I was in high school when my mother told me that she was pregnant. You should have seen the look on my face. At 15 years old, the thought of my parents still having sex was gross. I couldn’t believe they were still “doing it.” I wasn’t at all thrilled with the idea of a new addition to our family and couldn’t understand why my parents decided to have another child. Weren’t they supposed to be planning their retirement in Florida?
Why in the world did they want to do it all over again?
But they did. My mother wanted a baby so badly, and she visualized having another child every single day. My dad was a big Wayne Dyer fan and he visualized a happy wife – hence a pregnant one.
I remember hearing the news that my mother was in labor. Excited for the first time in nine months, I rushed to the hospital to meet my new beautiful baby sister. She was so precious. So small. So real. From that day on, I couldn’t get enough of her. I wanted to hold her every chance I could get. I played with her, made her laugh, fed her, and bathed her. I did it all, and I couldn’t be happier!
Until, 10 months later… When my mother told me that she was pregnant again.
I couldn’t believe it! I thought to myself that this had to be a mistake. How could she even get pregnant!? She was 42 years old, she was breastfeeding my baby sister, she had her tubes previously tied (and later untied), and she had an IUD, which is apparently close to 100% effective against pregnancy.
Her doctor was shocked. My dad almost passed out. And all I could think about was telling my friends in high school that my mother was pregnant….AGAIN!
The doctors told my mother that she should abort as the baby had less than 1% chance of being born healthy. 1% – that’s pretty scary, but my mother was strong. She decided to have the baby regardless of what the doctors advised her to do. The moment she found out that she was pregnant, she told me, “this baby is a gift and everything will be okay.”
She was right. 9 months later, our second angel was born – another beautiful healthy baby girl!
My mother was one fertile woman and until Naturopathic school, I had never heard of fertility issues. Women having trouble conceiving was news to me. My mother wasn’t doing any of the things she was supposed to be doing to improve her egg quality and increase her chances of conceiving. I never saw her make a green smoothie or take omega-3 fish oils. How in the world did she naturally get pregnant in her 40’s – twice!?
I believe there are five fundamental things that every woman should do if she wants to boost her fertility and increase her chances of getting pregnant, naturally. And, my mother was doing all five.
5 Step Plan to Conception All Women Need to Know
1. Think Positively
My mother was a believer. She wanted a baby more than anything and she didn’t spend her day doubting her ability to get pregnant. She didn’t focus on her fears, her doubts, and her age. I remember her spending a lot of time alone – praying, asking, and connecting with her feminine energy. She didn’t get caught up on little things. She focused on the bigger picture. She focused on what she wanted – to have a baby – and every moment she had, she visualized this.
My advice? Let go of negative thoughts that no longer serve you. Put your energy into creating your vision of having a family one day. Make sure you are focusing on what you want and CAN have, not what you can’t.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
There was no Kraft Dinner or Campbell’s soup in our house –actually, that’s a lie. There was, but my mother wasn’t eating it. She would eat organic vegetables from her garden, bake her own bread, and eat eggs that our chickens lay that same morning. No lie – we had a chicken farm and would have fresh hormone-free eggs every morning. My mother wasn’t lazy and she cared about the foods that she put into her body. She enjoyed the taste of fresh, home cooked food and never liked restaurant food. She always said that even “healthy” restaurant food may have not-so-healthy ingredients.
My mother didn’t stop at Starbucks every morning to have a 620 calorie white mocha. She didn’t grab a muffin from Tim Hortons at 3pm or snack on sugary granola bars at her desk (in case you didn’t know, most granola bars get two thumbs down from me).
What you eat counts and consuming a diet that is rich in processed sugars and additives will affect the quality of your eggs. Choose natural whole foods as much as possible and stay away from packaged foods that lack nutrients. Balancing blood sugars is important and sugar spikes will affect your hormones. Choose foods that are high in protein and healthy fats rather than simple refined carbohydrates. These will help stabilize your blood sugars and avoid rapid spikes in the hormone insulin.
3. Avoid Chemicals
There were no chemical cleaning products in our house. My mom was a firm believer that chemicals were bad bad bad. She saw no point in using toxic household cleaning products when lemon, baking soda, and vinegar could do the job just as well, if not better. She also wasn’t into fancy perfumes, makeup or body creams. She’s a pretty simple lady and didn’t like to expose herself to chemicals if she didn’t have to.
We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis – in our food, environment, and personal care products. If we can control and avoid certain chemicals, we should. The baby steps that we take to protect ourselves, make a big difference at the end of 1 year, 10 years, and 20 years. Think about using a body cream (that’s packed with chemicals, especially endocrine disruptors like parabens) twice per day for 20 years. If your skin absorbs everything that you put on it, can you imagine the chemicals that have seeped through your skin after 20 years of daily use?
Parabens act like estrogen in your body and can throw your hormones off balance. They may affect sperm production in men and impact male fertility. When you’re trying to get pregnant, parabens are definitely not your friend. Make small changes daily – you don’t have to change everything over night, but baby steps will make a big difference.
4. Rest Well
If you’re like most people these days, you’re constantly glued to your cell phone or laptop. There’s very little time away from electronic devices and many women take their gadgets into the bedroom, especially if they have a hard time falling asleep. It only makes sense to scroll through your iPad until you get drowsy, right? Wrong!
The light that women expose themselves to before bed can greatly affect their hormones, particularly melatonin. Rest is so important. Take time before bed to have a bath, light a candle, listen to some soft music, and relax. You can’t expect to have a restful night if you stimulate your brain with light and electromagnetic radiation up until you close your eyes. Turn off your brain at least one hour before bed. You’ll have more restful sleep, which will help your hormones, your mood, and your fertility.
My mother was a great sleeper. When it was time for lights out, there was no television or Internet browsing. It was time to connect with yourself. She always created a great sleeping space – no light, no electronics, and no tension. Always go to bed with a smile and tell your loved ones that you love them. That was her motto.
5. Mind/Body Detox
This is the single most important step that you’ll need to take in order to increase your chances of conceiving, since the liver is one of the most important organs involved in reproduction and fertility. This means – no alcohol, no coffee (or at least have a maximum of one cup per day), no harsh stimulants, no gluten, no dairy, and no sugar – only natural whole foods. Not forever, just for 21 days. This gives your body enough time to detox, start to re-balance, and prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
Supporting your major detoxification organ – your liver – is vital as it processes virtually everything that you put on your skin and into your mouth. By improving the health of your liver, you will normalize your menstrual cycle, reduce PMS symptoms, and most importantly, balance your hormones.
Since toxins are passed from mom to the developing fetus and also through breastfeeding, it is important to do a detox prior to becoming pregnant. A detox involves pressing the reset button to kick start healthy eating habits and self-care.
Gastrointestinal health also plays a vital role in fertility as nutrient absorption is key.
With a sluggish, unhealthy digestive system, nutrients are not always absorbed and chances of conceiving are significantly reduced.
And, not all detoxes are created equal. The type of detox program that you do matters. Liquid-only detox programs can cause a surge of toxins to be released too quickly and are often harsh on the body. It is important to continue eating a healthy diet (no fasting or lemonade cleanses) during detoxification to ensure you are supporting your body nutritionally and are gradually releasing toxins. The LoseIT Tea detox is an effective, gentle way to remove toxins and improve your chances of conceiving. You’ll receive healthy recipes, organic detoxifying herbs, and as a bonus, you’ll receive my personal support for the full 21 day program. How awesome is that?
A detox is not just about avoiding processed foods and going off coffee. Take a few weeks to not only nurture your body with natural whole foods, but to also support your emotional health and well-being. Slow down, have positive conversations with your friends, and do things that you enjoy. Attend a yoga class in your community or practice yoga in the comfort of your own home.
Yoga will not only help reduce stress in your body, it will calm your nervous system and boost your fertility. Regular yoga helps women focus on deep relaxation, breathing, and connecting with their feminine energy. Not only that, various poses can support ovulation and enhance implantation.
I’d like to end with this. My mother is a woman who I admire. She is strong. She is understanding. And, she is a believer. She has shown me that no matter what, you can get what you want if you believe. She has shown me that it is possible to make your dreams a reality, regardless of what lab tests, doctors, or others may tell you.
Forget all the reasons you’ve been given telling you that you “can’t” get pregnant like your age or unbalanced hormones, and focus on the one reason why you will – because you’re committed to having a baby and you believe it will happen.