be the best part of my day. Here is a picture of the best part of my days. Sarah and I didn’t get pregnant when we first tried, but once we spent some time building up her resources, Jax seemed to show up very quickly… and life has never been the same.
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