Dawna Ara, L.Ac.

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Natural Fertility Support for Both Men and Women

Ready to start a family but not sure what your first step should be?

By now I’m sure you know all about the birds and the bees but there may be a few minor details that were left out of the story.

Here are a few things that couples can do on their own to prepare their bodies for optimal fertility.

For Both Women and Men

Relax

De-stress de-stress de-stress! I can’t stress this enough. Modern research has found that when we are stressed our bodies switch into something that is called fight or flight mode. When this happens our intelligent body shuts down normal body functions in order to focus on the immediate stressor.

This brilliant work of nature was extremely important to our ancestors. After all, when you come across a saber tooth tiger, you didn’t need to spend energy having sex and making babies. You needed to spend your energy running! Believe it or not, working long hours, stressing about deadlines, driving in traffic, rushing everywhere, worrying about finances and things out of your control places an enormous amount of stress on your body and puts you into a chronic state of stress. Your body doesn’t want the added tax of getting pregnant and nourishing a fetus, it wants to survive. You might as well run straight into that saber tooth’s mouth!

So how do we relax? We relax by quieting our minds. Whatever it takes for you to feel a sense of calm and safety in this world. For some of you it might be as easy as taking deep breaths, watching a funny light hearted movie, getting a massage once a week, laughing, going for walks, or having dinner with a friend. For others we may need to learn how to meditate or start a yoga, tai chi, or qi gong practice. However stressful your life is, you have to balance it with an equal amount of relaxation.

Exercise

It’s a good idea to get into a regular exercise routine but just like everything else I suggest here, don’t over do it. Exercise increases blood and oxygen circulation throughout the entire body including reproductive organs. It also helps detoxify and relax your mind and body.

Eat well

Quite simply, focus on a diet high in vegetables, protein, fruit, and low in processed and packaged foods. Eat organic and hormone free as much as possible. Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, nutrisweet, and sweet & low. Cut out alcohol and caffeine.

Quit smoking

Just do it. Smoking is so bad for your health and those around you. It can also cause developmental problems in your little one so kick the habit now before you start trying to have a baby.

Avoid lubricants during sex

Chemical lubricants, lotions, and saliva are known to kill or stop sperm from moving up to the uterus. Using natural oils like olive or safflower are ok.

Missionary is best

Well, in terms of fertility, this is the best position. The sperm do not have to fight against gravity when swimming to find the egg. It’s also recommended that you (the lady) remain laying in the same position for 20 minutes after being intimate. This gives the sperm plenty of time to swim though the cervical opening.

For Women

Aim for a healthy weight

Fat cells produce hormones that can interfere with your delicate endocrine system. Too much fat on your body will cause an excess in estrogen, while too little may stop ovulation. Normalize your weight by following the recommendations above and keeping a balanced lifestyle.

Keep track of your menstrual cycle

Knowing when you ovulate can mean the difference between pregnancy and no pregnancy. An optimal menstrual cycle is 28 days in length. Ovulation usually but not always happens at the halfway point around day 14, but do not assume you are ovulating around day 14. I have seen women ovulate as early as day 9 and as late as day 22. It is very important to be intimate with your partner a couple days before and during ovulation. If you are intimate too early or too late you will miss your fertility window. To find out when you ovulate you can check for changes in your cervical mucus. Fertile cervical mucus has the consistency of raw egg whites and is stretchy and clear. You can also and take your Basal Body Temperature BBT as soon as you wake up or you can purchase an ovulation kit from any drug store.

Take prenatal vitamins and supplements

There are a variety of prenatal supplements on the market. Make sure you are taking one with B complex that includes PABA and folate, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, choline, and inositol. I also recommend taking essential fatty acids like fish oil with DHA, probiotics, CoQ10 for those under 30 or ubiquinol if you are over 30. Taking these will not only be good for you but good for your developing baby. Chinese herbs will also benefit and help to regulate your cycle.

Get a checkup

Make an appointment with your OBGYN to get an examination. You may find out you have a complication that can hinder your chances of becoming pregnant. It’s good to know this now so you can take care of it before you spend a year trying to conceive.

For Men

Choose boxers over briefs

The testicles help to regulate sperm temperature. Wearing underwear that is tight may keep them too warm. Loose fitting underwear like boxers are ideal.

Supplements for men

Choose a multivitamin that includes vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium. Also be sure to take amino acids like L-arginine and L-carnitine as well as omega 3 with DHA.

Happy Baby Making!

About Dawna Ara
Dawna is an acupuncturist, herbalist, functional medicine practitioner, a mom, wife, writer, nature lover, chef and whole foods advocate. She teaches how to live a healthy lifestyle through her website Eat Play Work Sleep.