Remember back when you used to be SO vigilant about birth control? What a joke. You’ve been trying to conceive for far, far too long. It seemed like a good idea to start tracking your BMT way back when, and you’ve become VERY familiar with recognizing egg-whitish mucous, but still… nada. And if one more person tells you to “Just relax,” you’re gonna lose it.
Focus on food. And breathe.
I know what you’re thinking: we have three children, so what could we possibly know about infertility? Well guys, things aren’t always what they seem. It took longer than expected for our “and baby makes three” to happen, and a big M speed-bump along the way didn’t help. We hoped things would go smoother when we started trying for bambino number two. But… there’s a reason for the three-year age-gap between our boys and it’s got nothing to do with clever planning. We were technically declared infertile – I know, right? Luckily our third munchkin surprised us about a minute after we decided we wanted to be a party of five. Who’da thunk? Good thing too because my stress levels couldn’t have handled a three-peat.
So, yup, we learned a thing or two. Here’s what we were instructed to do by docs, fertility naturopaths, and old wives along the way:
- Wannabe moms should reduce/eliminate caffeine. But wannabe dads don’t need to worry (that post-caff buzz might actually rev up your swimmers).
- Eat/drink full-fat dairy. Bring on the Balkan yoghurt.
- Sugar’s off limits. Boo.
- Skip the gluten and opt for brown rice/quinoa/amaranth instead. Natch, since gluten seems to be our generation’s kryptonite.
- Amp up your zinc, iron, and protein intake. Mmmmm… beef. Sure, it should be lean but whatevs, it’s all good. We were also told to have daily hemp protein shakes. Blended with berries and rice milk, we almost forgot it was sugar-free. Almost.
- Omega-3’s are your friends, which means more fatty fish, flax seeds, and walnuts.
- Folic acid’s important for women AND men. It prevents birth defects when taken pre-conception and also increases sperm count and density. Powerful little B vitamin!
- Eat an orange with your egg/nuts/steak. It slows down digestion (read: more stable blood sugar levels) and increases iron absorption. Both fertility boosts.
- Ladies, eat a tablespoon of ground flax and pumpkin seeds daily for the first two weeks of your cycle and a tablespoon of ground sesame and sunflower seeds for the second half. It helps out the estrogen/progesterone roller coaster and sprinkled on yoghurt with a few walnuts, a banana or some more berries… yum!
- Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and bicycles. The little guys don’t like it.
- Sleep with the curtains open. Hokey, right? But way back in the olden days ovulation was tied to the moon and the tides. Ya never know.
- Supplement with homeopathic remedies if cycle irregularity is the name of the game (it was for me and my whacky hormones).
- Try acupuncture. I went under the needle a few times and while I’m not convinced it helped… ya never know.
- Get regular massages. It’s probably covered anyway, so why not?
- Exercise regularly and definitely incorporate yoga into your routine.
- Meditate. Preferably right after yoga. Namaste.
- Sleep well. Duh.
Any major change will take about three months to work its way through your system. So try to stay patient. I’m not going to say you should go on vacation, because I heard it so many times it made me a little cray-cray. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that about nine months before our second was born we were, yup, on vacation. We’d already incorporated most of these changes into our day-to-day though so… who knows. I have also heard some nurses instruct patients to do the exact opposite of everything they normally do right after an IVF treatment so… who knows.
Sometimes life can be a real crap shoot. The best way to deal with infertility is to control what you can: diet and stress. It’ll improve your odds and also improve your overall health. Which is important because you’ll likely still have to deal with at least a few more visits from your least favourite Aunt.
Email us if you want to talk more smack about BMT charts or can’t figure out what the big M is. Also let us know if you’re really struggling… we can help!