Friday, April 28, 2017

So you want to get pregnant?

Look, I have to give a disclaimer here.  I seriously didn't do really any of these things before I got pregnant round #1.  Honestly.  My son was a complete surprise and miracle, and it is amazing how healthy he is considering my health took a downwards turn right before getting pregnant (But I'll talk about in a later post how to keep your child healthy in pregnancy).

So how do I know what I'm talking about? Because I have had to heal from being at death's door, and I help others do that too.  Being a holistic nurse practitioner, Im going to give it to you straight. No fluff.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had already started making changes toward a holistic lifestyle.  I poured into every book on holistic and traditional (how other cultures practice) pregnancy that I could find and learned so much.  It was all in this experience I learned a great deal more about fertility and postpartum health.

It was also during this time that I noticed many of the women around me were struggling to get pregnant.  Most women I knew had adrenal fatigue, autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalance, and other symptoms that were bothersome.  Treating their symptoms with pills didn't fix the problem and often led to more pills.  Many had infertility and miscarriages.  In fact, 1 in 8 women cannot get pregnant.

So let me try and help.  I definitely don't have all the answers, and I never will.  Are these ALL the things you can do?  Absolutely not!  I gather my suggestions and tips from having the experience of working with women, following a Weston A Price model, and aligning myself with integrative and holistic medicine, which will have a profound impact on your body.  I am practicing these tips too, as I am preparing for pregnancy soon, so I will walk right beside you.

Let's get started.

1) Your Diet is Important.  Maybe you already do this, and maybe you don't. But your diet most definitely matters if you are trying to get pregnant.  Eating organic is important because there have been no long-term studies on GMOs and their effect on our bodies long term. One thing we do know about GMOs is that they have an affinity for aluminum and other heavy metals, so if you plan on vaccinating while pregnant or for your child, the more heavy metals in your body, the increase of heavy metals that can cross the blood brain barrier and get to the brain.  So stick to organic foods when possible.  I also cannot emphasize enough the need to skip sugar.  I'm not saying to never enjoy a sweet treat but be mindful of your sugar intake and the type of sugar.  Fruit is wonderful, but foods with GMO sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not doing your body any favors.  In fact, it is very toxic to the cells and is the biggest contributor to chronic disease - more than many other thing.  Be mindful that sugar isn't just in the white powder form either- it's in breads, baked goods, pastas, and most dairy.

I actually go a step further with my patients to recommend a gluten free and dairy free diet (ideally soy free and paleo or a dairy-free ketogenic).  This is because most dairy is not actually true dairy and not from good sources.  It is often filled with sugar and chemicals.  It is well established in research articles (I did my final thesis paper on this topic in grad school) that gluten causes inflammation in the body- some feel that and have symptoms and some don't.  But up to 60% have a sensitivity, and its in my opinion that it should be avoided whenever possible, but especially when you are pregnant.  Extra inflammation in the body can contribute to autoimmune disease, which often presents more difficulties in getting pregnant.

What nourishes your body and cells? Greens, fruit, bone broth, fermented foods, organic/organ meat, nuts fats. There is an endless list of food to choose from. I often have people ask me "What can I eat?" We are blessed to live in a day and age where everything is almost immediately accessible to us.  You can easily find paleo or ketogenic recipes online, order a recipe book from Amazon Prime, or download a cookbook on your phone.  You just need to take the action in doing it.

2) Remove the toxins in your environment. Simple right? But what if I challenged you to open two of your kitchen cabinets or the cupboard below the sink.  What would we find?

Let me give it to you straight.  Women usually put on 80 chemicals before 8 AM and 300 by the end of the day.  How?  By placing chemical and paraben-filled makeup, lipsticks, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, lotions and you name it.  Where do you think all those things go?  Yes, your skin.  But then it gets absorbed...into your body.  I see a lot of people advertising "clean" brands out there, and they simply aren't.  Just enter in the brand or ingredients into EWG.org to see if it's safe.  You will be surprised to find that Tom's, 7th generation and Method (among others) aren't all they are cracked up to be.  We personally use Young Living in our home, because it is affordable and has multiple benefits to our health.

Don't forget your toothpaste either.  Most every toothpaste has triclosan, SLS, flouride and carrageenan in them which is just frightening.  Fluoride is an established neurotoxin folks. Why dentists are still using it I'm not sure, but it is frightening.  All the research is out there- just do a PubMed search.  Don't worry there are plenty of great alternatives! Taking care of your teeth is so important because each tooth in your mouth has a meridian point, meaning it is connected to different organs, glands and tissues in the body.

Here is a great article regarding chemicals and infertility: http://globalivf.com/2017/04/17/chemicals-in-cosmetics-can-cause-infertility/

Find yourself a holistic dentist you does use toxic materials on your body by looking them up at: http://holisticdental.org/find-a-holistic-dentist

3) Make sure your thyroid and progesterone levels are okay.  The adrenals are connected to the thyroid, which is connected to the hormones, which are connected to the adrenals.  Think of it as a triangle.  Everything is interconnected.  Most every woman (and many men) I meet is in adrenal fatigue.  I see it commonly among type A personalities, who tend to work long hours and put too many things on their plate. They ask me:

Why am I "wired but tired?"
Why can't I sleep at night?
Why can't I lose weight?
Why is my hair falling out?
Why do I have no sex drive?

The reason is because you are doing to much, your nutrients are depleted it, you are wearing out your body and you are wearing out your adrenals, thus wearing out your thyroid and hormones.  If these are depleted you will have a VERY hard time getting pregnant or having a healthy pregnancy.

In fact, it is rare for me to see women in their 20s, let alone 30s, with optimal hormone levels. Their DHEA, progesterone, and pregnenolone are often suboptimal and they are estrogen dominant.  Estrogen dominance is common among women today, which often presents with extra fat in your belly and thighs, irregular menstrual cycles, difficult PMS, fibrocystic breasts, brain fog, insomnia, gut issues, and more.  Get rid of the toxins in your home that contain hormone-mimicking chemicals (xenoestrogens) and opt for clean toxin free products (we use the Thieves cleaning line).

You may also need to support your body with progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, hormone supporting herbs (ex. vitex, wild yam extract), or hormone supporting oils.  Make sure to get connected with a naturopath, functional medicine practitioner, or holistic practitioner who can get you connected with the right lab testing and products.  These people are specifically trained to find out the root cause of your symptoms and to assist the body in doing what it was created to do: heal itself.

4) Supplement accordingly.  Frankly, I feel everyone should be on supplements.  Our soil is about a 180 (in a bad way) from what it was 100 years ago and people just don't get enough nutrients in their diet.  It is recommended you start taking a prenatal at least 6 months prior to getting pregnant.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of people wasting time on prenatals their OB gave them.  Don't get me wrong, I love my OB.  But 99% of the time these prenatals are made up of synthetic ingredients, fillers, allergens, you name it.  What's worse is that women truly need folate addressed in their pregnancy, with the prevalence of the MTHFR mutation which is so important to a person's methylation cycle (works on absorption, detoxing and neurotransmitters) and typically, these prenatals at the doctors office and at the supermarket contain folic acid which is synthetic. This synthetic folic acid doesn't even cross over to the placenta and it is poorly utilized by the body.

The best prenatals for women to get contain methylated folate and methylcobalamin. The latter is the most easily digested form of B12.  It is also recommended to include cod liver oil,  (Weston A Price model and several other functional/holistic baby books) Vitamin D (you might need to add Vitamin K to it to better absorb), and to do a detox to really get your lymph system cleaned out and ready for pregnancy.  A healthy lymphatic system that is draining adequately is absolutely essential in order to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.  One simple and affordable way to do this is with daily dry brushing.  Check out this article:  http://natural-fertility-info.com/10-detox-tips.html

For specific brand prenatal recommendations feel free to comment on this post or shoot me a message. You may also consult with your practitioner.

5) Deal with emotional trauma.  You may not know this but emotional trauma and unresolved issues can present themselves as physical symptoms.  It's true.  90% of our brain is unconscious, so all those part hurts, resentment, unforgiveness, strife, disappointment, heartache that you don't deal with?  Yeah, it is still all in your body. And negative thoughts and emotions have a negative frequency on the body and the cells which contributes to inflammation and disease states.

This is REALLY important people.  You must work through these past hurts to heal.  It is crucial.  I can speak for my own testimony that this was really important to my healing and continues to be daily work for me.  Freeing my mind, thus freeing my cells, thus freeing my body.  There are different ways of going about this: working with a counselor, doing EFT (emotional freedom technique), working with a Reiki master and/or energy healer, 3 Hearts Method, Emotional Sweeping, etc.  The best book I have found to provide invaluable assistance with this is by Amy Scher and entitled, "How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can."

I know this all is a lot.  It is very hard work.  But it is worthwhile work.  Doing these things will help you with pregnancy and many other journeys in life to come.  It is my hope that this post might provide you with some ideas you didn't already know or additional suggestions to have success.  I hope it can encourage you and be a blessing.  These are the top 3 books I recommend women reading for more fertility tips:

1) The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon
2) The Better Baby Book by Lana Asprey
3) The Fertility Cure by Dr. Randine Lewis

Most importantly, this blog post is dedicated to my heroes: the women who deal with infertility or who have had miscarriages.  As someone who wanted another child, and despairingly had to wait until my body was healthy to do so again, I can't imagine what you women go through emotionally and that pain.  You are truly amazing women that have incredible testimonies to share.  Don't give up.  Don't quit.  Your blessing is coming <3

Blessings,

Lindsay



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