For those women who struggle with infertility issues and still trying to conceive, we are often so conscientious about our diet, lifestyle, indeed every choice that we make, in our commitment and dedication to getting pregnant that it can feel confusing when seemingly good advice doesn’t match up and correlate.
There are 2 fundamental truths that I feel are entirely left out of the discussion, but which I know to be vital and important for pregnancy. When women come to Flo Living needing help with getting pregnant, staying pregnant, or maintaining a healthy pregnancy, this is what I always tell them from the start.
- You must invest 3 months to a year preparing your body for pregnancy with diet and lifestyle changes before you will begin trying in earnest by any means (be that naturally or via IVF). Time is your real ally. Waiting until you become pregnant before you change your diet and lifestyle is not giving you or your baby the optimal chance for vibrant health.
- Most reproductive endocrinologists are not looking at reproductive biology from a functional nutrition standpoint. When you will do anything and everything to get pregnant, it can be frustrating to know that you are likely not hearing the information that will actually help you to conceive.
Instead of trying to map out all the tips and lists and recommendations thrown your way, I find it’s much easier to focus on improving 4 areas of your health with simple proactive strategies. That way you know exactly why you are making a diet or lifestyle change or picking a particular path. You are in control. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you get to feel empowered.
These are the 4 areas that need your focus:
1) Healing and supporting your microbiome.
Problem: There’s no quick fix when it comes to the microbiome. First up, you need to be avoiding antibiotics as much as possible. You also need to come off the Pill sooner rather than later. These two medications severely disrupt the microbiome. Your microbiome is a main player in regulating your hormones, especially your estrogen levels. Estrogen-dominance as a result of a poorly functioning microbiome leads to every hormonal imbalance symptom or sickness you can think of, including infertility. A poor internal ecosystem caused by bad diet, exposure to chemicals and stress, will suppress the good bacteria, promote the bad bacteria, and will lead to a toxic buildup of hormones as well as other signs of systemic inflammation. Here are my tips for making friends with your microbiome. Just taking probiotic tablets is not enough when you’re dealing with a hostile internal eco-system, it takes a little more engagement and effort, but you can do it!
Solution: Eat more jicama, radishes and artichokes which are full of good prebiotics. Jicama is the sweet root of the Mexican wild yam and a natural progesterone treatment. Radishes help with the processing of unhealthy fat and are rich in antioxidants. Artichokes are in fact powerful liver detoxifiers.
2) Preventing inflammation in your body.
Problem: When your microbiome is unhealthy, this triggers inflammation pathways in the adrenal axis, which is turn causes a body stress response, which then disrupts and prevents regular ovulation. When your body thinks it is physically under attack or subject to undue biological stress, it will decide this is not the right time for you to conceive and shutdown ovulation. It’s pretty smart like that. Your body wants to see you get pregnant when you have the best chance of maintaining a healthy pregnancy and having a healthy baby.
Solution: Add turmeric and apple cider vinegar to your daily diet. The curcumin in the spice turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. In India it is called “the holy powder” because of its health supportive properties. And 1 to 2 tablespoons a day of apple cider vinegar can prevent inflammation of the intestines.
3) Managing micronutrient deficiencies.
Problem: If you’re not eating in a way that is hormonally-supportive then you may not be producing enough hormones to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. You need to be eating lots of good monounsaturated fats to be making hormones and then balancing out your levels with foods that allow you to experience the hormonal peak required for ovulation to occur in any one cycle. You also need to eat foods that will help you eliminate excess estrogen efficiently and prevent the kind of buildup that can confuse the brain-ovary conversation. A high quality diet will limit internal stress on important organs that need the time and space to concentrate on helping you conceive. Something as simple as an iron deficiency has linked to potential ADD problems and poor brain development in the developing baby. Here are some of my favorite fertility-boosting foods.
Solution: Eat for your FLO! The FLO protocol has you eating foods that boost all the essential hormone and fertility boosting micronutrients.
4) Balancing your estrogen and progesterone levels.
Problem: In order to stay pregnant once you conceive and avoid experiencing a miscarriage, you need good levels of progesterone. The first sign that you are suffering with worryingly low progesterone levels is bad PMS symptoms, but you’ll also see clues in irregular or heavy bleeding. You can get this hormone level tested by your doctor with a serum progesterone blood test one week before your period is due. If you have low progesterone levels, you might not be ovulating and need to focus on regaining your full fertility.
Solution: Eat more fermented cabbage to help your body metabolize estrogen. By supporting liver detoxification fermented cabbage speeds up the elimination of excess estrogen and prevents estrogen dominance or overload, which is a key cause of infertility. Eliminating excess estrogen will help to support and boost your progesterone supplies.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you believe diet can improve your fertility?
Second, what do you think is your fertility weak spot from the list above?
Third: You know every one you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below
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Whether you are just starting to think about having a baby, or have already tried naturally or have been trying with IVF, our Fertile FLO Program will help improve your chances of conception.
Click here to download our FREE guide, The 5 Health Foods to Avoid to Get and Stay Pregnant.
I am 44 years old and would like to have a child but have always known that after your 30’s it’s close to impossible. Is that true? After reading this article I would like to think I would still have a chance but does my age play a factor in this?
Have I asked a question that has been talked about somewhere else?
Great suggestions. My challenge area has always been staying pregnant. I have experienced 4 miscarriages. I am lucky to have 2 beautiful daughters but I never thought about how my nutrition and gut biome might be affecting me staying pregnant. I definitely believe what we ingest as fuel can affect how our bodies run. I read “Missing Microbes” and am considering what changes we can make on a family-wide scale, too.
I am sorry that this staying pregnant has been an issue, I am thrilled that you have found Flo. We are here to support you in any way we can. There are several placed to look when staying pregnant is the issue – if you schedule a complementary consults with one of our counselors, you can get more info on the steps you can take, and the areas to explore. I hope you can take advantage of this offer! Click her to sign up: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
Does jicama help with low progesterone?
I don’t think jicama is the same as wild yam…
What other natural ways can I increase my progesterone?
I’m getting my progesterone checked on day 21 later this month. Hoping it goes well..
Thanks for the article!
Great question! So there is no one food, or 2 foods for that matter, that will raise progesterone on its own. The whole diet and lifestyle must be looked at to see where the depletion is originating – progesterone is sensitive to stress, and also needs certain nutrients to be bolstered in the diet. You can refer one of my articles, you may find it helpful: https://www.floliving.com/how-to-prep-your-body-for-a-healthy-happy-pregnancy/
If you would like more information and support, I invite you to book a complementary session with one of our counselors to find out more about how the protocol can help you: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm. The body sends us signals, and there is no much that we know about what these signals means and how we can affect change in our bodies! We are doing everything we can to get this info out there to women who need it!
Let us know how we can support you!
Hello! I have low progesterone, but also low estrogen and low testosterone. Your insights above advice regarding estrogen dominance, but do the same foods help to raise estrogen? If not, how come those foods aren’t part of the conversation. I receive all of your emails and tips which I love, but for example, one of the other emails talking about these or a similar four points mentioned different foods to these, so I feel a bit overwhelmed by which ones are the best ones or does that just mean we should be eating them all? And finally, regarding when to eat what as suggested in cycle syncing, how would you time your foods properly if your cycle is off? Will you reap as powerful a benefit if you’re not able to “time” the foods?
Try adding some fat to your diet. I’ve read cholesterol is the primary building block for hormones. I know Alisa raves about avocados for free testosterone.
You mention estrogen simon end quite a lot, but my issue is low estrogen (and low progesterone). Are there particular foods to eat to help increase estrogen?
Sorry – meant to say Estrogen dominance!
Low hormones are definitely something that is addressed in the WomanCode Protocol! If this is what you are dealing with, you want to look deeper into blood sugar issues and adrenal health – we need to support your body so that production regulates and stress is reduced (which is what leads to depleted hormones). If you would like more support and information about what to do, please schedule a free consult today! We offer these to all women. It is a great way to get more info how how to support yourself and heal. Click here to schedule a session: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
I have premature ovarian failure have an FSH of 70 currently.
I am 25 years old. Is there any hope for me? I have tried so many things, and feel like throwing in the towel. I would love to join your fertile flo program but find it is just too expensive for me at this time. I am trying to get pregnant, and I have your book. Is there anything you can recommend I try?
I am so happy that you have found us! Have you had the opportunity to speak with a Flo Counselor about what would be the best route for you? It is free, and you will be able to have your questions answered, as well as get some concrete info on what steps to take. It would also be helpful to have more info on your health history – we will be better able to support you in a useful way if we understand what is going on! To schedule a complementary session, please click this link: http://bit.ly/12Xruvm
During which phase of the menstrual cycle should a woman take Apple Cider Vinegar?
Hello! I have PCOS and did not even get half through a “Cycle Sync” and surprisingly just became pregnant. My progesterone levels are a little low, and I was wondering what foods could help? Basically, for someone with PCOS during pregnancy (especially early pregnancy) would eating foods under the “Luteal Phase” be best? Or a combination of all phases?
OMG, congrats!! I would get to speak with you doctor about this, this is something that should be managed carefully while you are pregnant.
Technically you are in prolonged luteal while pregnant, but you want to listen to your body and feed your body’s needs at this time. Make sure you are taking a good prenatal like Innate’s Baby & ME, and drink plenty of water!
Hey! I’m pregnant and I wonder how to do the stage “3) Managing micronutrient deficiencies” since I don’t have a monthly cycle anymore? How do I eat in my pregnant-FLO?:)