I recently shared my struggle with infertility with some free printable cards you can give your friend who is TTC (trying to conceive). As a continuation of that story, I’d like to share what I think may have worked for me. I’ve often said that if I could bottle and give away whatever worked for me, I would. I hate that anyone should have to face years of frustration and tears like I did. But I did make some changes that I think impacted my ability to conceive, and I’m sharing those with the hope that it may help someone. Please be aware that my diagnosis was “unexplained infertility”, so this advice won’t work if you have a medical condition like PCOS. But if you’ve been trying for less than a year or are just starting out and looking to improve your odds, here’s what I did differently.
First off, I WILL not tell you to relax. That has to be the single most annoying thing that people say to someone who is TTC. I touched on this point with my printable card in THIS post.
1. Exercise and reaching a healthy weight. I have always been a little too thin. It wasn’t intentional, it’s just the way I am. I have a tendency to skip meals because I am too busy, and, since I was thin, exercise wasn’t a priority. I was skinny, but not in shape. Once I realized that I wasn’t getting pregnant any time soon, I decided that if I couldn’t have a big baby belly, I’d have rock hard abs. I turned to exercise as a respite from my heartache. I was at the gym nearly every single day, hanging out with my new friends and enjoying my new athletic physique. The downside to exercising too much is it *does* affect your cycles. My periods became shorter and more erratic, likely due to my low BMI. Adopting my first child put a sharp dent in my exercise routine. Instead of hitting the gym for hours every day, I started training in karate and exercising 2-3 days a week. I was fit and healthy, and my cycle became more predictable. I think that finding that healthy balance of exercising enough but not too much helped my body become more fertile.
2. Healthy eating. After adopting my son, I became keenly aware of what foods we were putting in our bodies. He was so new and pure, and I wanted to keep him healthy and safe. I moved away from processed foods and started preparing meals from scratch. I added more fresh vegetables to our diet, and purchased organic when possible. I don’t know what long terms effects preservatives and dyes have on our bodies, so I thought it best to start my son’s life off with as healthy a diet as possible. I think this change in diet helped my husband and I become healthier, too.
3. Baby aspirin or low dose aspirin. I took 81 mg of aspirin everyday when I was TTC after the birth of my son. It’s believed that low dose aspirin increases the flow of blood to the uterus, which helps promote implantation. Some studies suggest that low dose aspirin increases the odds of a successful pregnancy after miscarriage.
4. Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs). I ditched the thermometer and charts. They were stressing me out. I purchased OPKs in bulk on Ebay at first. Later, I used kits from Dollar Tree. They work perfectly. (By the way, they also work as pregnancy tests! Not sure of the science behind it but if you see two dark lines on your OPK when AF is due then buy a PG test!)
5. Lubricant. We did not use any, as I had read most over the counter brands actually impede or kill sperm. I wish we would have had Astroglide TTC as an option. It’s been specially formulated to mimic your body’s cervical mucus, thus it doesn’t hinder sperm like other brands. You can learn more in this short video:
I wish you lots of luck on your journey to parenthood. I’ll leave you with a short story that brought me a lot of comfort. I don’t know who wrote this, but this analogy helped me remember that someday, somehow, I would be a mom. And my journey to that point would make me appreciate motherhood more than I might ever have before.
Astroglide TTC™ sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine