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When you are struggling to conceive, you will try just about everything to get you that BFP (that is, Big Fat Positive), but is what the doctors are recommending truly effective? What side effects do they have? What alternatives are there?
When you walk into a reproductive endocrinologist’s office, they will want to first know how long you have been trying and probably want to run a slew of tests on you and your partner, and depending on what they discover, they may want to order you some sort of prescription, perhaps Clomid or Progesterone supplementation.
These drugs, while they can absolutely be helpful in conception when needed, can take a toll on your body and lead to a very uncomfortable pregnancy with more symptoms than necessary. They include side effects such as: bloating, pelvic pain, blurred vision, eye sensitivity, liver damage, yellowing of the skin/eyes, hot flashes, nausea, migraines, heavy bleeding, sore breasts, restlessness, hypersensitivity, vaginal dryness, ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhage, vision loss, fetal heart defects, chest pain, hypertension, fetal dwarfism, cysts, cancer, hair loss, acne, allergic reaction, weight gain, placental complications, and more.
Natural Approaches to Fertility
Here at HERBAL, we say, let’s not be too hasty with the drugs!
Here are some suggestions that may work for you in a more natural way before relying on the doctor’s notes…
Increasing the fat and protein in your diet! That’s right, we said it! And no, you will not gain a ton of weight doing this, it is extremely nourishing to your body. Your adrenals require nutrition to work adequately, and if you are binging on carbs and starving yourself of fats and proteins to avoid weight gain, you are starving your adrenals and thyroid, which directly impact your fertility. Even if you are eating plenty of nutrients, you could not be digesting them with poor gut health and poorly functioning digestive system. Give your gallbladder a boost with Betaine HCL plus Pepsin (this is a good one), which helps increase the bile and boosts digestion, Yellow dock (I recommend this tea) will also improve your gallbladder health. Taking a probiotic (this one) is an excellent choice, as well. Coffee or saline enemas may be in your future, if you could have parasites (and most people do), to clear out the gut even more so!
Evaluate how much iron, methylfolate and methylcobalamin (B12) you have in your body. If you are deficient, your body is not focused on reproducing, it is focused on getting you better and absorbing as much as possible for YOU, before you can support another life. Make sure the folate and B12 you select is METHYLATED, otherwise, it has poor bioavailability and may be even more toxic to you than helpful. Black strap molasses and dark leafy greens are a great source of iron, but if you are anything like me, severely anemic, you may need more than that. If you are looking for a supplement, Ritual is a great brand, so is Hemaplex (side note: ALWAYS label read, do not just take our word for it, but investigate those ingredients!) Increasing your vitamin C will also increase your iron absorption and too much calcium blocks your absorption.
Castor oil – Ew, what?! How does a laxative help me? Wait.. don’t run! We aren’t telling you to drink it at all! Instead, warm some castor oil to body temp and give yourself a deep abdominal massage, nightly. Going in a circular motion all across your abdomen, high and low, and even into your thighs, can not only moisturize and heal your skin, but it can improve your fertility by enhancing blood flow and circulation to your reproductive organs. Look into the Mayan Fertility Massage, and make sure to do it every night! If you are in your fertile window, maybe even have your partner do it.. It may lead to a baby in many ways! (Do not use this massage if you think you have conceived or if your pregnancy has been confirmed, it can stimulate miscarriage.)
Wild Yam Root – This yummy root naturally balances your progesterone and estrogen levels. Wild yam also relaxes muscles so if you have an irritable uterus that is causing you to struggle to conceive, wild yam may be your answer. You can find this in creams, capsules, teas and more.
Vitex (Chasteberry) -Chasteberry is a wild plant. It works by stimulating dopamine production in the brain, balancing the levels of prolactin, estrogen, progesterone and LH in the body. It can also stimulate opioid receptors, giving you a little buzz or pain relief from strong menstrual cramps! It is also beneficial in balancing melatonin, helping you sleep. It is a natural inflammatory, which is of large benefit to those with endometriosis. There have been several studies around the world showing the benefits of chasteberry for fertility enhancement, PMS relief, reduction of menopause symptoms, inflammation, acne, excessive body hair and uterine fibroids against a placebo!! There is science behind the claims which is always a plus! You can find it in the wild and pick it yourself if you know what you’re looking for.. as well as purchase a tincture or supplement of it at your local herb or health food store.
Bee Pollen – Can restore damaged ovaries and balance hormones, also very nutritious and gives life to all cells, and easy to add to smoothies. Bee propolis and royal jelly are also extremely beneficial, and for some, more so, than bee pollen. Bee propolis has been evaluated in studies for endometriosis and shows substantial benefit, in comparison to the placebo group.
Maca – Maca contains an array of health benefits, not just for fertility! It contains more calcium than a glass of milk, iodine for your thyroid, a natural muscle builder and toner, emotional well-being, improves memory and focus, aides sleep, and reduces hot flashes/menopausal symptoms. Women are suggested to consume red maca, while men consume black maca, for fertility.
Shatavari – Shatavari is an overall health rejuvenator and is cooling to the body. It is slightly bitter, so mixing with honey, whether in powder, tincture, or tea form, is likely best. You can also order capsules. It is part of the asparagus family, and supports health blood flow, good digestion, may balance breast milk production, and aides in lung health (increasing all over oxygen). This complete rejuvenation to your body can boost your fertility!
Ashwaghanda – This is an adaptogen, which means that it helps your body manage stress and helps the body find balance, whether it is functioning poorly or in over-drive. It is one of the most critical herbs in Ayurvedic medicine which helps balance blood sugar, induces apoptosis (the death of cancer cells), reduces cortisol, increases sperm count and mobility, increases muscle strength, reduce inflammation and more!! It is truly a versatile and necessary herb.
Damiana – Damiana is a natural libido enhancer for both males and females. It relaxes you, makes you feel calm, help you sleep and can even aide ovulation.
Inositol – A natural blood sugar balancer that aides the digestive system and reproductive organ health. This pseudo vitamin (considered B8), synthesized from yeast to create a glucose like structure, may provide relief for those suffering with anxiety, Type II diabetes and PCOS. Studies show no ill effects on the brain, only positive, including increased mood and attention span. It also does not impact liver or kidney health in a negative way like other fertility, mental health and diabetic treatments. It works by decreasing testosterone in the body. Compared to Metformin, Inositol performed at over 40% success rate for improving fertility versus Metformins success rate of only 11%. It is safe for breastfeeding as well as safe for children, including for treatment of ADHD. Inositol is even theorized to be a cancer cell destroyer! A combination of myo-inositol and d-chiro inositol makes it most bio-available and effective in the body!
Your emotional well-being is important too, if you are stressed, depressed, or any other negative feelings, it can hinder your ability to conceive! A blend of Lemon Balm, Dandelion, Nettle, Oatstraw, and Red Clover can aide in not only emotional balancing, but nutrients and gentle detox, as well.
If your stress is caused by high blood pressure, like a high stress job that triggers your adrenaline, or you just get anxious thinking about trying to conceive, try some cayenne or yarrow! They are both blood pressure balancers, can balance your menstrual flow and improve blood circulation all around the body.
What are some other supplements you used for conception? We would love to hear from you!
Happy Conception!! <3