Updated: 3 days ago
I want to talk about this huge uptick of couples who are struggling to become pregnant. We are seeing this with a lot of our clients coming to us to be a part of our Mercier Therapy Program. This program is an all natural, non-invasive method to promote improved fertility to increase your chance of conceiving. This program is something that can either prepare your body specifically for conception, or also for that next step into more invasive fertility treatments. As a pelvic physical therapist, and Mercier Therapy Professional, I am a firm advocate for promoting fertility with natural methods, allowing our bodies to decide when the time is right to get pregnant. Today I want to dive into the importance of creating healthy wellness habits to improve the chances of conception.
"Forced" Fertility Methods
First, let's talk about those more “forced” fertility interventions. These would include things like Letrozole or Clomid, or of course, the more invasive things like IVF. I am so thankful that we have these interventions because they have certainly helped a lot of individuals, who would have not otherwise been able to conceive, have babies. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that these interventions are very much a forceful way to get your body to conceive. Our bodies instinctively know when it is a good time to have a baby. With that being said, if your body senses that for whatever reason it’s not a good time, it can instinctively keep you from becoming pregnant as a way to protect you.
Wellness Habits for Fertility
There are so many things that you can consider before taking that next step of trying to conceive. I think its important for you to have the entire picture of what options are available to you. Focusing on implementing wellness habits may be the key to conception, without having to move into the more invasive treatments that we talked about before.
How can you prepare your body for pregnancy? Here are some things to consider.
Support Your Fertility with Food
To start with, you definitely want to take a look at your diet and see if it needs to be cleaned up. You want to consider good organic sources for your food. Become a label reader so that you know exactly the ingredients that you are putting into your body and your baby’s body that you may be potentially carrying. Good sources of meat and veggies whenever possible is a good rule of thumb. Get a good variety on your plate with different colors that can help you mix up the types of micronutrients you are getting.
You also want to be thinking about getting enough protein, which is something a lot of times I see lacking with those I work with here in the clinic. This macronutrient is important for several reasons, but certainly for fertility. General rule of thumb for most females is somewhere between 60 and 100 grams per day. One way to determine you are getting the appropriate amount of certain nutrients is by using a kitchen scale where you can start to weigh food items. This is a really good way to gain insight into what you are intaking and how much of it. Eating an adequate amount of protein helps to keep your hunger satisfied longer and it helps to balance cortisol and hormone levels. Try to get at least half of your daily intake of protein by noon , or do what I would call “front loading" your protein. This will not only help your hormones, but also support your circadian rhythm and fuel your body allowing for a higher chance of conception. Giving your body what it needs and being intentional with your macros including proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs, can really benefit your chances of conception.
Want to learn more about how to support your fertility with the food you eat? Check out my blog post here to find out more.
What Supplements Do I Take?
When someone is trying to prepare their body for a baby, it's important to know what supplements are best to be intaking. A lot of people will go out to a pharmacy and pick up a bottle of prenatals without reading the label. Taking a prenatal is great, but I would encourage you to look at the label for something called methylated folate versus just folic acid. Folic acid is more of a synthetic form of folate, folate being a B vitamin. One of the things that folate does is it helps to produce DNA and support red blood cell formation in your body, which is very important for fertility, conception, and growing an embryo into a fetus. Intaking a more synthetic form of folate, such as folic acid, requires your liver to then convert that folic acid into methylated folate. There’s that extra step that has to take place, and sometimes, if your body is not functioning at its highest capacity, you’re asking it to do more work, potentially impacting the benefits of its intake.
Methylated folate, on the other hand, does not have to be converted. Interestingly enough, methylated folate is known within the medical community to have a high bioavailability. What this means is it is very easy for your body to absorb the nutrients, which is why I recommend cutting out the middleman of your liver and taking a prenatal that has methylated folate within it. With that being said, you want to be intaking at least 400 micrograms of methylated folate per day.
Tea for Improved Fertility
Another question I have gotten is about raspberry tea or red clover tea. In my opinion, these are good supplemental actions. Raspberry tea has been shown to improve overall health of the uterus helping with things like improving the quality of the cervical mucus allowing for better chance of sperm survival within the mucus for fertilization. Red clover tea can also be a good adjunct for us in supporting the lymphatic system. It helps to improve the efficiency of lymph drainage, which also supports your hormone levels within your endocrine system.
Movement: Less is More
Let’s move onto another important dimension of wellness to consider - exercise. I would say a lot of times, there are mistakes made just not knowing where to start with exercise. It’s important to meet your body where it’s at. So if you’re somebody that doesn’t exercise at all, or haven’t thought about it in a long time, meet your body where it’s at by starting something simple like taking a short walk - just get your body moving.
Maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum where you’re working out at a really high level for 5-7 days per week. It may be important for somebody in this type of situation, to scale back just a little bit so that your body doesn’t feel so physically stressed out. It is certainly possible to interrupt things like ovulation if you are doing too much or too intense of activity. In general, if conception is your end goal, you need to be giving your body what it needs and sometimes that means less is more.
Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits
Next, let’s move onto sleep. It’s important that we give our bodies enough sleep and good quality sleep. This has become even more challenging for all of us over the years because there are so many stressors and distractions that reduce our chances of getting adequate sleep. We’re all going to bed with our phones and oftentimes, our alarms are on our phones. Our minds are just constantly stimulated. It’s super important for us to give these things a break if getting good quality sleep is an issue. For example, turn off your phone, computer, and TV a couple hours before you get ready for bed so that your brain can start winding down and feel less stimulated allowing your body to start to prepare for sleep mode. It may even be something as simple as getting outside in nature for a brief amount of time to soak in some vitamin D, reduce your stress levels, and calm your mind to prepare for sleep.
Meditation to Quiet Your Mind
You can also try things such as mindfulness or meditation prior to bed to quiet your mind.
This is something that I have sort of changed my mindset on a little bit. In today’s time, we are so sedentary with our jobs, so at first it didn’t make sense to me to have somebody lay down on a yoga mat for 15 minutes and not do anything since they have been sedentary all day long. But, thinking about things now, it is so important that we take the time to give our mind some rest, and I feel that meditation is great for that, allowing us to be a little bit introspective.
It’s also possible to practice meditation during movement. Go on a 15 minute walk where you don’t have music playing or a bunch of stimulating noise, but take this time to quiet the mind. Meditation, no matter the form of it, can be a perfect remedy to calm your mind, make you feel happy, and give you joy.
Unhealthy Habit Management
Going along with meditation practice, we have to be intentional about managing our stressors and the unhealthy things we deal with in our everyday lives. Whether these stressors be physical, mental, or emotional, we have to work to reign those in if we want to have good quality sleep, and overall good quality of life. One of the ways we can manage stress is by practicing diaphragmatic breathing. I know I have talked about this in previous posts, probably multiple times, but I am a big believer and think it is one of the best things you can do to quiet down those stressors. Check out my video here to follow along with diaphragmatic breathing practice.
Then of course, if you’re somebody that is regularly drinking or smoking, these are things we need to start working on getting out of your life. Eliminating these activities will help you to get better quality sleep, improve your health in general, and increase your chance of conception.
Mercier Therapy: Boost Fertility
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, our Mercier program is something that is also natural in benefiting your fertility and has worked time and time again for our clients. It’s amazing how when we get our bodies moving, especially the reproductive organs, we get them to start talking to each other, get the blood flowing, and good things happen. This is just another supplemental intervention to consider if you’re trying to conceive and having some difficulty. We can help you to get your body ready before implantation, so once that fertilization happens, we foster a successful and healthy pregnancy. If you’re interested in learning more about Mercier Therapy, our marketing team has created a Mercier resource page on our website that has a lot of good information.
The Fertility Wellness Wrap Up
The things we have talked about are all good recommendations whether or not you’re trying to conceive, but if you are struggling to conceive, then there may be a reason or something missing that your body needs. So let’s focus on cleaning up our diets, being intentional about movement, getting better sleep, adding in some good supplements, drinking supportive teas, and maybe even consider Mercier Therapy. All of these tips are to get you into the fertility mindset, which is what we’re all about here.
If you'd like to watch the video associated with this blog post, check out the link here.
Want to learn more about the benefits of Mercier Therapy to improve your fertility and chances of conception? Check out my post here to find out more.