How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant Holistically
Getting pregnant can be considered an everyday miracle because it happens 24/7 all around the world. However, there are intricacies involved in conception and many unexplained occurrences that still baffle scientists today. This unknown aspect of having a baby allows us an opportunity to embrace the mystery of pregnancy and life itself!
For many of us, a healthy conception happens quickly and oftentimes unknowingly; for others, it can be a long road with many turns and twists. Conceiving is something we cannot fully control. We don’t always know the when or the how, the where or even the who, and sometimes that can make us feel powerless and out of control. But we are not powerless, in fact, there is so much we can do to be empowered in our decision to become parents. Taking a holistic health approach can increase the chances of getting pregnant by balancing the body and creating the fertile soil for seeds to grow. Below are some of the tips I share with families that I support as a fertility doula as they navigate the journey of getting pregnant.
Consider A Plant-Based Diet
There isn’t a one size fits all answer on this topic and there are many differing viewpoints. I am here to just share one that has some compelling research to back it up. Having a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you only eat plants, although for some being plant-based means being fully vegan. Essentially what it means though, is that the majority of your food comes from plants. How can a plant-based diet support your fertility journey?
- Plant-Based Protein
It’s a common misconception that animal-based foods are the only way to get healthy and sufficient protein. However, all protein comes from a plant-based source. For example, cows eat grass and barley, which is the protein, and we eat the cows. Being plant-based just cuts out the middleman. A Harvard School of Public Health study shared some compelling research why people experiencing infertility challenges may want to consider going plant-based. The study showed ovulatory infertility was almost 40 percent more likely in women and people hoping to conceive who ate more animal proteins, compared to vegan women who got most of their protein from nuts, soy, and beans.
Antioxidants are a group of vitamins and minerals that protect your cells from free radical damage. Having a plant-based diet allows you to naturally get an abundance of these amazing antioxidants naturally through food. Free radicals are unstable electrons, often caused by harsh chemicals and toxins in our environment. All of the cells in our body are susceptible to damage from free radicals, including the ovum (egg) and the sperm. However, antioxidants have been found to increase pregnancy success rates as well as boost sperm health and count. Not only can eating a diet rich in antioxidants improve your chances of conceiving but it can also prevent DNA damage that can cause miscarriage, birth defects, and developmental delays in your future child. Antioxidants are found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables! Pay special attention to foods saturated in color like blueberries, dark leafy greens, cranberries, tomatoes, and carrots. A nutritionist can help if you struggle on your own.
Fiber, also found in plants, can support your overall health and boost your fertility. Fiber can help you maintain a healthy weight which can play a big role in fertility, including balanced hormone levels and pregnancy success. Fiber also helps the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels and creates a healthy microbiome that will support your overall health, and increases your chances of getting pregnant.
Detox Your Body
A silent cause of infertility may be the common chemicals found in our food, air, water, and products we use on our skin and in our homes. These chemicals are called heavy metals, like mercury, cadmium, tin, aluminum, and lead among many others. Heavy metals can also be EDCs (Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals) endocrine disruptors and can cause many reproductive health issues as well as impact the health of your future child. It’s a good idea to consider detoxing your body from chemicals for 6 months or more before wanting to conceive. This will give your body ample time to release chemicals that may have been stored for long periods of time out of your body. Here are some top ways to consider detoxing your body:
- Cut out all processed and fast foods
- Buy local and organic foods
- Green-ify your cleaning and household products
- Do a fertility and liver cleanse
- Lean towards plant-based foods and be mindful of seafood sources
- Try to sauna a couple times a month
Incorporate Traditional Womb and Body Care Practices
From an eastern perspective of medicine, health care is first self-care and is proactive by nature. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, people wanting to conceive may also consider incorporating regular holistic self-care activities that promote a healthy body and womb to increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy. Many
cultures throughout the world use the five elements earth, air, fire, water, and ether to cleanse and heal the body. When it comes to pregnancy, a key component is having a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Traditional womb massage, castor oil packs, acupuncture, yoni steaming, detox baths, and reiki healing are great holistic ways to support your fertility. A fertility doula can help you figure out what’s best for you along the way.
Prioritize Your Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
Just as important as your physical health, in increasing your chances of getting pregnant holistically, is your mental health. Fertility, pregnancy, and birth are one area of life where we can easily see the mind-body connection at play. Stress can play a huge role in a person or couple’s ability to conceive. Chronic stress can throw off the body’s natural rhythms and hormone levels. Not getting adequate and restorative rest each night due to long work hours or busy stressful days, can also negatively impact the chances of conception. Getting the support of a mental health therapist can make an impact on your well-being.
Getting pregnant can be a trying time. Taking the time pre-pregnancy to focus on a healthy diet, destressing by spending time in nature, exercising, and getting regular bodywork can create a healthy mind and body needed for an easier conception.
Bailey Rollins is a certified fertility, birth, and postpartum doula in New York City. She has a Masters Degree from Bank Street in Infancy and Early Childhood Development. Bailey specializes in hypnofertility, hypnobirthing, and reiki healing. She supports individuals and couples who want to take a holistic and naturopathic approach to their fertility journey including using eastern practices to support IUI and IVF success. Bailey is available for fertility doula support through the boober platform.