Fertility issues are on the rise. Sadly. Why is it so and how can we slow down or stop that increase? What if we’re having fertility issues of our own? Is there a way we boost OUR health and our fertility?
Natural Health and Fertility Coach – Kathy Payne – puts forward the case for preconception care and self-help.
The fertility challenge
Around 1 in 6 couples in the UK today have trouble falling pregnant – that’s over 3.5 million people. Statistics show sperm count is down and about 1 in 4 pregnancies results in miscarriage.
Fertility treatments are up. Success rates are not high and many couples are confused and frustrated by the label they have been given “unexplained infertility”.
If you’re suffering, none of this is a comfort. I know. I really do know. Let’s not lose heart, though. Let’s stay positive. Let’s take back control. Easy to say, maybe?
What nature teaches us about fertility
Let’s start by going back to nature.
Mother Nature wants us to thrive not just survive. All species to thrive. She wants us to have babies, healthy babies. So Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Like trying to make sure babies are born when conditions are right …like no threats to safety (in modern life, that’s stress to you and me).
And when there’s nutritious food to support conception, pregnancy, birth and strong babies. And there’s a healthy egg, vibrant sperm and a welcoming womb.
Traditional cultures know this stuff. They save the best food – often fish, shellfish, eggs – for newlyweds to boost baby-making.
People who breed and raise animals know this stuff. They choose the healthiest animals, they feed them the best food and provide a great environment to breed and rear as many strong and healthy babies as they can.
They know it’s about conception, healthy pregnancy, safe birth AND a healthy offspring.
What they teach and don’t teach in schools
And I’m not implying that we don’t know this stuff, at all. Some people know it; some people know it because they’ve suffered fertility issues and had to find it out the hard way. Sadly.
In schools, they teach how NOT to get pregnant and strike fear into us that just about looking at someone can make an unwanted baby. But we’re not really taught how to protect and boost fertility for when we’re ready to make a wanted baby. We’re not really taught self-care for fertility.
Many of you may be thinking, yeah but we have a diagnosed condition, a known problem. That’s why we can’t get pregnant naturally.
I hear you. There will some people who are better opting for a fertility treatment. Your doctor will advise you on that. Always maintain a good relationship with your doctor.
If you’re having treatment using your own, sperm and/or womb, It’s still got to be a good idea to give yourself the best chances of success, right?
It’s a personal view, but I don’t think fertility treatment is an easy option. It’s a rollercoaster of tests, drugs, procedures and emotions, with no guarantee of a baby (actually nothing and no-one can guarantee a baby). It’s sometimes tough to get treatment for free and it’s expensive to buy. It’s a boom industry making billions worldwide. It’s filling a need.
I do wonder if a few people go down this route a little too quickly? Maybe, it should be a last option, not the first option. Maybe we should do as much as we can for ourselves, first? Sometimes it does take longer to become parents than we’d like. And it’s not always a straight path. And even if you end up having fertility treatment, you’d be going into it in really good shape.
I’m a huge believer in self-care. Not just to protect and boost fertility. To protect and boost health, hormone health, happiness.
Prevention is better than cure and all that.
Now again, a few will say, “yeah but unhealthy people can have kids” and they tell me tales of some bloke down the pub who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and survives on kebabs and he has 5 kids.
Yep, I see that too. Sure, that happens.
But what do we know about the health of those kids?
We don’t fully understand the impacts of OUR health and lifestyle choices on any kids we have. Except we know those choices do have an impact. New research is making links all the time. So self-care isn’t selfish – it’s a benefit to our future children too.
I also feel the frustration of those handed the label “unexplained infertility”. Those who have had tests – even had procedures – and no-one can tell them why they still haven’t managed to fall pregnant. I get that you can feel helpless, confused and angry.
Of course, it could be that no-one found the challenge yet.
There must be cases with no ONE, BIG NO- BRAINER thing, but maybe a few less obvious, smaller issues adding up to a problem. Which could mean that it’s solvable.
Maybe easily. Maybe even quickly. So why not throw all you can at it and see what happens? What do you have to lose? You have everything to gain.
You never know what tips the balance in your favour.
Importance of preconception care?
Taking back control means investing in your own care. It’s also a bit more than just taking Folic Acid. Pretty much everyone knows the importance of folate to a developing baby. The vast majority of women take it before trying to get pregnant. It’s much more than that, because in the modern world we’re fighting an uphill battle.
Food is more plentiful, but it’s full of nasties …additives, preservatives, salt, sugar, GMOs, chemicals. Plants can be sprayed with bug killer and weedkiller. Yep we eat food sprayed with stuff aimed to kill things. Animal products can be laced with growth hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. I could go on. More food, less nutrition.
It’s a toxic world where the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soils we use to grow food are tainted.
We slather on our skins an estimated 500 chemicals each day- some of which are known hormone harmers. The same hormone harmers lurk in our cleaning cupboards and other corners of our homes, offices, garages, gardens.
And don’t get me started on the impact of modern day madness and mayhem – the stress of life in the twenty first century.
I could go on and on about modern life madness and how it takes it’s toll on fertility.
Let’s not lose heart, though. Let’s stay positive. Let’s take back control.
Let’s actually DO the self-care. The preconception care. The getting baby- ready. Getting baby-fit.
I’m super passionate about this stuff. I teach this stuff, even if schools don’t.
So what do I actually mean by preconception care? It’s really a Fertility Friendly Lifestyle.
What is preconception care?
It means giving yourself AT LEAST 3-4 months to get healthy. At least 3-4 months because that’s very roughly how long it takes for a sperm to develop and an egg to mature.
And the basics of a fertility friendly lifestyle are these….
• A fertility friendly diet (AND shopping, cooking and storing food for maxing fertility)
• Fertility friendly lifestyle choices
• Checking out your general health in case there’s something else that reduces fertility
• Getting plenty of rest and relaxation to bust stress
• “Detoxing” your life of the health, hormone and fertility harmers
• Being aware of your fertile signs and times
• Knowing when and who to ask for help and what to ask for.
Perhaps this doesn’t sound like rocket science, but there is evidence that these steps can make a difference. Even a BIG difference.
In the UK where I live, our public health service recognises this. There just aren’t the resources to teach everyone who needs it, what they need to know. In detail.
I was trained in preconception care by Foresight – a UK charity – which promotes preconception care to boost health, fertility and improve children’s health.
But information doesn’t mean transformation (one of my mantras).
The rub is you have to actually DO them. You actually have to take control and change your habits to more fertility- friendly ones. And keep up those habits.
No-one is saying it’s easy. That’s why people like me are spreading the word and actively help people work out what they can do to boost their health and – therefore – fertility.
I’m passionate about preconception care… for everyone. Whether you’ve pee’d on a million sticks and wept over negative pregnancy tests or just have a wicked twinkle in your eye and know you really need to clean up your act.
Let’s not lose heart. Let’s stay positive. Let’s take control.
We got this. Love, Kathy x