Trying to conceive? Here's a top tip for getting pregnant from the Lothian Reflexology Fertility Programme ...
The most important thing if you want to get pregnant is to have sex before or during ovulation. Obvious, right! But how to do that accurately? And what if you're timing is accurate but you're still not getting pregnant, or, sadly, you miscarry? And what if you're going for tests or procedures - the more information you can provide, the better, right?
You'll know, if you're TTC, how the uncertainty can drive you mad - constantly feeling as if you're second guessing your cycle. And you might be going for treatments or following certain programmes to improve fertility without knowing whether they're really making a difference. Information gives you power, even if it's unwelcome information.
So what's the answer?
Temperature Charting is essential if you want to know what's happening with your cycle. Your basal body temperature is one of the two primary indicators of your fertile window, but it gives a lot more information than that.
Temperature charting can tell you when you ovulate - unfortunately it tells you after you have ovulated, and that can put a lot of women off using it - why bother? Well, if you continue with your charting for a few months, you may be able to see a pattern. Using an ovulation predictor kit? Charting your temperature you can help you check the accuracy of the ovulation predictor kit against the information about your ovulation from your chart.
Your temperature chart will also give you information about your hormone cycle and if it's clear you're ovulating regularly and having sex at the right time then, if you've been trying for a while, there may be other issues. Temperature charting will indicate progesterone deficiencies in the second half of the cycle which can be associated with infertility and early miscarriage. Not great news, but at least you have some information and can take action sooner rather than later.
And if you're following a programme to improve your fertility such as acupuncture or Fertility Reflexology then temperature charting gives you an indication of whether the programme is working or not. It may not be totally scientific, but it is more concrete than a wing and a prayer.
The Lothian Reflexology Fertility Programme recommends temperature charting, not as a fertile window predictor (although that's another benefit), but rather as an information gathering tool about a woman's individual cycle and hormone levels. Over a 12 week fertility programme, the client can see for themselves any positive changes to their cycle and hormone levels and that helps to take away some of the uncertainty and lets the client feel more in control. Temperature charting is not mandatory, but it comes highly recommended for the Lothian Reflexology Fertility Programme. Want to know more? Download the Fertility Reflexology E-Book.
If you want more information about fertility charting or you want to start temperature charting for yourself, the best free resource is www.fertilityfriend.com.
Any questions or experiences with temperature charting? I'd love to hear about them, so please post a comment.
If a couple are unlucky enough to be referred for fertility testing - and that's about 1 in 6 of couples - there tends to be a fairly relaxed approach to male fertility testing. After all, with IVF or ICSI procedures, it only needs one sperm to fertilise the egg. But if the sperm is damaged, then fertilisation may not occur.
It's estimated that at least 30% of fertility difficulties lie with the man alone and yet male fertility testing is still relatively basic. Normally male fertility testing looks at 3 factors - volume, motility and morphology - there needs to be enough sperm, that are moving in the right direction and are well formed.
And the good news is that sperm quality can be improved by lifestyle factors: a healthy diet which is low in sugar and processed foods, vitamin supplements, regular sex, keeping the genitals cool and avoiding alcohol, smoking and any other toxic substances.
But can more be done to test for sperm quality? Yes. The SpermComet test is a more sensitive test designed to measure DNA damage in individual sperm.
There are a couple of instances in which a more in-depth testing of male fertility factors can be helpful:
When undertaking assisted reproductive techniques it can be useful to know about the quality of sperm in order to select the technique which has the best chance of success. For example, if a test shows moderate sperm DNA damage, IVF may to the way to go, whereas a test result with higher DNA damage may indicate that going directly to ICSI will offer the best chance of a pregnancy.
Sadly miscarriage is something that about 1 in 4 women will experience, and where there is recurrent miscarriage a sperm DNA test may provide useful information. There can be a number of reasons for recurrent miscarriage, one of which is sperm DNA quality. And according to Lewis Fertility Testing who designed the sperm comet test, "Recurrent miscarriage following IVF or ICSI can be caused by sperm DNA damage."
So, if you've experienced recurrent miscarrige, or are about to embark on assisted reproductive techniques, or if time is running out and you want as much useful information about your fertility as you can gather, then a SpermComet test might be useful.
Testing is available in Edinburgh and if you'd like to know more, contact Doris Wylie on 07724 197627.
And for more general information on fertility click here and discover how reproductive reflexology can help support your fertility journey.
"We are lucky to get half the nutrition our parents and grandparents did in the Fifties and Sixties," said Amanda Williams, managing director of Cytoplan, a UK distributor of the "food-state" supplements in an article in The Independent today.
Over the last 60 years the food chain has changed out of all recognition, becoming industrialised and chemicalised, and causing depletion of the nutrient levels in the soil. This, combined with an increasing trend towards food production becoming more and more processed, makes it ever more difficult to be sure that our food is providing all the nutrients we require.
Our body is designed to live on fresh fruit and vegetables and the more natural the food, the greater the benefit it provides to the body. We need our food to provide essential vitamins and minerals or we need to find alternative sources of these essential elements to good health in the form of supplements.
But are supplements all they’re cracked up to be?
Most vitamin supplements are synthetic and as such may have limited benefits: they do not contain the complex mixture of factors that are available from nature, and may also contain fillers or binders and artificial flavourings. Some claim that these synthetic vitamin supplements act as free radicals in the body increasing toxicity.
The best way to top up your mineral and vitamin reserve is through a varied diet, high in (organic) fresh fruit and vegetables, white meat and whole grains, but if you feel you need a supplement, then seek out food-state supplements. These are nutrients which are combined with other appropriate food bases to ensure they come complete with the phytonutrients and associated food factors that are necessary for optimal absorption and use in the body.
The advantages of this more natural approach to supplements are:
1. They are easy for the body to absorb because the particles are smaller
2. They are more effective because they provide nutrients in a state as close as possible to food
3. They avoid increasing the toxic load on the body because they contain no GMO materials, synthetic chemicals, fungicides or herbicides
And if you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to improve fertility, in as natural a way as possible.
Looking for suppliers? Just Google food-state supplement suppliers, but be warned, they're expensive, very expensive!
Your body naturally strives to be in a state of balance and it's constantly adjusting to maintain that state of balance: your breathing, temperature, blood pressure, blood volume, fluid levels, cell life cycles, hormone levels and a multitude of other adjustments are being made by your body every minute. This balance is created from a dynamic process that responds to internal and external factors: what you eat, your level of physical activity, stress, environmental pollution, and a whole range of factors.
And your body needs to be in balance with your mental and emotional state - thought patterns and emotions have a physical impact – your thoughts and feelings can affect posture and chemical responses in the body: the stress response is a great example of how mind and emotions can affect physical state.
So here are a few ways to maximise your fertility, naturally:
When it comes to diet, go for organic, unprocessed, colourful food. If possible, cook from scratch to avoid additives, and have a wide variety of food. Avoid white or grey foods such as white bread, pasta and rice and avoid diet foods as they are likely to contain artificial sweeteners such Aspartame. Cut out crackers, pastries, cakes and chocolate as they are likely to contain transfats which are linked to lower fertility and avoid products with MSG such as chinese meals, flavoured crisps, meat seasonings and packaged soups.
Alcohol, caffeine, smoking, recreational drugs, and unnecessary medications are all no no's. Avoid stress or develop powerful coping strategies to deal with stress - try meditation to help detox the mind and take the edge off negative mindsets.
Avoid the gym and excessive exercise (long runs, rows, etc). Walking is great exercise and extremely beneficial, especially if you walk in a natural environment. Go for natural forms of exercise such as yoga and if possible find a fertility yoga class. Muscle building exercise diverts testosterone from the reproductive organs to the muscles. Avoid cycling and swimming.
Ensure A Natural Environment
Check your house for cleaning products - many of these contain toxic chemicals. Many of these chemicals were tested in the 1950's and 60's and not in the more stringent health criteria that exist today. Try cleaning your house with lemon juice and baking of soda or buy natural products from your health food store. If you feel like being a bit more creative, you can go online and discover how to make your own cleaning products.
And that goes for beauty and personal care products for hair, body and personal hygiene. Check online to see if you can find more natural versions of your beauty and personal care products.
Laptops should not be kept on laps and mobiles should not be kept in pockets - they give off low levels of radiation. If possible avoid low level radiation from TV, VDU, digital clocks and electric blankets and avoid living near pylons, radio stations/masts, phone exchanges for the same reasons.
Live A Natural Lifestyle
Be creative - draw or paint, sew, bake, write or do whatever you do to get your creative juices going. Being creative connects mind, body and emotion to your desire to create a baby. Look at your life and strip it back to the bare essentials. Look at your life and how you spend your time and ask yourself whether it gives you joy or if it's just there to fill in the time. Go for joy!
To help you work your way through this more easily, write down a list of all the things you'd like to do to establish a more natural lifestyle. Then work out what are the three easiest things to do and do them. Then work out what are the three most impactful things and work out a plan for implementing them. Then knock of the rest of the list at a rate of three items a week.
I hope you have joy in living a more natural life and maximising your fertility, naturally.
Maximise your fertility, naturally
Have you been trying to conceive for 12 months or more, without success?
Are you confused by all the conflicting information on the internet?
Would you like to feel more supported with your efforts to get pregnant?
Fertility Support Workshops
Sign up for a series of 6 Fertility Support Workshops:
Only 10 places available
When: Mondays 7.30-9pm on:
22 Sept, 6 Oct, 20 Oct, 3 Nov, 17 Nov, 1 Dec 2014
Where: The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
25 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh
How Much: £15 per session
Book: Contact Doris Wylie on 07724 197627 or
Lothian Reflexology www.lothianreflexology.co.uk
07724 197627 www.facebook.com/lothianreflexology