Diet, and Vitamins, and Exercise - oh my!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Over the last few days, I've been doing some research on my own and talking with my husband about our 'trying to conceive game plan.' I've been off The Pill for six months and my cycles still seem to be sporadic and long (40-60+ days), so I think it's time to do something different. I feel like birth control has really messed with my body and caused my hormones to be off balance. [We've decided that I'll never take hormonal birth control again for various reasons, but we'll save that for another post.] I checked my cervical mucus throughout this last cycle and never had egg white consistency, so I've concluded that I'm either not ovulating or I'm not producing enough quality CM. If I go to a fertility specialist, I know that they'll one, ask me to chart, and two, want to put me on Clomid or something similar to shorten my cycles, which I'm not comfortable with right now. I have faith in my body and I feel like I'll be able to conceive naturally, but if six more months pass and we're still having issues, I'll be open to medical intervention. For now, I'd like to focus on fixing the issue that's causing long cycles and a lack of CM rather than forcing my body to do those things through drugs. I did a bit of research and I've come up with a plan that I'm going to stick with throughout the next three cycles. If we're still not successful after three cycles, I'm going to start charting, so that I'll be more prepared if I have to see a specialist at the year mark. So here it is:

1. I'm going to revamp my diet. I normally eat fairly healthy compared to most people, but I'm going to deliberately focus on getting certain things into my diet each day, such as:
- slowly digestible carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, etc. - no white rice, no white bread or pastries, and no potatoes. Your ovaries are very sensitive to insulin spikes, so I'm also keeping my processed sugar intake low.
- healthy fats, from foods like avocados, nuts, and stable oils like olive and coconut.
- more plant-based proteins, rather than animal-based proteins, like beans, peas, and nuts.
- whole fat dairy products, like whole milk rather than skim milk and whole milk yogurt rather than low fat yogurt. If a woman doesn't have enough stored energy from fat, her body will either not ovulate or not be able to sustain a pregnancy, resulting in an early miscarriage. The recommended amount is three servings per day, which will also give me plenty of calcium.
- dark green vegetables, like spinach, chard, kale, etc. This is the hardest thing for me to get into the habit of eating. I like dark green vegetables, but I also love all other vegetables, and you can only eat so much in one day. I've found that the two easiest ways to incorporate these into my diet is to add some spinach to a salad or smoothie, or drink a green juice each day. I don't have a juicer, so I buy Odwalla Original Superfood. It's actually really tasty, but it isn't organic and it's a bit expensive. I only drink about 6 ounces, so I make one small bottle last me two days to cut down on the expense.
- flax seed. It's a good source of omega-3's. I just add two tablespoons to my daily smoothie.
- plenty of fruits and vegetables. I eat fresh fruit in the morning with breakfast, have a smoothie [two servings of fruit, one serving of vegetables, one serving of whole fat dairy when using yogurt] for a snack, drink a serving of green juice, eat a salad for lunch everyday, and most of the time I have a vegetable with dinner and piece of fruit for dessert. If you plan your meals around fruits and vegetables rather than meats and starches, it becomes much easier to incorporate it all into your diet.
- enough water. My goal is to drink 60 ounces of water each day, which is pretty challenging, but I've figured out various ways to meet my goal. I drink a glass of water in the morning before I eat or drink anything else. I've found that kind of sets the stage for the rest of the day and gives me a craving for water. I've also started adding a little fresh lemon or lime juice, and I plan on trying mint as well. Since I've been doing this, I feel so much better. I have more energy, better digestion, and clearer skin.

2. I'm going to be more committed to taking my prenatals. I let it slip my mind a lot, so I've set two alarms to remind me to take them. I'm also going to try using Fertility Blend Vitamins to naturally shorten and regulate my cycles. The reviews on Amazon were pretty promising, so I went into GNC today and ordered some. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll notice a difference and won't have to see a fertility doctor or take Clomid.

3. I'm going to keep exercising regularly. I've been walking and jogging a few miles at the track three times a week for the past few weeks, and I plan on sticking with it. I'm also going to try doing Fertility Yoga at home in the next few weeks and see how I feel.

So, there you go - diet, vitamins, exercise. . . pretty simple, right? I have a few other things I plan on trying if I don't sense a difference after sticking with this routine for the next three months, but I don't want to try too many things at once, so we'll see how this goes.
I guess number four should be lots of prayer - that's been the only thing keeping me sane.

Are you currently trying to conceive? How long have you been trying?

For those of you who are already pregnant, how long did it take? What did you do to prepare yourself physically for pregnancy? If you struggled with infertility, what ended up working for you?


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