By Kristin Ohlson, Experience Life
You’ve been trying to start a family without success for the past year or more, you’re not alone. As many as one in 10 Americans will experience infertility, according to RESOLVE, a national infertility association. While the causes are not completely understood, research suggests contributing factors may include poor nutrition, environmental agents and stress — symptoms common to other health issues. The fact that many women are waiting longer to start families also plays a role.
The good news is that there are a number of natural, noninvasive options for treating infertility, and embracing them can often help improve general well-being and vitality.
If you’ve been struggling for a while to get pregnant, seek medical testing to rule out any physical impediments, like blocked tubes. In the meantime, consider working with a healthcare professional who takes an integrative approach to infertility.
Instead of focusing strictly on ovulation and conception, integrative practitioners look at the big picture. They work to correct hormonal imbalances and biochemical problems that can be triggered by factors such as toxins, a poor diet and anxiety. They see infertility as being symptomatic of a larger, systemic issue.
“Remember the spot-reducing craze of the 1980s?” asks holistic health counselor Alisa Vitti, founder of FLO Living, a healthcare center for women in New York City. “We thought we could do certain exercises to get rid of ‘saddlebags.’ Now we know you have to work on the whole body and increase your metabolic rate, build your muscle mass and so on. Same thing with fertility. The best way to protect it is to use food and lifestyle to support the overall function of the endocrine and reproductive systems.”
That means consciously working to improve health before even attempting to get pregnant, especially if you’re over 35, when the decline in the frequency of ovulation can make conception harder.
“We used to think it only made a difference what women did while they were pregnant,” says Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN, NP, cofounder of the Women to Women clinic in Yarmouth, Maine, and author of Are You Tired and Wired? (Hay House, 2011). “Now we know that it’s important to begin these changes during the year before you get pregnant. A lot of women don’t even realize that they’re pregnant until they’re already six or seven weeks in, so it’s important to make that conscious shift to a healthy body early on.”
If you want to start a family, today or sometime down the road, these nine strategies can help make your dream a reality.
First: nutrition matters