If you search the web for information about fertility, you’ll see ads to test your own levels, then you’ll see lists of foods that “boost fertility.” Ask a doctor and they’ll tell you all about fertility procedures like IVF (in vitro fertilization), or hormone therapy to boost your fertility medically.
And then, if you are “unsuccessful” in conceiving after trying for 1 year, you’re medically considered to have fertility issues. You’re then subjected to medical tests to determine what’s “wrong” with you.
Luckily, we have more control over our fertility than some might think. The way we structure our lives plays a major role in the body’s ability to create the optimal environment for a fertilized egg to thrive and grow.
So what really impacts fertility? And what can we do to actually improve our chances of conceiving, and then carrying a healthy pregnancy to term?
Well first, there’s this thing called stress — maybe you’ve heard of it. It probably has the most profound impact on fertility out of all the factors we could ever consider. Mainstream resources may not agree with that sentiment for a number of reasons, but they can’t deny that stress causes massive inflammation in the body. Physical stress can be caused by chronic inflammation, disease, alcohol use/abuse, smoking, cancer, and more. Emotional stress can be caused by an abusive relationship, lack of fulfillment, trauma, and more. Resources like the Mayo Clinic will even admit that inflammation creates an environment unsuitable for either the fertilization of an egg, or for that fertilized egg to then develop.
So how can we combat all that stress and improve our natural fertility?
Taking control of our lives through education and then activism will reduce stress and improve reproductive functionality.
First, learning more about your individual cycle can be the most impactful piece of your fertility journey. After all, there’s only 4-6 days out of each cycle that you can get pregnant. Understanding your own cycle can give you insight into any changes or abnormalities that can impact your ability to conceive in that cycle; when you are ovulating; and when the best time to try to conceive is for you.
Then, you must take positive steps toward reducing stress. A good place to start is by eliminating foods from your diet that inflame your body and trigger stress responses. Incorporating more support for your parasympathetic nervous system also plays a huge role here: mindfulness like breath work, intentional time to disconnect from technology, and finding something each day that allows you to experience some joy are all some of the more fun things you can do to support your nervous system. You can also improve your sleep quality, quit over exercising or under-eating, and change your daily environments to be more conducive to peacefulness.
So if we look at the issue of infertility through a holistic lens (why wouldn’t we, you’re a whole person, right?), it turns out that stress really might play more of a role than we initially thought. And that knowledge can be incredibly empowering if you’ve struggled with fertility in your own journey to conceive.
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