Our bodies heal and repair themselves while we sleep so getting deep unbroken sleep is key to optimizing fertility. Did you know that much of our hormonal activity happens at night and having good sleep hygiene is key to supporting fertility?
Do you have a bedtime routine and start slowing down around 8:00? Is your bedroom dark and a 100% technology-free zone? Do you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and wake up feeling rested and energized?
Rate your Sleep on a scale from 1-5.
Stress can be a difficult one to quantify because it can be both physical and mental/emotional. It can be from external situations or internal sources. When you're thinking about this question consider how the stressors in your life are affecting your health. Also if you are actively countering these stressors with activities that help bring you back into balance.
Do you have a ton on your plate right now and for how long has this been going on? Are you able to take time for yourself to reflect and nourish your body with good food, rest, exercise, and joy? Do you feel seen and supported by your family and community? How has your fertility journey impacted your stress levels?
Rate your Stress on a scale from 1-5.
We've all heard that you are what you eat, but there's more to it than that. There are all kinds of factors that affect our food choices from how we were raised, what is accessible to us, and the impact of social and emotional pressures. Nutrition is one of the trickiest things to navigate but also one that we can potentially have a great deal of influence over, and has been shown to have a very powerful effect on our fertile potential. It's important to mention that some things we don't have control over. For instance: our insulin function is in large part the result of how our grandparents ate. So the take-away is to be smart and have a plan for moving in the right direction.
Does 80% of your diet consist of organic fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, and modest amounts of grass-fed meat? Do you drink half your weight in ounces of fluids (mostly water) daily? Do you avoid high allergen foods and those that cause inflammation? Do you avoid processed foods and foods that are high in sugar? Do you consume stimulants like coffee, or sedatives/depressants like alcohol regularly?
Rate your Diet on a scale from 1-5.
Gut health is often the root cause of other health problems including issues with the immune system (70% of the immune system resides in the gut), hormonal balance, mood, energy, and yes, fertility.
Do you feel fatigued after eating, experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, erratic or urgent bowel movements? Do you have well-formed, easy to pass, daily bowel movements?
Rate your Digestion on a scale from 1-5.
Studies have shown that either too much or too little exercise can be detrimental to fertility. It's important to get enough activity to oxygenate the blood and increase circulation while releasing endorphins that help us feel better and reduce stress. The key is not to overdo it to the point of taking away resources from the reproductive system. While you evaluate your level of exercise, keep in mind that these recommendations are specific for fertility support.
Do you do moderate exercises like power walking, light running, yoga, or swimming; 3-4 times a week consistently? Does your routine include lifting heavy weights, running 5+ miles most days of the week, or high impact activities that push your body to build rather than maintain body mass? Is it hard to imagine slowing down and directing your energy inward rather than outward?
Rate your Exercise on a scale from 1-5.
It goes without saying that hormonal balance is imperative for conception and having a healthy pregnancy. Sometimes this can be obvious and it's clear that we need to seek help. But sometimes hormonal imbalances can be more nuanced or perhaps we just aren't making the connection between what we're experiencing and the impact it may have on our fertility.
Do you have regular cycles that are 28-32 days long with bright red blood and no large clots? Does your bleeding start and stop efficiently with 3-4 days of moderate flow? Do you see egg white cervical fluid before ovulation and have confirmation that you are ovulating? (Hint: a positive ovulation predictor kit does not confirm that you have ovulated). Do you experience night sweats, hot flashes, cold hands and feet or core, excessive fatigue, insomnia, or mood swings?
Rate your hormone balance on a scale from 1-5.
Toxins and Medication
The research is clear that metals and chemicals in our air, water, food, skin products, and cosmetics, are damaging fertility in many ways. These toxins are thought to be one major cause of the dramatically declining sperm counts worldwide. They also contribute to the reason why people are suffering more anovulatory cycles, impaired implantation, and pregnancy complications. Even medications that may be necessary for us to take are nonetheless taxing on our systems and can cause a cumulative negative effect on our health. We can't eliminate all toxins, but being aware of those that we can reduce is key to reproductive health.
Do you eat mostly organic food, drink quality water from non-BPA containers (think glass), and use pure cleaning and body-care products? Were you on hormonal birth control before trying to conceive? Do you take medications regularly? Do you do a gentle detox at least once a year or after a failed IVF cycle?
Rate your toxin exposure on a scale from 1-5.
When assessing fertility we utilize all available information, including suspected or confirmed medical conditions. We then address the root cause of these issues and support the body in every way possible to function optimally. If you are struggling with a fertility-related condition, you are not alone. They are more common than many people realize. One thing to consider when thinking about this question is if you feel like you're getting the information and care you need to manage these concerns well.
Do you have PCOS, endometriosis, a thyroid condition, an autoimmune condition, MTHFR or other genetic or clotting factors? Have you been diagnosed with poor egg/sperm quality, unexplained infertility, or have you experienced pregnancy loss? Are your fallopian tubes open and uterus clear of obstructions? Is your lab work within range?
Rate your management of any Medical Conditions on a scale from 1-5.
Inflammation is a natural response to illness or injury and is a sign that the body is attempting to repair and heal. However, chronic inflammation is often associated with reproductive issues related to ovulation, hormonal balance, and embryo implantation. It is present in conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, autoimmune disorders, and is thought to contribute to recurrent pregnancy loss. Inflammatory symptoms like pain and swelling that may not seem related to fertility often play a roll in reproductive health. Taking measures to reduce excess inflammation could be a crucial component of increasing your fertility.
Do you experience body pain such as muscle aches and joint pain? Do you have acne or skin rashes? Do you have allergies or excessive mucus production? Do you have poor digestive function or low energy?
Rate your Inflammation on a scale from 1-5.