I was delighted to be interviewed by fertility nutritionist Sandra Greenbank for her fantastic Fertility Foundations podcast. In this episode I talk to Sandra about my fertility journey and what I would have liked to have told my younger self, including my top tips for those going through infertility. Here are some of the tips I offer in my interview, for the full story and more advice have a listen.
My Top Fertility Tips
1. Give yourself time - whether you are trying naturally or through fertility treatment it’s important to know that it actually takes 12 months to make a baby; 3 months to prepare a healthy batch of sperm and mature an egg, and 9 months carrying the baby. Therefore, it is important to plan this time. If you were getting married you would allow yourself time to plan a wedding. Often people would not think twice about planning a wedding at least a year in advance so why not also invest time in making a baby. After all it’s just as, if not more, important (in my opinion)!
2. Look at your diet - it’s not just about what we should avoid when planning a pregnancy such as alcohol, caffeine and sugar. It is also about what we add to our diet. Although it’s important to remove or cut down on certain foods that affect egg and sperm quality it’s equally important to make sure that you are adding in the right nutrients and not depriving yourself. Nourish yourself and your partner too!
3. Do it together and support each other - a lot of emphasis is put on the woman when it comes to fertility. Often, if there are any problems, it is the woman that has the most tests and investigations. However, in 30-40% of cases the cause of infertility can be male factor so it is important you both work on this. When I see my fertility clients I encourage both partners to see me together for this very reason.
4. Don’t go it alone – there is so much information out there it can be quite confusing and daunting, making it difficult to make changes on your own. Getting support from a nutritional therapist means you are doing it safely and getting the right nutrients that your body and future baby needs. This includes looking at your lifestyle and making sure that that is conducive to making and carrying a healthy baby.
Sometimes when you are going through fertility treatment there is a feeling of a lack of control. If you can be doing something for yourself, like working on your nutrition, you might feel that you have some control back. Attending a support group for people going through infertility can be extremely helpful. A safe environment where you can talk about what you are going through, with like minded people, and relate to each other’s situation. The Fertility Network UK is a useful resource that offers support groups.
5. Get to know your body and look out for signs that something might not be right - your hormone function is a good marker of your overall health. If things are running fairly smoothly i.e. not too many premenstrual symptoms, your periods are not painful, irregular or absent, then it is quite a good sign that other things are in a good state in your body.
If you are on the contraceptive pill, however, you are unlikely to know what your normal cycle is like, especially if you have been taking it for many years. Even if your period was regular and fairly uneventful before you started taking it, it will take time for your body to recover and have healthy menstrual cycles after you stop the pill. The pill is often used to manage menstrual problems, but in doing so we are denying our natural hormonal rhythm and confusing the messages our sex hormones are trying to convey.
If you have any digestive symptoms such as, bloating, gas, pain, constipation or diarrhoea, start working on this now, or get some help. These are all signs that your body may not be working optimally. We need to be in optimal health before we start trying for a baby. After all the aim is not just to get pregnant and have a baby but to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
My infertility was something that I found really hard to talk about at the time and I'm sure there are people going it through it now that may feel the same. My experience, however, led me to my career as a Nutritional Therapist specialising in couples fertility and women's health. My mission now is to help couples get pregnant and realise their dream of starting a family.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The link to listen to the podcast is here, if you like the episode please share it with anyone you know that might find it useful.
If you would like some personalised support with your fertility, contact me to find out about my 12 week Boost Your Fertility programme. Book your free discovery call to find out how I can help you.
Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy is not a replacement for medical advice, practitioners always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. The information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions.