One of my students was coming off the Pill and was trying to get pregnant. She is 31 years old and was trying for a few months. We went through Fertility Awareness, made sure she knows how to identify her fertile wave and after a few months there was still nothing. One of the things she told me was that if she has known it would take so long, she would have started working on it sooner. She also said that because everyone tells you to be careful to not get pregnant, you get so scared of this that you are in so much shock when in fact it is not that easy for some. We had a long conversation about which conditions you need to get pregnant. Some we can see and check ourselves but others we cannot. There are a few things we can do to help. What we can see and track:
- A healthy cycle in terms of its length: that is not too short, let’s say 19 days, and while you can get pregnant with really long cycles, it is definitely not optimal. There are people with hormonal conditions such as PCOS whos cycles are long or those with just long cycles, longer than 34 days, which indicates that something might be a bit off in their hormones.
- A healthy follicular phase: a long follicular phase can indicate that there might be some hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance. The same applies to a very short cycle. During the follicular phase, ideally, we need to have healthy, quality cervical fluid that changes during the course of our fertile wave leading to ovulation. Cervical fluid plays a great role in helping sperm to reach the egg.
- Ovulation: a critical thing to get pregnant is our body’s ability to ovulate. During the follicular phase, follicles start to mature and eventually one follicle will grow enough and manage to mature an egg. This process requires so much energy that the follicle that will release the egg will have more energy supply than any other cells in our body including the liver or heart. This is an interesting fact they get more mitochondria as the follicle approaches ovulation!
- A healthy luteal phase: just after ovulation, once the corpus luteum forms and starts secreting progesterone, the luteal phase begins. It ideally needs to be 12 – 16 days for optimal health and at least 10 days in order to allow progesterone to do its job as it sustains the endometrium lining, makes it thicker and causes progressive structural changes in the lining to allow implantation.
- Period: this can give us some indication about how healthy the endometrium is, the colour of the blood, whether there are clots or not and other aspects of the period which gives us some indication about our hormones.
- Another interesting fact will be your uterus. Sometimes it is a bit out of place and Arvigo Massage, sadly not done in SA, can really help there.
- Gut and liver health are also extremely important as it contributes to so many, if not all, body function as well as emotional health.
- Egg health: this is one of the things we cannot know and we cannot check but we can do many things to make sure they are in good health and to boost their quality.
- Sperm health: we must not forget that it is not all about us! The good news is that the things we do to improve egg health can help sperm health too.
We want to make sure they are all in an optimal state or closer to that for a healthy pregnancy that will give the best conditions for an embryo to survive and become a healthy baby.
You see, there are so many things! For every couple thinking of having a baby, I would recommend taking 3 – 4 months and work on their health before starting to try. If one is on the Pill, it is better to stop and work on personal health first until we see that the hormones are well balanced and then try.